A Culture of No Stupid Questions

There is no such thing as a stupid question from a team member. Great thing to say…. But do you really mean it?

We get wrapped up in our work day, things we have to get accomplished, fires we need to put out. So when a new team member asks us a question, we might be a little abrupt in the way we answer them. Especially if the question is pretty basic and something we think they should be able to know and understand already without our help.

So you bark the answer back. Maybe you don’t exactly bark, but you answer back in a tone that denotes you are frustrated. Every time you do this you close the communication door a little bit. If done enough, the door will shut completely and no one will ask you any more questions. Great….now you can get your work done. The problem is, when it’s time to get someone to replace you, or when it’s time for you to work as part of a team, no one will be willing to work with you since the communication door is closed.

The other consequence of setting up a culture of closed communication is that sometimes the very basic questions may point out a flaw or a problem you never considered as an issue. That feedback gets lost.

Consider an example. A company was in the process of setting up a product that was referred to using a three letter acronym. There was an executive driving the strategy who continuously used this acronym. One day, a relatively new employee asked this executive “what does the acronym stand for?” The executive tersely replied with three words that did not exactly fit the acronym. Other long time employees said they always wondered about the difference but never bothered to ask, thinking the question was stupid. The mistake was quickly corrected and the acronym changed.

Achieving an Elite Culture cannot happen without good, open and frequent communication between every member in the organization. All American Leaders seeks to Inspire, Empower, and Challenge leaders to build and maintain elite cultures. We want to effectively and consistently create the conditions for developing empathic Leaders of Character and Elite Organizational Cultures. Those conditions start with great communication.

AAL can help you dig deep, deeper and continue digging to maintain an Elite Organization.Learn more about what other executives feel makes a good culture, download the results of our survey.

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