Greetings. Socrates was, by several accounts, a very clever and noteworthy guy. Which is interesting, because he rarely shared much of what he knew. Though he did know how to ask a pretty smart question, and that turned out to be his claim to fame…the good old "Socratic Approach." Ask a very important question that sparks an equally important conversation.
Kind of gets you off the hook for having the right answer. But that's okay because there are times–actually a lot of times–when we don't really know the best answer to the most important questions we face. And that's a perfect time to ask a friend, colleague, or total stranger for a bit of help.
So imagine this. That we ask everyone in our companies and organizations to identify the key question or questions that keep them awake at night and that are essential to their success. Questions they face right now that are at the heart of achieving their objectives and moving us forward as an enterprise. And then we ask them to make their questions public. To write them on a bulletin board or the wall next to their office, cube, or other workspace for everyone to see along with a request for ideas, insights, and perspectives that could help them to answer their question or questions in new and far more powerful ways. An invitation for co-workers to stop by, connect, and share their best thinking on the topic even if it isn't their area of expertise. Because they might have a very different view based either on the work they do for us or some other aspect of their life which they are passionate and knowledgeable about. And they might have new frameworks that could stretch our thinking–if we are open to it.
Along with an offer to return the favor.
And all that's required is a simple and honest invitation, and a corporate culture that really believes in sharing knowledge and possibilities.
We win in business and in life when we ask the right questions. And when we are willing to ask for help in our search for the right answers.
P.S. Speaking of questions, today is the U.S. Presidential election and a chance for all of us to decide if we believe the country is heading in the right direction.
While I won't pretend to know who will win, I will ask the most important question: "Have you voted?"