Learn to create more breakthroughs for your business — and your life — by shifting your mindset back in time.

When you focus on helping people express their business soul and know-how, like we do, you learn to ask A LOT of questions. 

It’s one of the tools that helps us view the world from their business’s point of view. The more we see through their eyes, the more the messages, imagery, and concepts we create for them will ring true, and serve their goals.

Diving deep helps us understand them. But there’s another hidden power in the process — one that you can harness yourself, just by shifting your focus. This hidden power is a beginner’s mind. 

Change from “Yes & No” Questions; take a Deep Dive

When clients approach their brand explorations with an open mind, ready to be involved in the process (vs reacting with pat phrases), they start off like teachers explaining their story. But because we’re newbies to their brand, we encourage them to dig deeper; as they search for their answers, they quickly shift back in time.

They start to wonder what they DO feel and think, and how or why they practice the way they do. They take off the mantle of mastery and look at their situation like a beginner.

Experience is fuel when we’re solving today’s problems; but it can also act like blinders, preventing us from seeing fresh ideas or larger trends.

So, the next time you’re working ON your business (planning, brainstorming, visualizing), pretend that you’re brand new.

Consider: what questions would a newbie to your industry, business, or situation ask? Ask yourself the 4 question types below, rooted in descriptions from a 2015 HBR article.

Four Question Types to Explore  

  • Clarifying: Understand what’s being said (so you don’t leap to conclusions or interpret through your own lens), e.g., Can you tell me more? Why do you say so?
  • Funneling: Dive deeper to understand root causes or assumptions, e.g., How did you come to that conclusion? Why do we do it this way? Where did we get bogged down?
  • Elevating: Zoom out, and make sure you’re asking the right questions, e.g., what’s the bigger picture? do these issues tie together and indicate a larger trend or overarching concern or opportunity?
  • Adjoining: Explore related ideas or topics; see how the idea or problem you’re discussing might apply in a slightly different context (inspires new options or opportunities), e.g., How could we adapt that system or approach for our use/company? Could this situation/solution apply to other customers?

(Interested in reading the full article? Tom Pohlmann and Neethi Mary Thomas, Relearning the Art of Asking Questions, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 27, 2015)

Last but not least, remember that challenging yourself to see with new eyes is a learned skill — and a skill worth learning if you want to make progress in business and in life. What questions have you stopped asking your best friend, your spouse, long-time clients or employees… or even yourself?

If you’d like to speed and/or deepen your results for your brand and/or business, consider giving us a call at Beacon Creative Lab to be part of the process!