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Article: Questions to Locate the Area Where Performance Improvement Will Create the Greatest Benefits Related Resources

Questions to Locate the Area Where Performance Improvement Will Create the Greatest Benefits
by Donald Mitchell

Performance improvement isn't limited to developing 2,000 percent solutions (accomplishing 20 times as much with the same time, effort, and resources) . In some instances, you'll accomplish much more. Because of that you'll want to focus your attention in creating 2,000 percent solutions on the highest payoff area.

In thinking about finding the greatest benefits, it's good to keep two time frames in mind. The first is for the effects in one year of less. The second is for the effects in five years or more. The reason for keeping these two time periods in mind is because customer preferences are always shifting from one direction into another. The benefit you choose to emphasize should be one that will have immediate, substantial benefits while providing even larger, more important benefits over the longer term.

1. What new benefits could your products or services provide to customers and ultimate users?

It's important to think about both what benefits you could provide today and those potential benefits that you could deliver later. At this stage, the longer your list is the better your eventual results will probably be. At this point, don't rule anything out. For now, open your mind as wide as you can. This process will work best if you apply this thinking to one customer, product or service at a time.

2. If each new benefit was expanded as large as possible, which new benefit would be most valuable in stimulating purchases from your organization?

Although some people will want to apply maximum rigor in answering a question like this, it usually turns out that common sense can provide an equally valid answer with much less time and effort. If you find that several new benefits seem to share the lead in providing maximum value, simply continue to focus on all of those new benefits in the remainder of these questions.

3. How might you take that most potentially valuable new benefit toward the maximum?

A good brainstorming session is called for here. Gather people from a variety of backgrounds (including a number that are unrelated to what you do). Describe the new benefit that you want to take to the nth degree, and ask each person to describe as many ways as possible that the nth degree might be reached. As before, place no limits on ideas.

4. In looking at potential solutions to take the potentially most valuable new benefit to the maximum that you defined in 3 above, which solution alternatives would also drive other highly valuable benefits forward?

Here, you are looking for overlap where a potential solution provides enhanced effectiveness that helps more than one highly valuable benefit when provided to the nth degree.

5. Which of the potential solutions that advances many benefits towards the nth degree would be the easiest for your organization to accomplish?

In considering your choices, be sure to include your ability to access the talents of other organizations through partnering, outsourcing and other potential relationships.

Copyright 2007 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

Donald Mitchell is CEO of Mitchell and Company, a strategy and financial consulting firm in Weston, MA. He is coauthor of six books including The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The Portable 2,000 Percent Solution, and The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook. You can read about his work on improving effectiveness and find free excerpts from The 2,000 Percent Solution at: .

Donald Mitchell may be contacted at or


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