Breakthrough Improvements happen when we stop doing what we have been doing and a team of people discover better & new ways of working.
These seven questions should give you sufficient information and challenge to breakthrough existing processes and barriers. Before moving to implementation you should ask and document responses to these seven questions.
7 Questions for Breakthrough Improvements
1. What should be happening? Instead of what’s currently happening.
- When a problem occurs many people want to rush to ask ‘why?’ … Asking why often results in blame and accusations. Plus, it only points out errors. Asking ‘what should be happening?’ will help identify possible solutions and focus the team.
2. What’s the purpose?
- When someone proposes some new project or product or service, ask for the purpose. “We are setting up a new team to study best practices of ice cream shops!” … “Great! What’s its purpose?”
3. What will it take to accomplish this?
- This question should be asked repeatedly when someone describes something they would like to accomplish. After asking about its purpose, help the person convert their wishes to actions.
4. Will the customer care about this?
- Will the customer notice or care? How will this proposed effort affect the customer? How do you know?
5. What are you assuming?
- If you are going to change how work gets done or impose a new policy on people, for example, what are your assumptions about the employees at work? OR what are your assumptions about how people currently complete the work? … If someone said “We are going to impose on our vendors a three-year contract with measurable performance standards” you may ask, “What are your assumptions about the vendors? And what are your assumptions about contracts and measurable standards of performance? What do you currently believe the vendors are doing that this would improve?”
6. What data do you have?
- If you know they have no data, don’t use this question as a ‘GOTCHYA’. Instead ask, “What data might you gather?” This question is intended to move the answers from theories or hunches to research.
7. Where do your data come from?
- There is a lot of bad data out there. How was data gathered, analyzed, and interpreted? (Just because you got numbers, graphs and charts doesn’t mean there’s data.) How do you assure yourself and the team that the data is valid and relevant?
What do you think?
How might you use the 7 questions above?