Framing & Better Questions. The Ultimate Guide for Recharting Your Business Path (Step 2)May 7, 2020
Sift, Sort, Find the Diamonds–The Ultimate Guide for Recharting Your Business Path (Step 4)May 19, 2020
Installment 3 in 5-part series on Rediscovering Your Business Model
Are you feeling the wind in your hair as we pick up speed and get into this week’s installment–Creating Images of Possibility?
Did you find your way and find your voice in Installments One and Two? Brilliant! Or maybe, you just got here and somehow missed the past two weeks of wonderful? Good news. Either way, this part will engage and excite you because it’s the missing link that nobody ever put in the textbooks for your business courses.
Part three is the search for options—not answers. This is the superpower and secret sauce, which is found only on the field of contact in each profession. None of your teachers or the authorities wanted you to know or discover this step too soon. This is where mentors are worth their weight in diamonds. This is the magic place in your brain for creativity, imagination, infinite possibilities and genius.
Hop, Skip, Jump into Part 3
For everyone’s benefit, let’s look at the five installments and make sure you are not lost, plus eager to move on. Have you ever stood in front of that large, interactive screen in the airport or shopping mall that shows the red dot “You Are Here” while showing you everything else? So you can go to your next destination?
Let’s make sure you are not lost and fully “here” for this week and the rest of the recharting stages.
First installment was the basics. Assess your situation. Where is “now”? Where is “better”? In order to rechart a path, you have to know where START is. It’s your truth. It’s your launch pad. It’s what you have to know before you spend any money on the vehicle, fuel, luggage, water, etc. for the next 18 months, maybe longer, for what will be your journey through the COVID-19 Pandemic and After Pandemic period of history.
The second installment was about framing and creating big questions. Assignments in each step help you summarize and visualize by getting thoughts onto paper, into a draft where you can come back and work further. You are totally in control of this journey and that’s why you must write, creating that log book of what you were thinking as you traveled. The logbook also leaves that trail of bread crumbs in case you want to get out of the dark forest. When you completed the second assignment, you have your list of concerns, desires and questions to get to What about it? It’s your list of situations, desires, needs and good questions for each.
Your good questions provide clues about the situation or future and point to what we need to explore, research and imagine. That lands you right here, ready to step into part three. Many clients have called this “The Art of the Painfully Obvious” because now you see that you are searching for options—not answers, for your questions.
“Creativity brings good things in the world that otherwise would not exist. It’s a noble act of pushing back darkness and giving hope to despair.” – Jeff Goins
The third installment ignites movement from ideas, desires, goals, all manner of stuff you know and shifts to questions that put some legs on this. Remember this is a journey. We are recharting. In order to travel safely and arrive at your destination before the fuel or water run out, you need legs.
True story. I have the scars and bruises to prove I learned this third stage from masters. It’s exciting and addictive, so you keep coming back to this step. I have worked through this many times for 30 years and got stronger each time. Mostly, I learn this on the front lines of being the facilitator the board and staff brought it to figure out what might be missing to make sure results actually happen and have the commitment of everyone named in the plan. It takes all of the flexibility, creativity, courage and laughter you have. What makes it work so well? I was the only one in the room not afraid of losing my job. Not afraid of looking vulnerable and asking questions. I was more afraid for them, losing something more precious to them than their job.
After this comes the fourth installment—Sift, Sort, Find the Diamonds. In that stage we have scoring systems, criteria and ways to see what will land in each of the new chart. There’s Chart A (the one you probably would end up with without having this Ultimate Guide), Chart B (the one your genius and boldness wanted all along) and Chart OMG (the one you wish you had before a pandemic and crisis unimagined, until now.)
After that comes the fifth installment—Evolve Workable Strategies. Workable strategies begin to emerge in response to compelling questions and to the images of possibility that your questions evoked. At this stage you see what would your situation might look like or be like if the ‘big questions’ were answered? Creating vivid images of possibility differs from pie-in-the-sky visioning, especially if people with a variety of perspectives have participated in stages 3, 4 and 5.
Can Do This Next Part On Your Own Or Add Your Core
Who do you want to invite into your inner circle of imagination and trust?
Who has answers and options for your questions? Who other than you do you feel compelled to add to this recharting? Even if you are a one-person business, there are others who make it run. Who has shown you they know what they are talking about? Who has proven performance and not just opinions or repeating something they just read? Call them on the phone and tell them why you need them to join you for the recharting the business.
When recharting your course, the first two steps work well with just you. If you end up using the five installments in this series as some kind of team effort, we still recommend strongly that the first two steps are assigned to individuals, to complete on their own, before engaging in any sort of conversation or groupthink.
Six or Fewer Form the Core
You can do this third step on your own or invite a core of no more than five others, each with a major and different perspective that defines your enterprise. For example, the CEO and five department heads or function leaders. Typical functions include 1) customer connectors, 2) service/product creators, 3) relationship builders/guardians and 4) physical facilities and equipment providers.
These functions of every business come in the form of hundreds job titles or roles; therefore, pay attention to the function, which is totally about the essentials of every business—customers, service, manufacturing, merchandising. It matters not whether your business is traditional, virtual, gig, side hustle or some other hybrid, the functions are the same. It matters not if you call it profit or non-profit. It matters not if it is remote or in corporate cubicles. Anything less than these functions is not a business; instead, it’s a hobby or form of self enjoyment.
Dig Into This Assignment and Unleash Your Brain
Remember, this is all about options, possibilities, what you can imagine as the best, what you can imagine as the worst, what we need to tee up for next week. Installment four is when you get to select a club and hit the ball.
Here’s How For Now
- Pull up that sheet you completed in Installment Two.It’s time to focus on the questions in the right column.
- Ask yourself, is that the best you can do? Usually, you can rewrite the question to get to a better one.
- Score each question. Go down the page and in the left margin, by each question, put a mark of E, R or B by it. E is for easy to answer. R is for this needs research and perhaps others, such as my team. B is for bold; it’s a gutsy question and you’re not sure who has the answer.
- Rewrite any that are not relevant to your issues or desires. At this point you spot questions where you wandered off track. It just feels wasteful or not useful, even if you had an answer. Before deleting it, try rewriting it first because your mind had a good reason to offer it up.
- Think way outside the box and find another point of view to further spur your imagination. Here’s how it works. Find just one article or white paper that you would not normally associate with your business thinking. Then complete this exercise by going down the right margin and writing single word or number that corresponds to the article that caused you to think differently.
- Two examples: Read this article by Harvard Business School “How the Coronavirus Is Already Rewriting the Future of Business.” It features 11 likely changes by 11 business leaders. For each of your questions, put a corresponding number (1-11) beside it to help you “connect the dots” between your issues, questions and points of view that seem to have a lot to do with what others see as possibilities for recharting for you enterprise.
- Here’s another example. Read this article by McKinsey & Company, The future is not what it used to be: Thoughts on the shape of the next normal. Then go down the page again and in the right margin, by each question, put a 1,2,3,4,5,6 or 7 to correspond to the seven elements for business leaders to consider as they plan for the next normal.