Blog Nordic Business Forum 2019

Lead by Asking Stupid Questions

As a leader, have you ever felt the pressure to know it all? It’s a common misconception that leaders have all the answers and that’s why it is so refreshing to hear successful entrepreneurs like Sahar Hashemi who urge leaders to embrace the title, “Chief Stupid Question Asker”.

According to Sahar, companies often lose the beginner mindset when they grow. Traditions form, routines solidify, and people settle for doing things the way they have always done them. Sound familiar? To counteract this potentially stifling inertia, Sahar cautions leaders against feeling like they need to have all the answers and instead embrace asking questions.

She draws from her personal experience of founding and running the Coffee Republic with her brother Bobby. When it took off, she did not know anything about business – but this turned out to be their biggest advantage. Coffee Republic became the UK’s first US-style coffee bar chain.

“It is better to try something and fail.” – Sahar Hashemi, NBFSweden 2019

How did she leverage her inexperience? By using every opportunity to question if it was the best use of her time and resources. If you as a leader are afraid to ask stupid questions, it might well be that your team is following your lead. As Sahar points out, all that leads to is a group of people who are worried about whether they’re doing the right thing and avoiding risks that could turn into jackpot successes. So, forget the outdated idea that leaders need to know it all and start asking questions, especially the stupid ones!

For more tips from Sahar on how to maintain a startup mindset in a large corporation, download our free Executive Summary from our Sweden and Norway events.

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