Friday, January 23rd, 2009


“I shall lead the league in Asking Dumb Questions.”

Wow, did that statement/resolution ever catch my attention. It is from yesterday’s short, right on target for the CPA profession, post by Tom Peters.

Don’t you just love the people in your firm (from newbie to experienced manager) who is never afraid to ask the DQ (dumb question). Sure, when they do, some of the others in the room snicker and laugh but those people are the ones who benefit from it because they get the answer even though they were too chicken, embarrassed or vain to actually ask the questions going through their mind.

Two very favorite team members from my past stand out in my mind because they were never afraid to ASK the dumb question – they never hesitated to ASK in a group setting because they wanted to better understand. They easily laughed off any embarrassment. Guess what? Both were/are females and as of today they both have very successful careers in public accounting. Just to be completely honest, these two females stand out because they are rare – too many females wait until after the meeting and then hash over questions and complaints via “hallway talk.”

Another true life story from the opposite perspective. Two female managers holding a brief “how are you doing” round table with a firms newest people just after busy season and a first-year young man states: “I just want to get to the point where I don’t have to ask so many questions.” One of the managers jumped right in, “No, no – you NEVER want to get to that point in public accounting – I have 20 years’ experience and I ask questions every day and learn something new every day.” I was very proud of her (and of him for speaking up in the first place).

Click here to read Peters’ short post and share this post with all your people. To YOU (leaders), it is even more important for you. Are you afraid to ask the DQ? The path to generational understanding, improved efficiency, increased profitability and a nurturing culture for your firm is via questions.

Take the Warren Buffett quote below and apply it to your firm. You are investing significant dollars in your young accountants. Do you understand them?

“I don’t invest in anything I don’t understand.” – – Warren Buffett

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