Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

3 Questions Successful People Ask and you don't

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
Image by     dullhunk  Under Creative Commons License

Image by  dullhunk Under Creative Commons License

We learn as much from our children as they do from us. It's fascinating to see the world through their eyes. They are pure and untainted from social standards and norms. My daughter started asking the never ending WHY question. She questions everything and keeps asking the question until she is satisfied with the level of information received.

Studies show that this natural inquisitive nature peeks at around 4 years old and steadily declines over our lifetime. When you look at the behaviors of the most successful business leaders, they never stop asking why.

The most successful business leaders keep asking WHY until they are satisfied with the answer

The first question successful people ask is WHY. They want to understand why we are doing what we are doing and they typically deep dive. They aren't looking for the standard canned response but want to explore the human driver behind what they are analyzing.

The second question successful people ask is WHAT IF. Once they understand the WHY, they want to play with different scenarios and determine what would happen if they did X or Y. Working with deeply passionate and successful leaders means you get grilled a second time here.

At this point they understand the WHY and the different possible scenarios (WHAT IF). Sometimes this process can take days but it isn't uncommon to see it take months. It all depends on how much information is available and how quickly they can play with the different scenarios. Steve Jobs was known to ask these questions with razor sharp determination and they may have led to some of his revolutionary creations.

The third question is HOW. Once they understand the best alternatives, they want to find out HOW to make that project a reality. Who do they need? What do they need to develop? How does it need to behave? 

To be truly successful, you can't be afraid to challenge the status quo. Push yourself and your team outside of their comfort zone and watch magic happen. Remember to ask the 3 magical questions:

  1. WHY
  2. WHAT IF
  3. HOW