I often say that I have built my career on asking stupid questions. Improving productivity is all about asking questions. Why do we do it like that? Who is responsible for this? Why do it that way? Where should this be done? Why do we do this at all?
However, I have come to realise that asking questions is not the answer. The real secret is listening to the answers you are given and sorting out the valid answers from the questionable. In lean terms it is also necessary to ‘go to Gemba’ – find out for yourself what is happening. Observe as well as listen.
None of this is difficult. But is is amazing how many people don’t do it. They listen to what the manager tells them – and accept it without checking with the guys (snd girls) who actually do it ‘on the ground’.
So listen, ask questions and observe reality. Then you might understand. If you understand, you have the chance to improve.