the right questionTo get the right answer we need to ask the right question. Consider the scenario where your sales are falling. You ask the question ‘why are our sales falling?’ and get an answer like ‘because our sales people are rubbish’.

Before we fire our sales force let us try a different and more in depth style of questioning.

Why are sales falling?  – Because customers don’t like our products

Why don’t they like our products? – Because they are outdated, not as cool as this year’s model

Why are our products outdated? – Because we have not developed any new ones for 5 years

Why have we not done this before? – Because the boss has not allowed us

Why has the boss behaved in this way? – Because they have no spare time to spend

So our sales are falling because the boss (potentially us) needs a lesson in time management. Not only do we need to ask the right question, we might need to ask more than one in order to inform our decision about which course of action to take.

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