Yesterday, in my outline of the Now and into the Future seminar, I mentioned Lisa Scheinkopf's "five questions." I didn't have them then, but a question to the Constraints Management SIG gave me the answer (thanks guys).
- What am I / are we responsible for accomplishing?
- Why is what I'm responsible for really needed by the organization to improve vis-à-vis its goal?
- What must I/we do to accomplish it?
- Why will this action/activity achieve it?
- Why is accomplishing this at risk without providing another level of detail for my subordinates?
- How does it link with what others are responsible for accomplishing?
First off, there are six questions. And I don't have the full context for how and why these were developed. One comment suggested that they were developed in relation to the Strategy & Tactics Trees, which I can see. Each node in an S&T Tree seeks to answer these questions in the given situation. The setup makes the connection to the higher purpose, then to the immediate actions, then to the additional layers of needs that are connected to the current needs. It sets out both the direction and the map of actions that have to happen.
Thinking through these questions, I can see what Goldratt meant in saying that it is difficult for people to answer all of these questions fully. And that highlights the problems that any organization has when it comes to describing strategies and plans throughout.
On a personal level, this also highlights the value behind living and acting according to a purpose and direction. People do this through their religion, Getting Things Done, Purpose Driven Life, Franklin-Covey, .... Having that baseline gives people the compass they need to at least answer the first questions.