It is really easy to get so stuck into work that you forget or don’t find time to question – or if you do ask questions, you forget to ask the right questions in the right way. This does not just apply to front line staff, who may have little control over what comes their way but can happens to leaders too.
Key Questions for You To Ask
What are we doing well?
Most people and organisations have some things they do really well. Sometimes though, it’s worth stepping back and considering “If we really are that good at A, B, & C, shouldn’t we focus even more of our time and energy on doing it”.
What are we doing badly?
This requires a considerable degree of self-awareness and the self- confidence to admit to what you are not good at, either as an organisation or individual, but if you can overcome that is hugely empowering. If you answer this question candidly it rapidly gives rise to supplemental questions:
- Should we stop doing this altogether? How much of your time, of your organisation’s effort and resource is really well spent or applied?
- Should we do this in a different way? Even if you are doing the right things, are you doing them in the right way – the way which optimises long term benefit all round and minimises cost, effort and adverse impact. How often do we see things done one way because they have always been done that way – how often do we find time to consider whether the old way is the best way?
What are we doing that has no little or no value?
Take a look at your week. How much of it is spent in activities that have little or no value? A good starting point is “What was the least productive 8 hrs in my week?” (this applies not just to you but the whole of your organisation). Keep asking that question every Friday within a month you will have identified a whole heap of things that really create no value. This does not just apply to what you do as an individual but as an organisation.
What should be delegated?
This again applies equally to organisations and individuals. Are there things which need to be done by someone else who can do it better, more easily, or more efficiently, or indeed with more enjoyment and enthusiasm? If you’re an individual where should you delegate? If you are an organisation are there areas you should outsource, sub-contract or buy-in?
What aren’t we doing that we should find time for?
This one can often fall totally off the map. You get so bogged down in the day to day as an organisation or an individual that you forget to ask is there something missing? Is there something else we should be doing? Would part, or all, of our energy be better applied totally outside something we are currently doing? Hopefully if you have cut out what you are doing badly and what has little or no value you will more time to make sure this question does not go unasked.
The above is not exhaustive but a great starting point to check you are asking some of the right questions. So where do you come out? … what if anything needs to change? … starting when?
Find time to ask these questions regularly. Even better, take it up a notch and ensure your team can all easily contribute and let you know if you are on the right track too.