Be a culture that asks questions

Over the past few months many new folks have joined my team (sales & revenue). I keep reminding others that have been around awhile that being open to questions in the early days of someone starting sets the tone for the future. I ask that new folks to ask as many questions as possible, and anyone should feel free to answer. Doing so encourages a culture that asks questions and communicates.

When learning something new (like our entire operation) it’s clear there will be tons of information and new things to tackle. Asking questions gets someone comfortable communicating with the team. Questions also give other team members a chance to recite back what they know, which is a great way to solidify their own understanding. There is a strong correlation between how well you know a topic and your ability to teach it to someone else.

It’s not fun when you don’t know the answer to something and are afraid to ask. I try to avoid that scenario by reminding people what it was like when they started and how they felt.

Having a culture that asks questions also ensures that when something doesnt make sense nobody is afraid to talk about it. Things like “this isn’t supposed to work this way” Or “What if it did this intstead?” It’s ok to challenge the status quo and always strive to be better. This of course must be balanced properly with the right management in place that helps everyone keep their eye on the RIGHT ball. These types of questions lead to better products and better experiences.

When the going gets tough, it’s better to be surrounded by people you trust and are not afraid to ask for help. It also encourages people to be open and honest when mistakes are made (hey we are all human) and therefore means they will be surfaced and fixed faster.

So, be a culture that asks questions.

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Hi Eric, Just curious what’s the difference between sales and revenue operations?

  • http://www.ericgfriedman.com/ Eric Friedman

    For the most part I think what people have done and their story is more important than their title. Since we live in a world where they are still needed – In the Foursquare world Sales is a direct sales team (national and local) and revenue are other products not driven directly by a Salesforce.
    Hope that helps and you liked the article!

  • Azeem Ansar
  • http://www.ericgfriedman.com/ Eric Friedman

    Worth reading?

  • Azeem Ansar

    Yes, I think so, the beginner’s mind is the one that always grows, speaks well to your post… (also a really short read)

    The tough part IMO (which you mention) is balancing experience (“this is how it works, I’ve seen it X times”) with constant questioning.

    Great post.

  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    Interesting distinction. Thank you. (btw- sorry, Disqus didn’t notify me of your reply, so that’s why I didn’t respond earlier).

    What are Foursquare’s revenue products? It’s not all that obvious to me. I’m rooting for your success, so I’d like to better understand.

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