Ask Basic Questions, Address Fundamental Issues

hudgeon12by Doug Hudgeon The Cost Management Tip On the train platform this morning, construction work channeled commuters down a small passageway. Midway down the passage, a man stood pressing his back against the wall. One of the commuters in front of me must have said something because the man responded in a broad Australian accent”I can’t suck me guts in any more.” That appeared to be true but it probably wasn’t what the commuter was asking. The fundamental question was “What are you even doing here?”. Likewise, in a cost reduction initiative, sometimes asking everyone to suck in their guts is not going to do it. It’s no fun and it doesn’t work. Sometimes you need to ask more basic questions and address more fundamental issues. Related web sources Asking the right questions is a favourite topic on Lifehacker sites. Here’s a sample post. This is only tangentially related to the topic of this post but it serves as a good exercise to experience the difference between asking questions that scratch the surface of a problem and asking more basic questions. Related books Smart Questions offers an entirely new framework for creating solutions. Drawn from the authors’ many years of research and field experience, the Smart Questions Approach reveals how the leading creators of solutions in almost every profession and walk of life—including business, government, education, and even in families—think and approach their assignments. The author’s holistic thinking approach shows how to use three “foundation” questions—focusing on uniqueness, purposeful information, and systems—which must be explored for every problem. These three questions, an essential starting point for exploring problems, in turn lead to other key questions that will ultimately create effective solutions.” Dour Hudgeon who is lawyer and vendor management professional who has branched into finance and accounting shared services management.

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  • Safwan says:

    Good article. Having experienced a similar situation, I have two points to share
    1. It is easier to integrate if the new venture compliments your existing product/or is a new application of your existing product or service. If it is a direct substitute for your existing product(Newer evolving technology ), getting the ground level support requires careful planning (Eg: which market to test first so as to keep self-cannibalization to the minimum, motivating your sales teams etc)
    2. For MNC s, a platform to share new venture progress and success stories across geography helps in the knowledge sharing and for scaling up the operations at a faster pace

  • Roy tailer says:

    Supply chain management provides enterprises, especially manufacturers, with tremendous competitive and business advantages. However, supply chain management is fraught with challenges, especially in today’s business landscape.

    Let me discuss few key challenges in supply chain business here:
    Fast changing Markets?
    Quality and Compliance?

    How you address this challenges which can divert your business totally?

    • Sanil George says:

      Here is your answer of above query Mr. Roy-
      For companies that wish to succeed with corporate entrepreneurship, the lesson is simple: Success is not an either-or proposition. New businesses should be nurtured through a series of balancing acts that combine entrepreneurship and disciplined management, short- and long-term thinking, and established and new processes. As IBM’s EBO management system shows, when companies must choose between black and white, the best response is often gray.

      • Roy tailer says:

        Thanks, Sanil. Most of the new businesses are now in the hands of IBM’s business groups. That transition occurred quite suddenly. Gerstner’s successor, Sam Palmisano, triggered the shift when he suggested to Harreld in August 2003 that “maybe we’re hugging the EBOs too closely.”

  • Sanil George says:

    That’s very good how you have related the man who was standing below the passage pressing back to the wall with a cost reduction initiative very much impressed with this technique of yours

  • Alfred says:

    Interesting blog post-Vivek. Smart questioning is a technique and not every person is an expert in it. Smart questioning should be used to achieve well-defined goals. A professional or business executive should ask questions that are easy to understand and comprehend by the group of people of employees. Every business individual must acquire smart and basic questioning kills as it would greatly help to reduce and resolve problems in lesser time.

  • Jamie Carson says:

    Questioning and effective questioning are two entirely different things. Effective questioning sessions requires advance preparation. While some professionals may be skilled in unrehearsed questioning, many find that such questions have phrasing problems, are not organized in a logical sequence, or do not require others to use the desired thinking skills. So the questions must be carefully crafted and effectively asked so that the complete meaning of the question is understandable for the other person. This could greatly help to reduce big issues in businesses.

  • Jesse Aaron says:

    Garbage in, garbage out, is a popular truth, in my field it is often used with computer systems as if you put the wrong information in, you’ll get the wrong information out. The same principle applies to communications in general. If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll probably get the wrong answer, or at least not quite what you’re hoping for. Ask smart questions and get smart answers, it’s that simple.

  • Carter says:

    Asking the right question is at the heart of smart and precise questioning that ultimately results in effective communications and information exchange. By using the right questions in a particular situation, you can improve a whole range of business communications skills. For example, you can gather better information and learn more; you can build stronger business relationships, manage employees more effectively, and help others to learn too.

  • Harper says:

    Good article Vivek. I completely agree with you at this point that basic and smart questioning is very important. When you learn to ask smart and more basic questions, your discussions become more interesting and meaningful. You have discussed the aspects of Smart Questioning Approach and a few important thoughts of the mentioned book writer. I think the uniqueness and purposefulness must be explored deeply while finding a solution for any given problem.

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