Imagine for a moment that the CEO or boss of the company you work at is this huge toddler, meandering his way around the office, asking this simple yet profound question, “Why?” Now, I am not talking about the occasional why. It’s the “Why” about everything.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why
Well, the truth is, we need to always be asking and evaluating the “why” behind our decisions and processes. It helps you stay on mission. As someone who has had 3 major job changes in the past 12 years and twice as the leader of the organization, asking lots of why’s are critical to the assessment the leader makes of the organization. I feel like anytime you make an assumption about any decision, process, or program you leave yourself open for problems and challenges.
You see, I believe in not just asking any question or questions, but asking the right question or questions.
You see, I believe that great leadership is about asking the right questions. The day you stop asking questions about who you are (yourself and others) and where you are going (of yourself and others) is the day your leadership has failed.
By asking the right questions, we can then arrive at the right answers.
I believe there are many benefits to asking the right question:
- It can reveal the inner thoughts and feelings of a person (or organization) who is answering the question, as well as the person (or organization) who is asking the question.
- The right question allows for ownership of the issue or problem at hand.
- The right question can not only teach responsibility but it models what responsibility looks like.
- It creates teachable moments and lifelong learning. (Deuteronomy 4:32-33) What do I mean by “lifelong learning?” It’s the belief that learning isn’t just what happens in a classroom. All of life is about learning and the learning will continue as long as I draw breath.
- It provides opportunities to process truth and dispel lies.
- It creates the right moment to have courage and take a risk versus accepting the status quo and what’s comfortable.
Did you ever notice how Jesus interacted with people? He almost always asked a question to get to the heart of their need. John Marshall, Bishop of Burlington, Vermont, and later Springfield, Massachusetts, wrote a book titled But Who Do You Say That I Am? In the book, he collected and listed all the questions Jesus asked in the Gospels and there are over 100 times Jesus asks a question.
Some of Jesus greatest miracles started with the right question? He was able to get to the heart of the matter by his ability to ask, listen, assess, and then he acted. His work was always redemptive and purposeful.
So often we fail to listen. We start with lecture and stating our position, and in all sense shutting down the conversation or relationship before it even has a chance. I would encourage you to look at the benefits of asking the right question and see how your situation, regardless of the environment, can lead to better outcomes.