Blog Article Written By: Ray Attiyah, Chief Innovation Officer
Obstacle #3: Management Questions and Metrics
How are the operations running? Did you send that mailer out on time? Did you talk to the customer?
When you ask questions, you are setting a standard. In the case of the three above examples, you are setting a low standard. As our good friends at Generally Speaking say, “90% of questions are really statements.” The tone of the question is often more important than the question itself. If all you want is for the operations to be run, then, “How are the operations running?” is a good question. But if you want to create a higher standard of excellence, you need to position that with the questions that you ask.
Now, let’s try again:
What three areas are performing better than they did yesterday? After the mailer went out, what did you learn from the people you followed up with? What did your conversation with the customer reveal about our service improvement initiatives?
By positioning your questions with intended outcomes, you have raised the bar. Then the person on the other end of the question begins to think in terms of outcomes, not tasks.
The same concept applies to metrics. Metrics are just another organizational tool that people use to make sense of data. So use them to your advantage. There is no hard and fast rule for what a metric should look like. We have grown so accustomed to the typical productivity, profitability and inventory metrics that we rarely think of coming up with new ones.
Metrics can be created to improve organizational gaps. For instance, if lead times are lagging because material handoffs are sloppy, you could create a daily material turnover metric that will help the employees see the area of improvement upon which they need to focus. Another example: if customer service is poor, you could create a customer touch rate metric that highlights the quickness through which a customer’s problem is being handled.
I encourage you to what happens when you ask yourself the following: What three business metrics can I create that will raise the standard of excellence in my organization?”