In work and in personal life, it is important to surround yourself with people who ask engaging or opposing questions. The curiosity of questioning can lead to greater creativity, collaboration, problem-solving or simply stronger awareness. For example, my husband constantly challenges me to consider other perspectives when what I thought I needed was his alliances, instead of a greater perspective.
Questioning should align with the end goal of creating movement in the right direction.
When I prepare for a training or a customer visit, especially when it is in a new region, I begin by asking:
- What do I want to achieve?
- What questions do I need to answer?
- What is the challenge at hand?
- Do our goals align?
Every country has its own set of challenges to solve and solutions to develop. I need to gain an understanding of the current operations and objectives to confirm if our end goals line up. Are there extra quality requirements from importing countries? How is data collected and managed across the supply chain?
Working with quality managers, I often like to find out what questions they ask to drive their quality management program. Understanding the questions helps to outline what results the management is trying to reach. Often regulatory or customer requirements direct the questions.
However, I find the most intriguing conversations come from internal discussions. Dialogues between operators, engineers, and quality management have included questions that would never be asked by someone outside the company. How can we improve CIP procedures? How can staff on the floor provide greater feedback or training for management?
When we ask more intentional and pointed questions, we can discover the overlaps and draw on successes or lessons learned to keep the ball moving in the right direction.