By Amy Chisam
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Mother’s Day gets me nostalgic for when my children were younger. I seem to remember the adorable handprint art and cute footie jammies more than the diaper changes and overnight wake-ups.
But I haven’t quite forgotten the non-stop questions. Toddlers ask nearly 300 questions per day, according to a British study. That’s an average of 23 questions for every hour they’re awake!
Why do kids ask why? There are cognitive developmental reasons, of course. But also:
- Little ones can’t yet read and look up answers themselves. Parents are their primary source of knowledge. (However, I suspect it’s only a matter of time before Siri and Alexa can understand toddler-speak.)
- Younger children don’t feel embarrassed about not knowing answers. Fast forward a few years, and you have teenagers who are barely asking any questions. In school, students get positively reinforced more for giving correct answers than asking questions.
That’s the opposite of what we should be encouraging. As Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question, says, “Knowing the answers to questions will help you in school. Knowing how to ask questions will help you in life.”
In your grown-up, working life, be more like an inquisitive toddler.
Ask questions. Be curious. Don’t just assume you know the answers – because with the speed of business today, the answers you had a few months ago might now be different.
If you’ve lost touch with your inner toddler, here are three ways to become more inquisitive:
- Make time. If you day is crammed with back-to-back commitments, you won’t have time to consider the big picture. Conversely, be open to your creative thoughts hitting at unusual times. Situations where I often get work-related inspiration:
- During my commute
- While on a flight when electronics are safely stowed
- Waiting in a doctor’s office
For each of these, I’m forced out of my work routine – my laptop is put away, and I’m not writing emails or head’s down on my next task. Without that structure, some really creative questions pop up all on their own.
- Challenge assumptions. Business leaders can’t afford to rest on doing things the way they’ve always done them. As Bertrand Russell, said, “It’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
By the way, the easiest time to rethink your approach is when somebody new joins your team. For every “why” question they ask, they may have 10 others they’re holding back for fear of stepping on toes or sounding incompetent. Make sure you give them the space to ask those questions and bring their own ideas to the table.
- Invest in easy-to-use-tools. Let’s say you get a burst of inspiration about some aspect of your business. But to explore this hypothesis, you have to submit a data request to your technical group and wait a week for a response. After getting the report, you’ll probably have more questions that require another request. And another week of waiting.
Questions needs fast answers. Self-service business intelligence and analytics tools make it easy to ask questions of your data and get insights in an instant.
AnswerRocket can help you answer all of those business questions you’ve been wanting to ask. Request a demo, and we’ll show you how our analytics tool and search-based data discovery can positively impact your bottom line. Don’t be shy about asking us questions – we’re here to help.
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See how AnswerRocket can enable your team to make better, faster, data-driven decisions by simply asking questions.