(The 3 Questions used in this discourse are adapted from Tony Robbins interview to Inc.com).
To ensure consistent growth in alignment with company vision and increased benefits to all stakeholders in the value chain, revolutionary thought leader, Tony Robbins, shared some of these insightful questions: What business are we really in?, What business do we need to be in? Who’s missing?.
Every week, do a meeting on the business: Ask:
° “What business are we really in?”
[My Thoughts]: Simple as this question seems, its strength is in the fundamental. Try asking your employees this question and see how many of them can give you an accurate pinpoint answer without prevarication. There can be only one or range of answers to this question because it is at the core of your service purpose to the market you serve. It is not just based on what your employees think; it is what it is and only that suffices.
° “What business do we need to be in?”
[My Thoughts]: This is in the light of expansion or diversification or perhaps what you are supposed to be doing based on your business model but which you are not doing. The idea here is to elicit creative responses and engage your people in a thought provoking discourse that would spark growth. The Blue Hat thinking is expected to take charge at such brainstorming sessions.
° “Who’s missing?”
[My Thoughts]: Idea behind this question is that given that employees understand the first two previous questions adequately, there’s the need to know what talent is required to take on the next growth initiative. Do we need to hire? Do we need to move, change or trade places and then train having identified what the pressing need is?
Every business has a life cycle and this is found in the business plan. Are we constantly checking the business plan to ensure detailed implementation or need we have a shift in the plan based on the realities on ground? There’s a difference between a plan and its implementation; and unless we keep checking both up during regular review meetings, we may lose focus on the journey to vision actualization.
According to Tony Robbins “I don’t give a shit how successful your business is, you’ve got to know where you are in the life cycle of it; and where your industry is in the life cycle; and where the economy is in the life cycle.”
Every business has stages and every stage has its peculiarities. It’s impossible to achieve and sustain enduring growth without challenges and the acceptance of them. Business challenges are the very impetus that drives success. Without them organizations stay inert while thinking they are stable.
Business vision is a journey and you are constantly travelling and evolving to attain vision. This is the reason some organizations are built to last and others are not.
In Tony’s words: “What it tells you is that in every stage, there are predictable problems, and if I could tell you where the land mines are in advance, and you can know where they are, you can go through this thing with the least amount of danger possible, and you can get through it the fastest, because you know where to go.”
It settles the question of risks. Taking calculated risks is based on the information at your disposal and this is what distinguishes thriving businesses from the ailing ones. Knowledge is at the root of this because venturing is only the result of the information at your disposal.
An essential tool to carry along and to have handy in all of these is the thinking tool; and no other one suits better than Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. At strategy and brainstorming sessions aimed at always positioning the firm through sundry x-rays, each hat is used depending on what you seek to know or what specific problem that needs solving.
The Red Hat represents the feelings and intuitions; no reasons or justifications are given at this point of the session. The White Hat deals with information and data; where you seek neutral and objective information, including the missing ones and where to source it from. The Yellow Hat means logical positive, where you seek values and benefits, known and potential that an initiative holds; the reasons must be logical [reasonable] enough. The Black Hat is logical negative, where the entire team comes up with logically negative reasons why an idea or initiative may not work; it x-rays cautions, dangers, problems, and faults. The Green Hat is the creative thinking point where the imagination is put to use by all to generate alternative ideas to overcome Black Hat reasoning. The Blue Hat is the facilitator of the session; it manages the thinking, sets the focus, makes summaries and overviews and takes decisions based on all information presented.
Where teams operate at this frequency and tempo, problems and challenges that businesses face are always put in the face of solutions. The idea is that there is no problem without a solution and the mill of the business must keep running to attain agility and truly become a company that is built to last through daily attainment of vision.