Strategic planning and decision-making is tough but when personalities, politics and biases are involved it becomes even more complicated. It takes courage to confront conventional thinking. Someone has to ask those uncomfortable questions that people think about… but never have the guts to raise. Sometimes there is a strong temptation to be quiet, don’t challenge the process and just get it over with.
Okay, I’m going to ask the tough questions. As my grandmother said, “The only way to change is to do things differently.” If you want to stimulate some real, measurable, relevant change then be bold, step up, man up and ask. Every process needs to be challenged from time to time. Start kicking the scared cows with questions like these.
15 Rude Questions You Must Answer
- Why are we doing this? Do we have compelling reasons?
- If we were starting all over would we do things this way?
- If there were no company politics, rivalries or biases involved how would this project or decision change?
- Who are the people who are conceiving, driving and doing the work and who are just watching?
- Why do we need the people who are just watching?
- What are three big things we can do with our customers that would have the greatest positive impact on their business and ours?
- Are our products and services really different and do they offer real, measurable value?
- Whose solution are they using while they are waiting on our solution?
- Are we easy to do business with and are we easy to buy?
- Is our Unique Value Proposition actually unique and valuable?
- What is our company doing to steal business from our competition?
- Is our department developing strategies to grow the business or just to protect our budget?
- Is our marketing attracting the business we want or just the business that wants us?
- Are the customers/clients we have today the ones we want and need 3-5 years from now?
- How do we change our business model to get the customers/clients we want and need?
Why you have to ask
No one sets out to make a bad decision. Actually, every bad decision begins as someone’s attempt at a good decision. Most of the problems stem from not having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how to make it happen. So the great corporate tap dance begins, the process gets longer and longer until all the best options fade away. Remember, the last available option is never the best decision.
Every change begins with questions and answers. If you never ask the tough questions – nothing positive happens. So have courage, ask, challenge and grow the business in 2010.