First 100 Days: ask the stupid questions

I was in a coaching session this morning with a woman starting a role in a new organisation soon and the topic of learning the language of the place came up.

Was reminded about the golden time you have at the start of a new job to ask anything – even what might seem to be ‘stupid’ questions.

It’s the honeymoon period when you get to ask about everything… but it doesn’t last forever!

We might feel reticent to ask a question which we consider too obvious, but it’s really important to ask it anyway.

I find it helpful to think: if I need to know this to understand the culture or how to do my job better, I need to ask the question.

If it helps, being upfront about it can make it easier – saying, “I will probably be asking what seem like dumb questions to help me get up to speed’

Another way to frame it is to think of it as being curious. Curiosity is a really positive quality which shows your interest and engagement in the organisation and the role. There’s nothing dumb about curiosity!

In addition to learning the basic language, you can also be curious about why things are done in a particular way and whether a process is optimal or even needed at all.

After six months, it’s much harder to ask about the basics, or question a process that you have already adopted.

So get your curious head on right at the start and make the most of it!

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