An earlier post discussed the bad idea that strikes us all from time to time.
Roughly summarized, the bad idea is: “I don’t need no stinking expert; I’ll do it myself!”
A while back we were working with a bank executive to design an internal survey for (1) measuring employee morale and (2) collecting on-the-ground insights on how to streamline their byzantine commercial lending process.
Let me be clear that this is an extremely smart and successful professional who has forgotten more about banking than most of us will ever know.
But after a few revisions of the survey, he decided to try his hand at “this question-writing stuff,” which, I submit to you, was a BAD IDEA on his part.
Do you have confidence that we have a timely and reliable process and the right people in the right roles in order to fully meet our client’s [sic] needs?
If I answer “Strongly Agree,” am I indicating that:
- We have timely processes?
- We have reliable processes?
- We have the right people?
- We have the right people in the right roles?
- We can fully meet our clients’ needs (as opposed to partially meeting them)?
- Some of the above?
- All of the above?
[Research geeks will also note that the question asks the respondent if they “have confidence,” which deftly pairs clumsy conceptualization with ambiguous operationalization.]
Look, experts are experts for a reason. They have used their skills countless times, thought about them, revised them, talked to other experts about new ways to improve them even further, learned to fail, learned to succeed, etc.
Luke Skywalker couldn’t lift that X-wing out of the swamp. But Yoda, the expert, certainly could.
So my client attempting to write his own question was every bit as ridiculous as me trying to cut my kids’ hair… and with equally bad results.
So please business professionals: I’ll put down the shears, you step away from the survey, and nobody needs to get hurt.