Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Do you use closed questions to manage your business processes?

When you implement (or update) a new business process it is vital that you understand how to manage it.

It is one thing to use the metrics in your business to keep an eye on it, but sometimes you need to ask questions to make sure it is working the way that you want it to.

On my travels around different businesses I witness these sorts of conversations.

People ask open questions as to 'how is it going?'

The answer they receive are therefore equally vague.

Closed questions can work a treat in this situation, boiling down the status to a 'yes' or a 'no'.

No wiggle room, just an accurate response to a considered question...

  • Has the MRP cycle been run today?
  • Are all of the sales orders loaded onto the system?
  • Have you cascaded the instructions to your team?
  • Have all of the obstacles for the day been recorded?
You get the idea...

The key is to tie in a few pointed questions into your regular day to day activities to make this approach work.

New process = new question(s)

It is not a difficult thing to do, just something that many businesses don't do!


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' online course for improving continuous improvement skills.

P.S. If you want some ideas about turning these 'pointed' questions into a meaningful and effective business process in its own right then check out my book 'Sunrise Meetings', available here.

C'mon! Just write the SOP!