Have you noticed that kids ask questions pretty much non-stop? All the time. Constantly. If you’re a parent, you’ll be very familiar with the Why? Why? Why?
You know how it goes, you provide an answer, and back they come with yet another question.
Kids are super persistent. They are relentless in the pursuit of an answer. They will keep asking questions until they are satisfied with the response they have received. If it does not make sense, they’ll come back with another question until it does.
With an inbuilt thirst for knowledge and curiosity (hence the phrase childlike curiosity), children soak up information like a sponge soaks up water. They happily ask away without any sense of self-consciousness. It would never occur to them not to ask!
It’s only as we grow older – often in teenage years – that a sense of “feeling silly”, “people will think I’m stupid” mentality starts to creep in. With the internet at our fingertips, some go off and Google answers (not guaranteed to be correct!), while others may never bother finding out.
Why do the questions stop?
One of the answers is self-consciousness and a fear of being judged.
Fear of looking silly and feeling they should know the answer.
Adults are often reluctant to draw attention to themselves by asking questions. Have you ever done a business course where once someone does ask the question, others in the group will say, “I was wondering about that too!”
Words like ‘I’m sorry, but….’ Or ‘I know this may sound like a silly question, but…’ often precede the question.
Never be afraid to ask questions. Asking for information allows you to make informed decisions. Informed decision making is taking responsibility.
You also need to ask questions to satisfy your legal responsibilities. This is especially important for company directors and officeholders, no matter how large or small the business.
During my career in the Not for Profit sector, it has shocked me, on more than one occasion, to find that many board members simply went along with whatever the CEO of the day had said.
It became, and continues to be, my number one priority to make sure members of every board that I work with or consult to, understand that they each have a legal responsibility for any decisions made.
Regardless of what business you’re in – make sure you are clear on what is happening and why.
If you’re unsure or uncomfortable about something – asking questions will help you make an informed decision based on the available information. You get the information you need by connecting with your curious inner child and asking questions.
There’s no such thing as a stupid question.
When you are running a business and people ask you questions before buying your product, that’s an excellent thing.
I think of every question as a doorway.
When I provide the answers they need, they confidently walk through to a new destination, a new level, a new chapter with new opportunities. The decision to step through that doorway is informed. Both of us are confident that the alignment is right for both our businesses.
Have you got a burning question you want to ask? Go ahead – no such thing as a silly question 🙂