Where to Next: using Option Solving

Some while back I found myself in a room with about 10 CEO members of an industry association board. Have you ever tried working with a room full of CEOs? Well, if you have, you’ll know it’s like trying to herd cats. They all have strong opinions and they would all like their point of view to become the prevailing view.

Having said that, Option Solving came to the rescue because it’s an excellent way of letting everyone make a contribution, but, at the same time, helping them to come some sort of consensus. This particular group was trying to decide “where to go next with their industry association.”

My first challenge was to get them to coalesce around a pertinent question. Fortunately the right initial words came along fairly easily, such as, “What is the best immediate option for our business association to move in the right direction, in light of…” Now we had to determine the considerations associated with this possibility. I allowed them to break into two groups and discuss the possibilities, so they could compare notes. Within half an hour, we were able to add on to the question “…membership is dwindling, our members want more value for money, there are some great business synergy opportunities, and there is big potential in a national consortium.” This sort of question started to get their creative juices flowing.

I then challenged them to come up with two “bookends,” the Ying and Yang extreme options that would further help frame their thinking. What they came up with, based on further sub-group discussion, was Remain as an Industry Association and Shut it down. That really put the cat among the pigeons as far as getting them to think creatively. I then set the same sub-groups to work, to come up with 2-3 realistic but creative options that could potentially take their association to the next level. Some of these you will find in the Latest Example.

After an independent vote on the alternatives, they arrived at a consensus view of how to proceed. This is not so important, as the outcome a year later when membership was rising once more and there were a number of synergies benefitting most of them. More importantly, its chairperson said to me subsequently: “It took you less than a day to get us to this point: if we had tried to do the same ourselves, it would have taken us the best part of a week.” That’s a big gain with Option Solving: its time-effectiveness. Get the book and try it sometime.      

Please refer to the Latest Example to some of the outcome. If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area. 

Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide ‘Best approach to Production Scheduling?’.”  You’re your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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