Creating a Questioning
As a leader,
ask many fundamental questions
Encourage everyone ask how
things could be done differently, and how things could be made
Instill a questioning attitude.
Ensure that everyone understands the
goals of the enterprise,
people are empowered to achieve, and that they know they have to
question every rule and assumption, every established way
of doing things if they are going to initiate creative changes that
the organization needs.
Create a Culture of Questioning
Questions are critical to
innovation. Questions make you think about new
ways of doing things. Exploration of possibilities, discoveries, innovation,
and progress start with challenging assumptions, asking searching
“What if?” questions, and plying “What if” scenarios.
4 WHYs of True Success
How can you create a culture of questioning? Lead by example – start with
yourself. Ask lots of questions. Don’t question competence – ask open-ended
searching questions instead.
Case in Point
"We run the company by
questions, not by answers," says Eric Schmidt1, the
Google. "So in the
strategy process we've so far formulated 30
questions that we have to answer. I'll give you an example: we have a lot of
cash. What should we do with the cash? Another example of a question that we
are debating right now is: we have this amazing product called AdSense for
content, where we're monetizing the Web. If you're a publisher we run our
ads against your content. It's phenomenal. How do we make that product
produce better content, not just lots of content? An interesting question.
How we do make sure that in the area of video, that high-quality video is
also monetized? What are the next big breakthroughs in search? And the
competitive questions: What do we do about the various products Microsoft is
You ask it as a question, rather than a pithy answer,
and that stimulates conversation. Out of the conversation comes
Innovation is not something that I just wake up one day and say 'I want to
innovate.' I think you get a better
innovative culture if you ask it as a
Jack Welch's 5 Strategic Questions
Case in Point
"The danger comes when you fall into the trap of approaching
problems too similarly,"
Dell Inc. "You can encourage your people to think about your
business, your industry, your customers
innovatively. Ask a different question – or word the same question in a
different way. By approaching a problem, a response or an opportunity
different perspective, you
create an opportunity for new understanding and new learning. By
questioning all the aspects of our business, we continuously inject
innovation into our
Searching for New Opportunities
Examples of "Why?" and "What If?" Questions:
Why should we limit ourselves to getting better in what we are doing?
What if we change things
Why should we look at problems as an evil? What if we try to
convert problems into opportunities?
Why don't we challenge our big competitor's
market leadership position?
What if we create a new market segment?
Why should we look at
differences as a problem? What if
we try to leverage the
power of our diversity?