There is a shocking number of clients and colleagues that struggle, gather teams, run kaizen events and do all sorts of other activities (and throw good money after bad more frequently than anyone cares to admit) to improve operations (improve the customer experience/service levels at greater profit and margins levels) while missing the most obvious answer — asking good questions.
We’ve found that asking good questions can be the “secret weapon”. Thus, we’ll ask questions about asking questions…
1. Before leaping to a standard toolkit such as “run a kaizen event,” have you asked common sense questions? Is common sense uncommon in your company?
2. Before scheduling more meetings to discuss topics (several of my clients run from one meeting to the next ALL day, every day), have you thought about asking if anyone has gone to “see” the issue? What did he/she see?
3. Do you think there is an art in formulating a question? If you’ve ever talked with an effective questioner, you’d know there is more to asking questions than just asking questions. What thought have you put into your question?
4. Do you think about the objective of your question? If you try it for a week, do your questions and meetings become clearer?