Asking the Right Questions

Published September 22, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair


Asking the right questions is an important component in the strategic decision making process.  In my ebook, The Value of Corporate Strategic Management (2014) I provided insights to effective leadership skills and examine more closely strategies that top performers implement to manage an organization more efficiently (Berry, 2014). For example, to help them devise the most effective strategic plans, leaders contemplate some of the following common questions that might be useful in the planning process:

  • How can we do that (don’t ask “Why can’t we do that?”)?
  • How else can we do that?  What else could we do?
  • Will you help me? What else could we do?
  • Who, what, why, where, when, and how much?
  • Who will do what and by when?

Conducting an analysis is important because it helps determine whether the functioning processes of an organization are operating efficiently. Ivey (2013) explains that by asking the right questions, managers can help identify root causes that affect employee outcomes. For example, are the issues that staff members face based on cultural or generational factors? Determining the answer can provide insights on how employees interact with one another (Ivey, 2013). In other words, by conducting an analysis, leaders are in a better position to diagnose a problem. The first step in this process is to gather information to determine the challenges as a means to better comprehend concerns and identify potential opportunities or threats. Asking the right question is a significant skill that can be extremely helpful in conducting an analysis because it gives the decision makers the opportunity to discuss their concerns and develop a collaborative effort on how to devise effective strategies to improve performances and outcomes.


Asking questions like, “How can we do that?” or “How else can we do that?” are excellent questions to begin the process, however, as these kinds of questions are more general, they do not address specific topics like whether supervisors are achieving their goals or whether employees are engaged in high performances. In their book, Corporate Internal Investigations, Kramer and Lomas (2013) suggest that it is important for leaders to begin the internal analysis process by devising one single point of management control to prevent output chaos or derive at conclusions that are not reliable or credible. In addition, the analysis process should include a strong commitment from the highest level in the organization, supported by the appropriate authorities and provide terms that are plain and concise. This can serve to help dissuade any possibility of misconduct or undermining the investigation process (Kramer & Lomas, 2013).  These components can serve to help establish the integrity of the analysis process. In addition, conducting an organizational analysis can cause staffers anxiety where they become fearful of losing their jobs so, it should be managed in a way that does not interfere with daily operations or create an atmosphere of distress.

On Wednesday, we will take a closer look at how organizational analyses are used as a strategy to identify a company’s strengths and weaknesses. Until then … stay organized!


Strategy must have continuity. It can’t be constantly reinvented. – Michael Porter


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Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Ivey, N. (2013). How to conduct internal investigations. Boca Raton, FL: CreateSpace Publishing.

Kramer, D., & Lomas, P. (2013). Corporate internal investigations (2nd ed.). Croydon, England, Great Britain: CPI Group (UK) Ltd.


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