The BIG Question


For more than a decade we have been asking a BIG Question of managers and their teams.

The question has launched thousands of performance conversations – each one providing new data on why so much potential goes unexploited within organizations, business units and teams.   

The BIG Question is at the heart of our story as a leader in performance analytics.

Research Shows:

Performance – Can't talk about it – won't maximize it!

Our research identifies one characteristic of high performers that should come as no surprise:  They think and talk about performance – a lot. 

Yet, in most organizations talking about performance is difficult, even contentious.  The problem is that too many conversations around performance:

– look backwards rather than forwards

– are negative rather than positive.

Changing the performance dialog…

To generate a new positive and forward-looking dialog about performance, start with The BIG Question:

…it's a TEST!

It is called the BIG question, because it goes to the heart of the performance debate. Also because it is a BIG test.

The BIG Question is a test.  If a leader or team cannot engage with BIG Question then they have failed the test!

…it is Psyhological!

On the surface the BIG question seems straight-forward, but dig deeper and a hidden layer of complexity is revealed.

It acts as a performance test – a telling test of both mindset and psychology.   Indeed, the big question goes to the core of some of the hottest topics in psychology at this time*:
(i) Growth Mindset
(ii) Grit
(iii) Psychological safety
(iv) Psychological well-being.

…it Focuses on Potential!

The ‘BIG' question is not just about performance, but the potential of your organization, business unit or team.  What could be more exciting than that?

The BIG question is not just about what is, but what could be.  It is forward-looking and positive – that is essential to generating energy & engagement  in respect of performance.

…it Sets the Agenda!

The BIG Question is a great place to start a management conversation, a project / strategy review or a team meeting.

 It prevents defensiveness and personalities, or politics getting in the way of an open and honest dialog about performance.

Just One Question…

‘If I could ask only one question off a management team, it would have to be the BIG question', said the much-sought-after business mentor.  ‘I would ask it and shut-up…'

‘…I would listen carefully to what is said and what is not said, the tone of voice, the level of energy or emotion on display.  I would observe who talks first and who talks last and who thinks differently to the rest of the team…' he continued.

‘From that one question all would be revealed – the level of energy and ambition to drive the business further, as well as the leadership, health and effectiveness of the management team'.

BIG Question = BIG Surprise!

What to expect when your team answers the BIG question**:


The answers will be lower than you expect, with the likely average for your org./team likely being just 61%.


The answers will be ‘all over the place' – typically 40% will separate the highest & lowest.


If you are the leader, your own answer is likely to be ahead of that for the team by up to 17%.

Just Who Is Right?

When it comes to performance everybody has an opinion. But when opinions vary so widely the question is: Who is actually right and who is wrong?  It takes data analytics to find out.

The diagram shows how answers to the BIG question vary across a team of 50 managers.

Source: Pitstop Analytics

The Real Answer: A Metric

The only way to accurately answer the BIG question is by means of a metric – a percentage that is based on verifiable data gathered extensively.

Called the P2P Metric™ this is the ratio of performance to potential for your organization, business unit, or leader and team. 

The P2P Metric ™is calculated for any organization, business unit or leader and team by Pitstop Analytics™.

Learn about the P2P Metric here..

The answer to the BIG question determines the zone of performance your team is in. 

It also shapes the type of Pitstop Program your organization, business unit or team needs.

Getting the data (via Pitstop Analytics™) to answer the BIG question is the solid foundation on which programs are built.

It's is Our Mission!

As an organization we have a question – the BIG question – rather than a mission statement.  This reflects our passionate belief in potential.

It is the prospect of enabling organizations and teams to exploit an extra 5%, 10% or more of their potential that get us excited and drives us forward.   This is the power of  Pitstop Analytics™ and other solutions

More about the BIG Question

Pitstop Analytics™ answers the BIG question not just at the level of the organization, but for specific business units,  and teams too.

Why isn't your team exploiting more of its potential?  The answer is Performance Losses – those factors that are holding the organization, unit or team back.

The Pitstop Meta-model™ is used to determine how a team can systematically increase the % of its full potential being exploited.

Pitstop Analytics™ is built around the BIG Question and gathers the data required to position your business unit or team in terms of its Zone of Performance.

The BIG question becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – that is because a team’s expectations set the bar for its performance.

It started with the BIG question.  Now, a decade later, Growth Pitstop™ is one of the world's most exciting performance analytics solutions.  Our story here

So Much People Potential…

The diagram shows how one CEO applied the BIG question to his Senior Leadership Team.

With figures ranging from 20% to 80%, some team members are clearly realizing more of their potential than others.

What would this analysis look like for your team?  Contact us to find out.


For more on this Senior Leadership Team's performance potential click here (then go to Page 22)

*References:  (i) Carol Dweck, ‘Growth Mindset: The New Psychology of Success', Ballantine Books, 2007.  (ii) Angela Duckworth, ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’, Vermillion, 2017.  (iii) Amy C. Edmondson, ‘Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy', Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer, 2014.  (iv) Explore the latest research on Psychological Well-being and why it matters in ‘Teams Don’t Work’ by Ray Collis and John O Gorman, ASG Group Press.

**Based on 2018 Pitstop Analytics™ data.

Your Performance Agenda: Where would you like to focus?

Priorities & Projects

Click on any of the above to explore related research & insights.

Your Performance Agenda: Where would you like to focus?

Talent & Team

Click on any of the above to explore related research & insights.