10 N Martingale Rd. Suite 400 60173
Schaumburg, IL
60173 USA


“What are you doing, daddy?”

“I”m fixing this.”


“Because it’s broken.”



Kids challenge everything around them, especially the actions of adults. One of the first things they learn is how to ask questions. Their natural curiosity is forever urging them to inquire about their surroundings—how things work and why they are important. That’s how they learn and grow. They want to fit in and be a part of the social norms within their family. They want to belong and to contribute.

Ironically, that role is reversed in school, where the teachers ask the questions and students are rewarded for providing the answers. Too often, schools erect restrictive barriers around students that inhibit their natural inquisitiveness. Students are encouraged to regurgitate facts, rather than figuring out why the facts are significant.

This remains true even at work, where questioning conventional wisdom can lead to being sidelined, isolated or considered a threat. In the workplace, we often reward those who only answer questions, not those who ask them.

The constant barrage of questions from children can seem tedious, that is, until they question something that makes little sense, is embarrassing or outright absurd. The reality of the situation may be hard to face, and even harder to explain.

In the adult world of business, policy, practices, and procedures are often established in the very early stages of a company. Once in place, they tend to become the gospel of the business. “That’s the way things are done around here.” If they were well thought out, these practices would help the business maintain steady growth and profitability. Everyone in the company would be focused on their job and successfully reach their professional goals.

As time passes, however, the world is in constant change, often in very small and unnoticed increments. Employees come and go, customer needs begin to change, new industry innovations may force changes in your product or service, new technology becomes available, new materials may be developed that can enhance your product, new markets may open up for your products, the economic cycles have substantial impact on the business and new laws may require adjustments to product standards.

Business owners frequently lose their vitality and drive in an attempt to keep up with these new changes, and their growth and profitability begin to slow. Instead of just working harder and making incremental changes, it would be wise for a business owner to stop and ask, “Why are we doing it this way?”  “Is there a better way to do things?”

Asking tough questions about how your business is structured and managed is always an uncomfortable task. High-impact innovators know that that they must question their policies and procedures in order eradicate corporate complacency, or they too run the risk of being disrupted altogether. In doing so, they acquire a critical skill-set, not just by asking more questions, but by identifying the “hot” questions; the ones that are provocative, emotional and downright uncomfortable. In doing so, they encourage those around them to be more passionate and do the same.

For these leaders, questioning is not a means to an end, but is the creative intersection where a whole new solution and creative vision can catch fire. Without going through this introspective process, business owners won’t be comfortable imagining that they can start over from scratch. A blank sheet of paper can indeed be very daunting.

The top innovators in business actively pursue answers to these hot questions by leveraging several key discovery skills – observing, networking, experimenting, and associational thinking. Then they use these skills to convert the new vision into reality.

As the world around us continues to grow more complex by the day, creating the right conditions in which to ask the right questions becomes critical to unlocking new solutions, in both our professional and personal life. Failing to do so assuredly stunts our institutional, governmental, organizational and personal growth.