I am on a lifetime journey to become a better questioner. Not just of others, but of myself. Several months ago, I took a behavioral assessment, and it labeled me a “Wanderer”. Hence, I am wired to ask questions. This may be genetic, as my mom was the best interrogator I have ever known. In her own kind and curious way, she could ask anything of anybody. A great role model.
In his groundbreaking book, A More Beautiful Question, author Warren Berger shows us that questioning can be one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in our businesses and in our daily lives. Berger suggests that questioning can help us identify and solve problems, come up with new innovations, and pursue fresh opportunities. He also explores why we are so often reluctant to ask “Why?”.
Prior to writing the book, author Warren Berger studied hundreds of the world’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions and solve difficult problems. He has written on this topic for several magazines, including Fast Company, Wired, and the Harvard Business Review.
Several key takeaways from the book are:
- Berger devised a clever three-part “Why-What If- How” model for forming “beautiful” questions. I have begun using this model, and it works great.
- In today’s world, questions are gaining in value as answers (knowledge) are rapidly becoming a commodity.
- Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. By middle school, the number approaches zero. At the same time, their engagement in learning declines as well. What happens?
- “The most important thing business leaders must do today is to be “the chief question-asker”. What’s interesting about this statement from the book is how most leaders advance in their careers by being very good at giving answers. And then when they reach the top of their respective organizations, they must switch sides of the equation and become great questioners.
I enjoyed reading this book. It is not a fast read. It requires some deep thought and introspection. I highly recommend it to all small business leaders.