Improving your decision making process with precision questioning/answering (pq/pa), Part III

So, how can PQ/PA have value in this all-too-common situation?

Andrew Mani, our senior project manager, will post an article this coming Tuesday on crisis management. He’ll be sharing guidelines for dealing hands-on with unexpected challenges in implementing new products/services. Among his ‘lessons learned’–managers dealing with emergencies seldom have time to hold staff meetings or do new research.

So, how can PQ/PA have value in this all-too-common situation?

The answer

IF your team has applied some version of Precision Questioning/Precision Answering prior to the crisis, you will have immediate access to extensive baseline research information multiple sources, greatly improving the odds of a successful outcome.

Precision answer guidelines

In Part II of this series, I described seven categories of precision questions that help team members explore the full scope of any inquiry and then drill down to the most relevant information.

Answering questions to improve discovery requires a similar process.

In order to provide more precise, accurate feedback you need to–

  • Stay on point; limiting your answer to the question asked.
  • Come to the meeting prepared to address core issues efficiently and succinctly.
  • Be brief; then inquire whether others have additional questions.
  • If the answer includes multiple factors, rank them–perhaps writing them out on a flipchart.
  • Say, “I don’t know” if you don’t have an answer, but give team members your plan of action for getting the needed information.
  • Ask for clarification if a question is ambiguous. “Are you asking about X or Y?”
  • Redirect the questioner with your own question(s) if they get off track.
  • Qualify your answers to include critical contingencies, e.g., “There are two main risks to taking that course of action; they are______.”
  • To ensure nothing crucial is being overlooked, let the questioner know when you have important information that they are overlooking.


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