With the elections looming ever so close we are bombarded with sound bytes and fact checkers.  We all sit around and debate the merits of the candidates and those confusing measures.   Are we taking the time to ask the right questions about all of it?  Who is backing each proposition and what do they hope to gain?  How will it affect us as individuals today and tomorrow?

Sadly, not asking questions is not limited to elections.  Do we ask enough questions of our customers, vendors, colleagues, and do we ask the right questions?  Whether it’s making a new purchase or working with a client we all need to know the right questions to ask.

If you have ever spent time with a 5-year-old or younger they ask all sorts of questions sometimes driving us nuts.  That’s how they learn, create ideas and imagine, as well as solve problems. This is where innovation often begins.

When you are working with a customer do you ask questions about how they will use the product or service? When you work with a client do you ask them what outcomes they want; what goals they want to achieve or do you just assume you know what they need?  I remember a colleague being asked to do a training program to teach those in the call center how to deal with angry customers.  Along with doing the program, she asked why they were angry as that is another issue that needed to be solved.

Why are we so afraid to ask questions?  Why do we just move forward doing the same thing and never asking what if, or could we? Imagine what results you might get if you asked how the actions enable people to meet their goals?  Or you could ask the impact of what they are doing on the strategic direction or even the day to day operations.  Step out of your comfort zone ask the questions and see what could happen.  You might gain some new information and who knows where that can take you.