Ask the right questions to get the right answers

Product/service Perspective. IN this column I continue with a series of articles that identify how to explore different pers-pectives driving success related to something (the situation) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the perspective of products and services. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or imp-rove things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of products and services. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions – just those that resonate with you and your situation. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. 1. How could our focus impact on product quality and service delivery, and vice versa? 2. Do we have the production/manufacturing/pro-cess capability our focus requires? What could we do to incorporate production/manufacturing/pro-cessing requirements? 3. What are the issues here in relation to product quality and service delivery? How could we monitor and improve key production and delivery processes in this situation? What changes could be needed to business processes and support services? 4. How could our focus add value for each product or service? How do the demands for our products or services affect our focus? How well have we tested new products/services against process and supplier capability? 5. What requirements will our focus place on our manufacturing, production and process capability, stock control, warehousing, logistics and support services? 6. What are the opportunities to develop new products and services? How could we evaluate the feasibility of new products and services? How could we use our intellectual and human capital to develop strategic advantage through innovation in products and serv-ices? How could we challenge and change the fundamental manner in which we provide products, processes and services? What could we do to stimulate our ability to change rapidly and continuously in developing new products and services? How does that affect our focus? 7. How could we incorporate the views of the producers/providers of our products and services in this situation? How could we incorporate customer requirements in this situation? 8. How could our product quality and serv-ice delivery standards meet or exceed customer expectations and/or meet or exceed our competitors in this situation? 9. To achieve our focus, what other things will we need to change or improve or develop in relation to product and service delivery? How could we make efficiency improvements as a consequence of making process improvements, changes to products or services or work design? 10. How could we close any gaps between customer-perceived quality and staff-perceived quality in this situation? 11. How are we developing new products and processes that support ecological sustainability? 12. How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? 13. How might our current ways of thinking about products and services be limiting our effectiveness or future success? 14. What ways of thinking about products and services might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant / facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline man-agers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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