“Increasingly I’m finding that business leaders want the people working around them to be more curious, more cognizant of what they don’t know, and more inquisitive — about everything, including ‘Why am I doing my job the way I do it?’ and ‘How might our company find new opportunities?’”
So writes Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas in The New York Times, Berger contends rapid change and uncertainty in business today are causing people to value curiosity and inquiry more than ever (Tweet it!). Even well established companies must anticipate what’s next, and that’s hard to do without asking questions.
In researching his book, Berger studied business breakthroughs — including the invention of the Polaroid instant camera and the Nest thermostat as well as the start-ups Netflix, Square, and Airbnb — finding that in each case, someone insightful looked at a current problem and asked how it might be addressed.
Companies can encourage employees to ask more questions, but “that’s the easy part.” Berger says leaders must reward good questions and set a standard by asking “Why?” and “What if?” themselves.
Can you think of a memorable question that you or someone in your organization asked? What came out of it? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.
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