The Courage to Raise Your Hand

Years ago I did some consulting for a firm that had 7 presidents of 7 different divisions.

Susan was the only female of the group, and she was the only one to raise her hand and ask questions when the CEO did the presentation that I was in the room for. She didn’t just ask one question—she asked questions all day long. The only one to ask questions!

I was new to the organizations so I assumed that perhaps she wasn’t a good listener—it sure seemed like all the guys in the room understood.

At the end of the meeting, I asked the CEO about each of the divisions. Come to find out that Susan’s division was the only division that was profitable—and she carried all the others with the profit she made.


I’ll never forget that day—the day I realized the person asking the most questions is inevitably the smartest person in the room and is the most committed to “getting it.”

The next time you find yourself not understanding something, know that others are almost certainly feeling the same way. And if everyone else DOES happen to know, it’s still okay to reveal that you don’t because NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING.

So next time you get the chance, do everyone a favor. Be like Susan. Be the one who is honest and courageous enough to ask for clarification. You’ll be an asset to the workplace and a hero to your buddies.

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