Jim Collins, the author of two business best sellers – Built to Last and Good to Great – asked questions that resulted in the two books. The question behind Built to Last was: ‘Why do some companies survive and flourish over a long period of time when other companies that appear to be just as competitive go out of business?’ After the success of Built to Last, a friend of Collins’ met him and said: ‘Nice job on the last book. But there’s one problem – Built to Last demonstrates how critical a company’s original DNA is – its core values and ideology to its vision. But how does that help a business leader who comes to his company long after its founding? What hope is there for a company that doesn’t have a visionary DNA? That led to the second book Good to Great.
Questions are how we learn. Questions are how we create change. If you reflect back on your days in school and college, you will discover that many teachers (and you!) assumed that answers can be taught separate from questions. Yet, answers, all answers, are nothing but responses to questions.
Thinking is driven by questions, not answers. If questions had not been asked, no field would have developed. Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues. Answers, on the other hand, often signal a full stop in thought.
As marketers, all of us must question everything rather than accepting things as given. It is only by good questioning that we will find the right solutions to problems.
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