The Power of the Question, Why? by Dave Jochum In Business Solutions

Dave Jochum

Published: Jan. 19, 2015, 10:15 a.m.
Updated: Jan. 19, 2015, 10:15 a.m.

The best and most powerful curiosity question of all time – "Why?” Why ask, "why?”

In his recent book, "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions,” John Maxwell writes about some of the benefits of asking questions:

Asking questions will . . .

  1. Give you answers – "You only get answers to the questions you ask.”
  2. Give you information – When it comes to information, sometimes you have not because you ask not.
  3. Help you connect with others
  4. Get others engaged in the process – asking questions of others will help them think through their problems for themselves. It empowers them to solve their own challenges.
  5. Give you new and different perspectives

My journey of learning to ask questions began several years ago. I was challenged to start asking questions in a particular meeting. As I have practiced asking questions in the course of everyday life, something has happened. I have become even more curious. It has been like a whole new world opening up. I am seeing the world again like I saw it as a child. Just in awe of everything. I have to learned more, gained clarity and discovered new perspectives. The people I’m around every day have become more fascinating to me. It’s almost like being 5 years old again, but this time, when I ask, "why?” I’m asking with purpose.

A rule of thumb that I try use now is that when I’m talking to someone and they are responding to a question I’ve asked, like, "Where do you work?” I will not allow myself to make any statements when they are done. Instead, I force myself to ask at least two more questions before I make a comment or tell my story. This has really helped me to get to know others much better and it’s kept me from being as selfish as I might normally tend to be.

Remember: Good leaders ask great questions.

I have a few fun, "why” questions here that I’ve always wondered about and I bet you have too:

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?

Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety-one?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

Why do we say "Something is out of whack”.  What is a whack?

Why do you press harder on a remote-control when you know the battery is dead?

Why do dogs not like it when you blow in their face, but then hang their head out of the car window?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game” when we’re already there?

Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

I bet you can come up with some good ones, too.

The bottom line is this: Start the process of asking good questions and you will be surprised at the results. You will need to be intentional and force yourself in some instances, but I promise, as you get good at it, it will be well worth the effort.