Achieving Business Success – Always Question The WHY

Bespoke suits for men have been seen as a measure of business success – and the difference between the haves, and the have-nots – for most of the twentieth century, and now into the digi-age. Ordering custom-made suits from Singapore, or Thailand, or London’s Savile Row, is so commonplace, it’s hardly even thought about. That is, unless you are questioning this:

Where was the equivalent status symbol for women? Why was nobody thinking about their spending power?

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That was what Jodie Fox wanted to know. Alongside business partners Michael Fox and Mike Knapp, she started investigating how she could start servicing an existing market for bespoke shoes.

The result, of course, was Shoes of Prey, the international online phenomenon, where women can design their own shoes from tongue to toe, and have them delivered to the door in six weeks.

The lesson here is simple, and it resonates through so many strategic business decisions, processes, and the makeup of successful entrepreneurs and leaders.

Always question the why.

Curiosity is essential to business success

Curiosity, asking the why, enables leaders to:

  • think strategically,
  • to reincarnate,
  • to envision new life.

The result is a vastly improved chance to future-proof themselves and their businesses against failure.

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Questioning the why reveals new information and insight into the way consumers, colleagues and competitors are thinking. It allows us to understand how members of our team are drawing conclusions, their innovative thinking and gives greater understanding of their emotional intelligence. Asking ‘why is this happening?’, ‘why did that person take that action?’, ‘why didn’t that company make the most of that opportunity?’ – all of these ‘whys’ give an answer that will reveal further evolution and success.

Questions are innately the way to open the doors to change

Ray Krock wanted to know why he couldn’t get a good hamburger when he was on a road trip. You may not know his name, but the resulting brand born out of that ‘why’ will be familiar.

The golden arches of MacDonald’s are somewhat ubiquitous.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger asked why there wasn’t a ‘share’ function when it came to photos on smartphones.

In 2017, Instagram’s ad revenue alone is expected to reach US$1 billion.

Questioning the why means also questioning the who, the what, the where and the when

It means taking a strategic approach to your decision-making processes, rather than simply leaving them as ‘x plus y will probably equal z, because that’s what they always have done in the past’.

Asking, questioning and changing your outlook when it comes to ‘why’ will alter the status quo and your business opportunities. It will change the impossible to the possible, and make you into an inventor and an explorer. Questioning ‘why’ can remove road blocks when it comes to your business direction and potentially assist with navigational clarity. How? It helps us in understanding a situation as it stands, and in how to improve the present for the betterment of the future. Without constant curiosity, and questioning, doors to the future remain firmly slammed shut. The lens of opportunity is blurred. And thinking? Dull, contracted and stale.

It’s time to back yourself

This is not about second-guessing one’s own business judgement ‘why did I do that? What was I thinking?’ Rather, this is about having the self-confidence to back yourself; to think beyond the small square of now, in whatever industry or sector you sit in, and always, always want to reach further and understand more.

Question the why. It will give information, which in an Age Of Knowledge, is perhaps the most valuable currency you can possibly be trading in. Asking that simple question – ‘why’ – will bank a wealth of facts, figures and data that can end up with you disrupting a stale or static market; and of course, bring increased profitability, and future growth.


Janine Garner 1Janine Garner is a businesswoman and entrepreneur, passionate about the return to open and transparent corporate relationships and the power of commercial collaboration in future-proofing careers and businesses. Janine is the author of From Me To We – Why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success published by Wiley. She is the Founder and CEO of LBDGroup and works with senior leaders to build high performing teams.

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