What is our optimum option for expanding our market presence: using Option Solving?

At a fairly recent client retreat the participants agreed that one of their company’s key priorities should be to expand its market presence. A pair of participants agreed to put some thought into this and come up with an optimum strategy to pursue the issue. After the fact, your editor started to give his own thoughts to this issue as a segue into sharing them with this pair when the occasion arose. He naturally decided to take an option solving approach.

Your editor subsequently came up with the following question: “What is the optimum way to expand our market presence; considering 1) we have excellent standing within our marketplace, 2) we are always eager to grow our business, 3) we have great products and people, and 4) we have a strong and ambitious leadership team?” By pursuing these top four considerations, despite several others, it will reduce undue decision-making issues in drawing any final conclusions.

Once he had put this question into place, where he then created two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, he felt it would help focus his client’s intuitive, decision-making mind on their most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware of how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

These two bookends turned out to be: “Keep going as we are” and “Request major marketing investment from parent company”: both of which were his client’s least likely options for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge the client to consider and produce their most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

He then set about, on his client’s behalf, producing at least five reasonable options, so as to stretch their range of possibilities as much as possible. He left it open for the client to produce a sixth option (F), at some point after the retreat, to give them an opportunity to make an additional suggestion(s). Such an activity would help it build “buy-in” and commitment. Your editors favored option, off the bat, was: “Option- A: Conduct comprehensive review of current marketing materials and upgrade where necessary?”

With this “pictogram” now in place, the client could then set some time aside for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Whatever that choice, they could then decide whether to “Peel the Onion,” in order to expand the number of sub-insights on how to move forward, or create an immediate action initiative while everything was still fresh in their mind.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is my optimum possibility to make contact with an elusive expert resource?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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Welcome to Option Solving (for dealing with your Decision Dilemmas) -also see latest examples below;and many more.

 See above, “What is our optimum option for expanding our market presence?”  At our next blog in two weeks, we will deal with: “What is my optimum possibility to make contact with an elusive expert resource?”  Also, go to http://www.youtube.com and type in Option Solving and go for the 1 min 48 sec version: this will refer you to OSOLing (Option Solving On-line: a virtual way to deal with your Dilemmas)READ ABOUT THE INTERESTING, WIDE-RANGING APPLICATIONS BELOW: including the latest blog. Go to SUBSCRIBE email-to your left, if you want regular notification of blog updates.

Read the book, Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options. And visit the author’s main website at www.ileadershipsolutions.com

Peter Arthur-Smith, Originator of Option Solving

Peter Arthur-Smith, Originator of Option Solving

Daniel H. Pink, author of business best seller “A Whole New Mind”, with new book “Drive” says, “Peter Arthur-Smith has produced a savvy and practical book that will change how you approach the challenges in your business. By showing you the limits of ‘problem-solving’ and the power of whole-minded thinking. SMART DECISIONS will expand your strategies and widen your possibilities.”

What is our optimum possibility for bringing fresh talent up to full-speed?

A recent client discussion revealed one of her ongoing challenges, based upon her inclination to recruit inexperienced talent into her group and then orient and develop them into productive team members. She’s had a fair amount of success in doing that so far. However, she’s also had the experience of these young recruits joining with a decent education and expecting to progress as quickly as possible. Not only is this unrealistic, since there’s a lot to learn, but it also impacts morale within her team, if people are leaving to grab higher positions and income…even if they realistically don’t warrant it.

Your editor felt it was appropriate for the client to reconsider her hiring approach so as to give hirees a more realistic career view, at the time of hiring, which would put their aspirations into perspective. So we came up with the following question: “What is our optimum possibility for bringing fresh talent up to full-speed; considering 1) we don’t fully understand their potential at the outset, 2) we only wish to invest in them if they’re likely to stay, 3) we have to manage their career impatience, and 4) we need to develop a steady pipeline of talent within our growing company?” By sticking with these top four considerations, despite several others, it will reduce undue complications in any final conclusion.

After putting this question into place, we then created two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, since they would help focus the client’s intuitive, decision-making mind on his most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware of how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

These two bookends turned out to be: “Let them find their own way” and “Send them on 2 year MBA course”: both of which were the client’s least likely options for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge the client to consider and produce their most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

This positioned the client to come-up with at least five reasonable options, so as to stretch her range of possibilities as much as possible. They left it open for the client to produce a sixth option (F), after the initial session, so as to give her an opportunity to make an additional suggestion(s). Such an activity would help build her “buy-in” and commitment. Your editors favored option, off the bat, was: “Option- D: Create role staircase for them – new recruits – to scale, learn from, and gain practical experience?”

With this “pictogram” now in place, the client could then set some time aside for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Whatever that choice, she could then decide whether to further “Peel the Onion,” in order to give them additional sub-insights on how to move forward, or create an immediate action initiative while everything was still fresh in her mind.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is our optimum option for expanding our market presence?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

What is our best option to optimize our Receivables, without switching our company from an ‘outside-in’ to an ‘inside-out’ mode: using Option Solving?

Something probably every growing organization experiences at some point is a crunch moment in their cash flow and receivables. Now they have to figure out how they will deal with this crunch and try and prevent it from happening again. Fortunately their forecast in revenues is strong owing to their growth picture; it’s just a question of getting it onto the balance sheet. It means a lot of belt-tightening, good bank relations, and some clever cash management during the meantime. Your editor was witness to a recent client situation.

Before jumping into any advice, your writer decided to go through the option solving exercise to see if any new bright ideas would emerge. He posed the following question: “What is our best option for optimizing Receivables w/o switching company culture from an ‘outside-in’ to  an ‘inside-out’ mode ; considering 1) our inadequate Receivables are inhibiting expansion efforts, 2) we don’t have an adequate Receivables strategy, 3) there is insufficient Receivable awareness within our company, and 4) we are excited about our growth prospects?” He restricted himself to these top four considerations, despite several others, so as not to further complicate any final conclusion.

Having now put this question in place, he then created two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, since they would help focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his client’s most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

These turned out to be: “Do our best without overly bothering our clients” and “Provide a lot of incentives to improve”: both of which were his least likely options for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge his client to consider and produce their most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

Now he had the challenge of creating at least five reasonable options, so as to stretch his range of possibilities as much as possible. Since he intended to share this with his client, he left a sixth option (F) open so as to give them an opportunity to make their own suggestion(s). Such an activity would help build their “buy-in” and commitment. His favored option, off the bat, was: “Option- C: 3 month emergency Receivable program – w/positive reinforcement… then?”

With this “pictogram” now in place, he would now be able to share it with his client and get their participation and buy-in. Then they could set some time aside for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Whatever that choice, they could then decide to further “Peel the Onion,” in order to give them additional sub-insights on how to move forward, or create an immediate action initiative while everything was still fresh in their minds.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is our best option for bringing fresh talent up to speed?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

Peeling the Onion: What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team: Option B – Contact each Region Leader (RL) to determine what is best prospect for Pilot Effort: using Option Solving?

From our example two weeks ago, the client decided he would go for option B as indicated above, through the Peeling the Onion approach.  This would require him to enlist the voluntary support of one of his Regional Leaders (RLs) to take a pilot approach.

His natural, lead-in question, to figure out his best sub-option, came through as follows: “Option B – Contact each RL to determine which is best prospect for Pilot Effort; considering 1) need to outline Pilot effort, 2) will need good existing rapport with RLs, 3) will need full support of VP Operations, and 4) will need to prepare RLs for ‘if not chosen’?” He restricted himself to these top four considerations, despite several others, so as not to further complicate his final decision.

With this question now ready, he then produced two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, since they would help focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

These turned out to be: “Just pick RL and then go-for-it” and “Offer big financial carrot to lucky RL volunteer”: both of which were his least likely sub-possibilities for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge him to consider and produce his most realistic sub-options – see our Latest Worked Example.

He was then challenged to produce at least five realistic sub-options, so as to stretch his range of sub-possibilities as much as possible. Since he intended to share this with his President, he left a sixth sub-option open so as to give her an opportunity to make a suggestion. Such an activity would help build her “buy-in” and commitment. His favored option, off the bat, was: “Option- BB: Put together creative presentation for all RLs –let them nominate volunteer region.”

With this “sub-pictogram” now in place, he would be able to review it with his President and get her participation and buy-in. Then they could set some time aside for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Whatever that choice, they could then decide to further “Peel the Onion,” in order to give them additional sub-sub-insights on how to move forward.

Alternatively, he could decide to put together an optimum action initiative based upon his initial option choice and now his sub-option choice. What option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is our best option choice to optimize Receivables, without switching our company from an ‘outside-in’ to an ‘inside-out mode?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team: using Option Solving?

At a recent client meeting, we were reviewing his strategy toward meeting his team’s sales objectives for the year.  Apart from building and motivating his own sales and marketing teams, he realized he had to tap into an internal, built in salesforce of regional leaders and customer advocates. He was then left to figure out his best option for doing that.

As he was familiar with the option solving format, we immediately started discussing the rationale for doing this, as well as thinking about the possibilities available. His natural, lead-in question came out as follows: “What is my optimum approach to win-over Regional Leaders and Customer Advocates as my internal-extended sales team; considering 1) cannot afford additional F/T salespeople at this time, 2) RLs and CAs have lots of client contact, 3) challenges in making referrals a priority, and 4) our company has a great market reputation?” He restricted himself to his top four considerations, even though there were several others, so as not to further complicate his final resolution.

With his question ready, he then set to work on two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, as they would help focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

He then created bookends which turned out to be: “Send out regular notes requesting their assist” and “Good will party every month to catch RL & CA attention”: both of which were his least likely possibilities for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge him to consider and produce his most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

We then challenged him to produce at least five realistic options, so as to stretch his range of possibilities as much as possible.  Feel free to review what turned out to be his six proposed options in our Latest Example, one of which was: “Option- F: Get CEO to meet with self and Regional Leaders to negotiate an optimum approach.”

With his “pictogram” now in place, he would be able to review, adjust or add to it over next few hours, while things were still fresh. He would then set aside some time for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Even after that choice, he could then decide to proceed with “Peeling the Onion,” in order to give him additional insights on how to move forward.

In fact, the latter was what he decided to do, so we will review that part of this exercise in a couple of weeks. What option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “Peeling the Onion: What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

What is my optimum way for dealing with a colleague bad apple: using Option Solving?

It was a particularly painful conversation to listen to a friend talking about a work colleague who was constantly seeming to sabotage his team’s efforts. He was considerably emotional and annoyed at this person’s behavior. Your writer then suggested that he use the option solving format to draw upon an objective and optimum approach.

Since he was familiar with the format, he immediately set his rational faculties to work for drawing-up an appropriate question, to set his considerable innate abilities to work. His question turned out as follows: “What’s my best option for dealing with a colleague bad apple; considering 1) person has established themselves as indispensable, 2) (s)he has manager’s support, 3) (s)he keeps being disruptive with my group, and 4) my own people impatience doesn’t help?” He restricted himself to his top four considerations, even though there were several others, so as not to further complicate his final conclusion.

Now that his question was ready, he then set to work on two yin and yang “bookends” as extreme possibilities, so they would further focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

Bookends for this step turned out to be: “Let sleeping dogs lie” and “Just leave and go work somewhere else”: both of which were his least likely possibilities for the reasons given. But at least they would nudge him to consider and produce his most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

He was then challenged to produce at least five realistic options, so as to stretch his range of possibilities as much as possible. In fact, we left open a sixth option, too, for him to mull over, in case he revealed another option within the next couple of hours. Feel free to review his five-six proposed options in our Latest Example, one of which was: “Option- B: Set-up meeting with our mutual boss to hear both sides.”

With his new, provisional “pictogram” now in place, he would be able to review, adjust or add to it over next few hours, while things were still fresh. He would then be persuaded to set aside some time for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning.

Emotional distancing would allow his intuitive mind to sub-consciously ponder his five-six options and draw upon his many diverse experiences and choices; thereby arriving at an optimal decision. What option would you have chosen?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What is my best approach for developing an internal-extended sales team?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)