The Power of ‘Why?’ and ‘What If?’ – The New York Times

  • tags: curiosity questions

    • So what was the problem? “They’re not asking enough questions,” she said.
    • But 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?”
    • I may be hyper-aware of this trend because I think of myself as a “questionologist,” having studied the art of questioning and written a book about it.
    • n the research for my book, I studied business breakthroughs — including the invention of the Polaroid instant camera and the Nest thermostat and the genesis of start-ups like Netflix, Square and Airbnb — and found that in each case, some curious soul looked at a current problem and asked insightful questions about why that problem existed and how it might be tackled.
    • Getting employees to ask more questions is the easy part; getting management to respond well to those questions can be harder.
    • Leaders can also encourage companywide questioning by being more curious and inquisitive themselves. This is not necessarily easy for senior executives, who are used to being the ones with the answers. I’ve noticed during questioning exercises at some companies that top executives sit in the back of the room, laptops open, attending to other business; they seem to think their employees are the only ones who need to learn. As they do this, these leaders are modeling precisely the kind of incurious behavior they’re trying to change in others.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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