The importance of asking the right questions

Experts often miss out on a lucrative opportunity and they do not know they are missing out. If you are an expert in a given field, you are the go to person. The one everyone comes to for advice, help, guidance, or that "thing" you do extremely well.

As an example, maybe you are the marketing director of a large firm. You are the guru, everything funnels back to you and you make important decisions about branding, copy, look/feel, social sharing, engagement, and so many other things depending on the segment you are marketing for.

Let's say you have just been hired on and you get to work right away. You begin creating a playbook for how marketing is done at said firm. You work tirelessly crafting copy, videos, and other internal communication pieces to share with the company so that everyone is aligned. You begin your presentation and in the back of the room someone raises their hand and says, did you think through how this would effect my department? Then they continue to detail all the ways in which your playbook for marketing will not help them accomplish the goals that have been placed before them.

Uh oh.

It's easy for you and I to look at that story and say, I would never do that. The reality is we do this all the time. As we acquire experience, knowledge, and success in a given field, we level up, and that makes us feel better about making decisions. We continue to pour ourselves into our work and get better at it until, we are the expert. Once we become the expert and we have the title we start making changes without regard to how it will effect the rest of the business. This is problematic because demands without buy in creates chaos.


I truly mean chaos. Trust is demolished in a system where there is one expert and everyone else has to sit over there and do x,y, and z. A system that values "don't speak unless spoken to" will be dead in a couple of years. I have seen it countless times.

Think of it this way. You are in charge of building a product. A widget that will sell for $14.99. You start hammering away at the work and you think, "this is the best widget ever", "everyone will buy one"

Until you put the widget up for sale and the customer feedback starts rolling in. Pretty soon word of mouth kills your beloved widget.

The importance of a question is more valuable than the time it took you to ask it. Questions do three things.

1. They give you perspective that you do not already have, even if you are the "expert"

2. They make whatever you are doing better

3. They create buy in and a team around you that wants to see you succeed and will spend all of their energy trying to make this happen

The true expert in the room is the one asking the right questions. Leadership is less about answers and more about the right questions.

Right Questions + Buy in = Winning Team

What is the worst that could happen if you listened more and talked less?

What if you were the expert at asking the right question?

How would this change the way your business operated or performed?