Ask. Answering a question is one of the easiest things to do yet so many people fear asking. As a person who has dedicated themselves to a business, a set of values, and a mission, you cannot afford to avoid asking questions.
Chances are there is someone out there that knows more about something than you do. There is no shame in asking questions of those people. When you consider where to go to school, who to take a martial class from, where to get the best sushi, you are looking for a people who know, maybe even experts in their field. Why should it be any different in business?
Not a single person knows everything. Don’t act like you do. Utilize those around who are willing to help, seek out the best and put their knowledge to work for you. The vast majority of people are going to be extremely willing to help you. If a person is an expert on a topic, they are most likely very personally vested in it, they will want to share and you should be there ready to hear what they have to say.
When you approach someone you hope to gain knowledge and wisdom from, do your best to be prepared. Have one or two questions you want to ask, even email them ahead of time, and have a specific goal for you meeting. While people will usually be willing to help, you don’t want to push it by wasting their time; if you do they will likely avoid you next time you need help. In addition, acknowledge them when you have put their knowledge to good use, with thank you card or public mention.
If you say, “I’d love to pick your brain about something”, it’s like saying, “Hey, I’d like some free consulting.” Be specific and direct in the answers you seek.
Above all, when seeking answers, be passionate and persistent. If you really want answers, you will get them, you just have to be truly hungry to learn. People respect a person that is willing to do what it takes to get the knowledge they need.
In business, you have to always be learning and growing, why not seek out the best to teach you along the way?