Top ten tips for performance consulting 4 – Interview like a police officer

Gap analysis is so important that I have another tip…

  1. Interview like a police officer

Imagine you have just been mugged

If the police interview asked you “Can you describe your assailant?”

Under stress you would probably answer “No”

But if they gave you options; “Was it one person or more?” even under pressure you could probably answer “one”.  Then “was it a man or a woman?  “Answer “a man”, “big man or small man?” etc.  In this way the police would help you construct a picture by alternatives rather than a direct closed question.

I a similar way, if you ask your client “can you quantify how much this is worth” they will probably answer “no”.  They are under stress and probably do not want to admit how much this performance gap, which they are accountable for is costing.  So act like a policeman.  Help you client build up a picture of the current state and metrics; “so we are 10% behind target” and the desired performance; “and the target is £100k per person” and help them with the gap “so is that a gap of 10k per person?”

“How much is the cost of the gap in total?  Is it “£1 million or 2 million?”  What would you say the ballpark fire was for doing nothing?”

Don’t worry if you cannot get accurate figures but try and get a ballpark figure or statement of the cost of the gap.  Sometimes we cannot get a single figure in this case just write down the statement that the client used to best describe their perception of the gap e.g. “It would be a disaster”.