Wisdom From A Toddler: How To Ask The Right Questions

Inspiration can come from some of the most unexpected places – like a viral video on Facebook. In this clip (which already has nearly 300,000 views!), little Jake Boone, an adorable toddler with an endearing southern drawl, helps his mom put together an impressive grocery list. Strawberries, milk and cheese, sketti, taco stuff, ‘nanas, ‘tatoes, and so much more! All it takes is asking one simple question, over and over again: “What else?”

right questions


As entertaining and cute as this video is, little Jake Boone has some wisdom to pass on. He’s a natural when it comes to asking good questions- a skill that business experts and leaders alike will tell you is key for growth and success.

In an article entitled How You Can Benefit by Asking More Questions, Forbes.com discusses the importance of having a growth mindset in our “polarized VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world”. Great questions jump start conversations; they also lead to new ideas and insights. The article suggests a few really thoughtful opening questions including: ‘What would our best customer like us to do next?’ or ‘What are you struggling with most right now?’

Some people call it the ‘Do you want fries with that?’ Principle. For years, McDonald’s has demonstrated the art of successful upselling with this one simple question that enables them to sell 9 million pounds of French fries – per day! At Matchmaker Logistics, the right question might be as simple as, ‘What else can we ship for you today?’ And, yes, we’d gladly ship 9 million pounds of anything per day!

In our team’s morning huddle, each one of us takes a moment to express something that we’re grateful for.  The other day, Carrier Sales Rep Kendra Rhodes shared that she’s grateful for new opportunities. Recently, some of her customers have given her new opportunities to work on beyond their usual lanes. As a group, we discussed how she’s been able to develop those opportunities simply by asking our customers: ‘What other lanes are you shipping in?’ In other words: ‘What else?’

Little Jake Boone reminds us all to channel his youthful curiosity and use it to our advantage in business, and in life. Today, my challenge to you is this: Do you ask enough questions? Do you keep on asking them? What else?

Fuel for Thought,