What a dumb question. If you’re a parent, I doubt you’ve ever gotten an answer that comes anywhere near what you’d call satisfactory. And if you’ve ever had a parent, I doubt you’ve given such an answer.
Because it’s the wrong question.
I was reminded of this watching the Republican political convention. For some reason we had on the PBS channel (we usually watch on C-span so we don’t have to listen to pundits) and one of the “reporters” was asking someone in McCain’s campaign about the choice for VP. In case you’ve been under a rock for a week, you know that the pick and how it was handled is pretty big news.
The question was “Did you vet her well enough?”
Why waste prime time asking a question when I know what they’re going to say? I don’t mean I know the answer – that’s a judgement call. But when you’re a reporter talking to someone in the campaign, it’s the wrong question. She should have asked “When did the campaign first learn about xxxx?” or “How many people were interviewed in the vetting process?” or any number of factual questions which would give more of a hint at the vetting process, especially when you can see if the person avoids the facts.
So what does this have to do with running your business?Â Simple. Asking the wrong question will make you think you have an answer when you don’t. If your kid says “School was fine” does that mean it was? Maybe, maybe not. It probably means they don’t want to talk about it anymore.
There are lots of questions you want to ask of prospects, of customers, of employees, of suppliers. But if you don’t ask the right ones, you’ll think that school really was fine. And the risk is you’ll be wrong and not know it.
[tags]business, entrepreneur, parenting, school, CEO skills [/tags]