The Power of Asking Why in the Workplace


Why Ask Why?

So many rules so little time. The landscape of Corporate America is filled with riddles and rules. “Don’t say this and ‘don’t send that”. It seems that everywhere you turn, there is a new policy or even worse, a new unwritten rule. Are the days of following the status quo gone?

This weekend,  I had an interesting conversation with a friend regarding her disdain for the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” society that lives in almost all corporate offices around the world. My friend’s kryptonite against this whack society, three letters W. H. Y.  I’ve never been one to really rock the boat when it comes to matters of workplace compliance. I’ve always erred on this side of if it doesn’t affect me, my performance or my team’s performance I just don’t  bother to push it but talking to this friend (we will call her Mary for the purposes of this story) had me thinking. Why don’t we ask why more often? It seems that if done more often, asking why can be a tool used for innovation and growth rather than an offensive question that turns people to the automatic defense.


Why Asking ‘Why’ Can Empower You At Work

  1. It Gives You Clarity

Remember that kid in class that questioned everything? Ugh, you know the kid. “But why does the sun shine?”, “But why does water evaporate?” blah blah. Funny thing is we all know “that Kid” is most likely the one who ended up with a PhD or maybe in the running to be the next Elon Musk. Simply put, asking questions can only lead to knowledge. The more you know about why you’re doing something, the better you can find work arounds or effective ways to boost efficiency. My question to you is, do you want to be the next Bill Gates or nah? If you do, make sure to ask plenty of questions.

  1. It Shows You Care

There is an old saying, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” Now while some may try to make you feel as though asking so many questions or asking why is a waste of time, the truth is, questions mean that you’re paying attention and when its time to make staff cuts or pull up candidates for promotion, it’s usually the employees that stand out and have shown concern that get considered for the promotion, or are found as valuable must keeps when its time to cut staff. Thank me later.

  1. It Keeps The Conversation Going

Stagnant workplaces are starting to get a run for their money. Perspective employees are looking for workplaces that always keep the question of why at the top of the weekly meeting agenda. If you find yourself in a stagnant workplace, make sure you are asking why all the time. “Why am I here? “why is the company going in this direction?” “why are there not free donuts in the break room?” Asking why keeps your workplace on their feet and causes upper leadership to take a look at their daily practices and policies making you look like the genius we know you are.

Now go ask, WHY!



Tanida Mullen

Tanida Mullen is the visionary of the Savvy Young Professional, a live event and digital learning platform built for young professionals around the world.

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