In this post we will answer these questions by introducing Paul and Susan. Real Qvest cases have served as the inspiration for the stories about Paul and Susan - but they are fictional characters.
Paul uses Qvest regularly to map key concerns and informal relations in his organization - we'll call the organization Big Org.
Purpose: Effect Measurement
The first time Paul used Qvest he wanted to find out if the organizational structures and management principles he launched the year before worked. The strategic changes intended to decrease the gap between the different departments - and between managers and employees.
He therefore kicked off a Qvest inviting all his employees to join a conversation about "Strategy implementation in Big Org.".
The 'Question Themes' feature in the Analytics section in the Qvest tool makes it easy to sort the question-output into project-specific themes.
Questions like "what do you think is most important - our management principles or improving the infrastructures in our city?" and "how much time do you spend in meetings discussing stuff that has nothing to do with our citizens?" made Paul realize that he and his management team had been putting so much effort into introducing the new structures and management principles, that they had neglected talking to their employees about what matters - and should matter - most to them, namely the everyday problems they solve for the citizens.
What do you think is most important - our management principles or improving the infrastructures in our city?
By acting as if management was the most important thing for managers to talk about, Paul - unintentionally - had given the employees the impression that the core tasks they spent each and every day solving were less important. Instead of decreasing the gap between managers and employees, Paul had increased the gap by making management a core task in itself.
Thanks to the insight Paul gained from Qvest the implementation of the new organizational structures and management principles took a new direction. Instead of talking to employees about the new management principles, Paul and his management team found different ways of demonstrating the principles when talking to employees about their everyday problems and tasks. It saved everybody a lot of time and frustrations, and kept everybody focused on the things that matter the most.
She started using Qvest because she wanted a "snapshot" of her organization.
Purpose: Qualify Employee Satisfaction Survey
Susan wanted to make sure that the yearly employee satisfaction survey made sense to the employees. She didn't want to replace her traditional survey, but she thought there might be questions she didn't think of asking, so she wanted to give employees a chance to add important questions to the survey.
Susan wanted people to exchange questions and answers that mattered to them, so she kicked off a Qvest with the topic "Key aspects of employee satisfaction".
How do we stay optimistic when all we hear is burning platform?
Even though the employees asked a lot of interesting questions in the Qvest - such as "if [company name] is supposed to be a modern company, why is everything top-down?" and "how do we stay optimistic when all we hear is burning platform?" - it wasn't the content in the questions and answers that made Susan see her organization in a new light. It was the way the questions were distributed among the different groups in the organization.
The Qvest Network is part of the Qvest Analytics section. Each dot represents a group, e.g. departments or titles. In the tool, you can see the question and answer exchange between two groups/dots by clicking the string between them.
The Qvest network showed an imbalance in the relationship between employees, middle managers and senior executives. While employees directed all kinds of questions to senior executives - resulting in answers like "if you are not happy, you should talk to your immediate manager or HR" and "that, my friend, you have completely misunderstood" - senior executives directed all their questions to other senior executives. The consequence of this behavior was that middle managers were left out in all the important conversations about strategy, well-being, collaboration and day-to-day management.
Susan used Qvest to identify the reason why her company were struggling with implementing new initiatives. By shedding light on the way the different groups were - and weren't - communicating, she was able to help her organization reinstate the missing link between strategy and everyday actions. Starting with adding 12 new questions to the satisfaction survey, including "To what extend do you get the information you need from your immediate manager?" and "To what extend do your everyday tasks reflect the overall company strategy?"
Co-founder and Chief Methodologist at Qvest. Pia is the inventor of the Qvest method. She has a PhD in Philosophy and has spent the last 20 years researching and writing about the nature and impact of questions.
Qvest is made for corporate rebels, who are willing to try new things to reach new goals.
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