My Latest Experience with Option Solving

A colleague called the other day to discuss his challenges with a strong willed client. Despite work with her board 5 – 6 weeks ago to take more of a macro view, practical circumstances were causing her to focus on highly tactical issues.

My colleague was looking for my opinion but instead we chose to focus our discussion on his options. We quickly established the question, “What is his best option in light of his client’s dramatic shift toward tactical issues, even though fundraising is a key near term factor?”

Almost as quickly we staked out the most unlikely options as bookends: at one end – Let things take their own course; or at the other end – Really take the bull by the horns (see how this is done in the book).

Then we started to consider more viable options. These included, A) direct approach to team leaders for steering the organization forward, B) a joint meeting with the client to encourage her to see the pitfalls of her approach, C) meet with one of her close confidantes to encourage a different approach, D) attend a board meeting and encourage members to consider both short-term and longer-term needs, E) attend the upcoming golf fundraiser to build relationships with key Board Members to help them forward.

Once we clarified these options, my colleague had the opportunity to decide for himself which way to go. We won’t bother with his choice at this time. But the key outcome was the possibility for him to arrive at the best conclusion himself, rather than draw upon someone else’s opinion – as could have happened at the outset.

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