EM_Pushing for a better answer_distinctiveness questions.pptx
1. Finding the Holistic view ▪ If you could describe this element or situation in one sentence what would it be? What
would you tell the CEO or ED if they walked in right now?
▪ Can you identify an analogous situation, how does the essence of that situation bear
The ability to cut
▪ Can you break up the situation into pieces, some of which may be more important than
▪ Is there a difference in the relative importance of different elements?
▪ Can you (re)combine the parts to tell an interesting story?
▪ Can you examine the situation one piece at a time?
to reveal the heart
of the matter
Focus ▪ What would you do differently tomorrow / what would you tell the client to do differently?
The ability to discern
▪ Are there any common themes or issues that groups of the elements touch on?
▪ Are some elements particularly different or inconsistent with the others (i.e., outliers)?
▪ Are some elements larger or smaller than others?
▪ Are there differences in the relative size of their impact?
between elements of
▪ Are there some elements that are responsible for producing other elements?
▪ Do some elements come before other elements, either in time or logic?
Links to "rest ▪ Does the collection of elements here resemble elements in other situations?
point of view
The ability to see a
problem and its
aspects from many
▪ Can you consider the situation through the eyes of different parties (internal and external)?
▪ Can you place the situation in a broader context and widen the scope?
▪ What are the underlying assumptions and what happens if you remove them?
▪ Are there key elements of the situation that can be changed (e.g., what if)?
▪ Can you extend it to its extreme cases (e.g., go from macro to micro or vice-versa)?
▪ Are there elements that can be represented in a different way? Can the specific be made
general (or vice-versa)? Are there different ways of phrasing the same question?
▪ Are there alternative frameworks for thinking about the situation that you can use?
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2. Stay ahead/
Stay ahead of
▪ Is the team working on the right issues (have new issues emerged?). Is there an
opportunity to eliminate or refocus?
▪ Is there a hypothesis for the answer? Is the team working to disprove / prove this
▪ Is there a Week 1 answer? How is this changing as the study progresses?
▪ Does this change the assessment of what is most important?
▪ Are you developing a plan now to ensure the team’s solution is impactful? (including
capability building, mindset shifts, etc.)
▪ Are you locking yourself in a room everyday to think hard about the problem? (synthesizing
where you are, what you have learned, to develop a new iteration of the story and the
implications for workplanning). No Blackberry, no mobile phone, no interruptions!
The ability to think
ahead of the
team and simulta-
neously step back
from the problem
▪ Does the top line thinking make sense? Is this reflected in the results of analyses?
▪ Have ambiguous elements been identified and isolated? Has the answer been tested at
each end of the ambiguity spectrum?
▪ What are the key success factors? (e.g. innovative, stretch for organization, creative
insight, meeting budget). How does the solution measure up against these?
▪ Does the solution stand up against: the initial problem definition, good judgment, client
▪ Do the puzzle pieces fit together across multiple workstreams? Is the emphasis right?
▪ Do you as EM truly own the problem? Have you set a high bar e.g.. are you saying “that is
not quite good enough” often enough? Do you know what it takes to move the engagement
▪ Have you done a ‘reality check’ on the team’s thinking from the client’s perspective? Do
you know the potential flaws in the team’s logic and how to address them?
▪ Are you aware of your unique perspective? Have you internalized what that means in
terms of your role as EM?
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