Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Want more time for your projects? Try the 'Hour of Pain'!

Do you find your day being broken up by interruptions, stopping you from getting on with your work?

Continuous improvement projects often fall foul of this. The day can become so inefficient through the constant stopping and starting that we only just seem to have enough time to get the 'day job' completed.

I was in a meeting last week where this same issue cropped up. It also cropped up today. It's nothing new, but it is still a pain in the rear!

So, let me share with you an approach that has worked for my clients - the 'Hour of Pain!'.

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Free Continuous Improvement Guide

I have recently published a new free guide, with the title:
Six Quick Tips to Help Continuous Improvement Deliver Results Faster In the guide I share how to:
Use the continuous improvement cycle properly.Get projects moving, if they are slow to start or have stalled.Identify the 'biggest bang for your buck' when reviewing opportunities.Determine the level of change you need to achieve through your improvements.Flip staff grumbles and concerns into positive improvement actions.Increase the overall rate of progress on your projects. All of the tips are highly practical and are no-cost strategies.
To get your copy, just click on the button below and access the guide in just a few moments from now.

Enjoy reading,

About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous i…