“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge,” said satirical novelist Thomas Berger.
I think about this quote often. It serves as a valuable reminder that asking the right kinds of questions from colleagues and clients at the right time can drive insight-driven professional growth for teams and leaders alike.
Interestingly, asking people open-ended questions can increase knowledge levels, therefore unlocking greater value on a corporate level. By uncovering new information about someone or something you perhaps hadn’t previously considered, you help yourself and those you collaborate with expand intellectually. Indeed, asking colleagues and clients more strategic and thoughtfully designed questions challenges team perspectives, which helps drive more actionable decisions for an organization.
On that note, in an effort to share what shapes The Bliss Group’s thinking, I asked a few individuals across departments and skillsets to answer some fun open-ended questions about their responsibilities, viewpoints, and professional wins. Below is what they had to say (and what this mini experiment taught me along the way):
What do you spend most of your typical workday doing or thinking about?
- Thinking about what the next step is. Everything I do at Next Practice Group—specifically at The Bliss Group—is part of a process that emphasizes growth, retention, and recognition. – Matthew Missud, Human Resources Associate
- How to be better in everything I do: a better client partner, colleague, and leader, to name a few. – Gregory Hassel, Senior Vice President, Co-Leader of the Financial Services Practice
- I’m always evaluating the level of activity on the various accounts to determine where to focus efforts. – Janice Miller, Vice President
- I read developing news that can be applied to our client work. And I think about Bliss’s business. I have an exciting opportunity to help teams throughout our firm improve the way they service our clients. Further, I think about what kind of agency we want to be and how we can get there. – Alexis Odesser, Senior Vice President, Head of Account Excellence
- Focusing on deliverables, helping my team where needed, and most importantly, trying to make my account drivers’ lives easier. I’m five months into my public relations career, so I’m still in the learning phase. I’m taking the time to pay attention to what’s going on with our clients along with what’s happening in the industries they are working in. – Jack Hayes, Associate Account Executive
What I learned: The words “process” and “progress” stand out to me here as a key takeaway. Progress? It’s a process. The word “focus” also resonates, as in choosing where to focus energy to maximize success. These answers demonstrate the importance of taking time to focus both harder and smarter.
What excites you most about working in the public relations world?
- Although I didn’t know anything about public relations when I got into the industry more than a decade ago, I soon came to love how no two days are ever the same. While there are some certainties to the daily routine, I’m most excited by the “unknown” projects and challenges that pop up regularly. – Gregory Hassel, SVP, Financial Services Practice Co-Lead
- I love that no day is the same and that there is so much freedom and opportunity within this career path. I also think that since we are working with communication professionals, there’s a higher percentage of charismatic, personable people than in most other industries. – Janice Miller, VP
- I love that public relations is constantly changing. There’s always a new topic or issue to get smart on. Loving challenges and learning—that’s the core of who I am as a person, so it suits me those are key elements to agency public relations. This job forces you to stay current with technology, overall skills, and with the world around you. I love helping my clients with how they show up. – Alexis Odesser, SVP, Head of Account Excellence
- Definitely the creative aspect of it. I enjoy crafting social media posts and pitches that showcase our clients’ strengths. – Jack Hayes, AAE
- Knowing that we are making the world more well-informed, inclusive, and REAL is a rush to the head. We analyze the everchanging scopes of our industries and adapt in a fast-paced working environment; there’s nothing like it. – Matthew Missud, HR Associate
What I learned: Predictability can get boring. Routines perhaps stifle creativity. Striving to learn and striving to adapt amidst an ever-evolving landscape are key motivators. Meaningful engagement means stepping out of your comfort zone now and then. Expansion leads to growth.
What kind of content are you consuming today to be better at your job tomorrow?
- I recently finished reading ‘Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.’ While the text correlates to my skills and thinking, it changed my vision regarding the interview process with entry-level candidates. Recruiting is pivotal to what we do here next week, next month, next year, next decade, etc. – Matthew Missud, HR Associate
- Leadership content. Though I typically don’t applaud anything Yankees-related (let’s go Mets!), ‘The Captain’ documentary about Derek Jeter—long considered one of the Yankees’ greatest leaders—has been a fun watch. Any time the world of sports and leadership combine, I’m interested! – Gregory Hassel, SVP, Financial Services Practice Co-Lead
- I read the morning newspapers every day—a lot is going on out there and it’s a routine that helps me keep my finger on the pulse. – Janice Miller, VP
- I’m an avid consumer of news. My daily consumption primarily comes from Axios, The New York Times, Fortune, and Fast Company. Personally, I’ve been reading fiction books. I love (LOVE) to travel but I haven’t traveled much lately so I appreciate escaping in another way, into the worlds created in literature. – Alexis Odesser, SVP, Head of Account Excellence
- I try to keep up to date with news happening within our client’s industries. This includes payments, cybersecurity, and anything fintech related. My favorite publications are Fintech Futures, VentureBeat, and Cybersecurity Dive. – Jack Hayes, AAE
What I learned: It’s important to continue consuming content that not only keeps you up to date on industry trends but inspires you at the same time. Knowing what’s happening with our clients helps us better serve them.
What’s a recent project or campaign that was especially impactful for a client that you’re proud of?
- One of our longest-standing financial services clients recently tapped us to further build out and support its DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) initiative. Their confidence in us speaks volumes about our partnership and is exactly the type of work we’re excited by. – Gregory Hassel, SVP, Financial Services Practice Co-Lead
- We’ve done a great job developing thought leadership for a CEO. She’s very pleased with the portfolio we’ve built over the past year but more than that, we’ve guided her to take high-level actions that make a difference in people’s lives. – Janice Miller, VP
- I work on clients for whom we have efforts we support annually, like surveys and awareness campaigns. I am constantly challenged by how we keep those efforts fresh year after year. It’s not easy, but I love the creativity. – Alexis Odesser, SVP, Head of Account Excellence
- I was able to secure an analyst briefing opportunity for one of Next Tech Communications’ SaaS clients. This was a big win because the analyst has ties to popular publications. Recently, the same analyst reached out for a post-briefing catch-up about the client’s influencer and content marketing. Overall, it was a great relationship builder. – Jack Hayes, AAE
- Knowing that we are making the world more well-informed, inclusive, and REAL is a rush to the head. We analyze the everchanging scopes of our industries and adapt in a fast-paced working environment; there is nothing like it. – Matthew Missud, HR Associate
What I learned: We value making a difference. We embrace the opportunity to build deep rapport with those we work with. And taking on tough projects excites us.
If your career journey was a book or song title, what would this book be called?
- My daughter is a big fan of Dr. Seuss and I feel ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’ fits the bill here. Central messages in the book like being open-minded and trying new things are the reason why I started this career journey…and the reason why I still love what I do! – Gregory Hassel, SVP, Financial Services Practice Co-Lead
- The song ‘I Did it My Way.’ – Janice Miller, VP
- Here are three: ‘Failure is the Beginning: No One Ever Succeeded Without Messing Up a Lot’; ‘Strong Leaders Have Flaws: How Being Your Flawed Self Makes for Strong Leadership’; ‘It’s All Connected: The Importance of Relationships and Understanding Others to a Successful Career.’ – Alexis Odesser, SVP, Head of Account Excellence
- ‘A Farewell to Construction.’ For reference, before working here, I was a Junior Project Manager at Elite Floors Inc., one of New York’s leading union-based flooring contractors. It was a huge and positive change in fields, to say the least. – Jack Hayes, AAE
- ‘Asking Questions: The Most Masterful Mechanism for Expanding Your Horizons.’ – Matthew Missud, HR Associate
What I learned: We value the art of trying new things, carving out our paths, jumping into new industries headfirst, and…asking questions!
By Jacqueline DiChiara, Content Strategist
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.