The Problem With Stupid Questions

In an industry of right-brained thinking, hyper-intelligence and a nearly constant stream of new buzz words, it can sometimes feel daunting to ask the most basic of questions. Unfortunately, when it comes to getting clarity on the day-to-day mundanities, then if the stupid questions aren’t answered, you can be in for a pretty rough ride.

One of the key services Tangram offers is business process mapping, usually with the aim of architecting software and systemising processes. Our aim is always to clarify and simplify, where possible. All too frequently we find that the current agency processes are widely misunderstood by the various agency teams. The answers to simple Who? Why? When? What? and How? questions are confused and disconnected. Workflows are communicated as grand ideas and strategies, leaving individuals to connect the dots and fill in their own versions of the detail.

We continually encounter misunderstandings and inconsistency on the most critical and seemingly basic of areas; how to get to your revenue forecast number; how the client is billed; how to get the right people working on your job; which rate card needs to be used; how much time should be logged per day; how to put a quote together; what type of brief to use; the list goes on.

In summary, the problem with stupid questions is: they are simply not asked enough when it comes to how we get work done. Individuals work through their own seemingly correct paths, obliterating consistency, crushing morale and confusing agency reporting. Whilst agency execs and decision makers are far removed from the detail, and cannot easily see the bigger issues driven by the lack of understanding of it.

You are probably reading this thinking your agency is different, and your people are crystal clear on how things should get done in your business. I hope you are right, but you would be the exception and not the rule. So the next time you implement a new service/solution/spreadsheet/system then be sure to open the floor for all the stupid questions – someone may just have thought of something you haven’t.

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