If we know the answer to something, it might seem like a silly question.
If we don’t know the answer to something, it might seem like a silly question.
But if we learn to see things how others see things, we will realise that there are no silly questions. The world is a noisy, overwhelming place sometimes. Questions are a sign of engagement and interest, and that is never silly. They are an acceptance that we cannot know everything, and should not pretend to. It is how we build relationships, trust, and how we learn how to help each other.
Silly questions also have a practical purpose.
At MMC, our work happens at high speed and is complex. We have a collaborative culture, and make much of our project decision making visible to the full team. This means that our projects can in one moment have a technical challenge, in the next a visual choice, and in the next a customer service opportunity – visible to everyone and therefore open to everyone to offer opinions and solutions. And to ask silly questions.
If we didn’t ask silly questions, then we would miss out on the obvious that sometimes the specialist is too close to see, or we would miss the creative solution that presents to someone looking at a problem with fresh eyes or a fresh perspective. They are an essential part of making sure that we look at our tasks and our work from every angle, and challenge every decision we make, no matter how silly it might seem.
Maybe there was no particular reason why it is blue. It’s just no-one thought of making it another colour.
Maybe we didn’t see the dependency that is hiding in plain sight.
Silly questions, also help us to understand that we are not alone in our decision making. They are way of showing each other that even if we don’t know much about the choices at hand, we want to help share the burden of the decision. Making choices in a project is an essential part of creative work, and feeling that your team has your back in everything you do, can make you feel more confident to make the different and creative choice, or to take the hardest route that will make the biggest difference for a client.
If we learn to ask the silly questions, and crave them in return, it means we’ll never have to navigate our life or our work alone.
By Ian McClellan, Director