Stimulating an Executive into Action: by means of Option Solving!

Faced with the recent challenge of stimulating a client executive into action, after a couple of month lull, option solving appeared to be my best “option” for figuring out how to handle the situation. Often there are subtle complexities to such scenarios, where a little misstep can set you back some, even when there’s a good deal of residual good will. Also, executives too often have their hands full from many quarters, so moving your topic up their priority listing is always a significant challenge.

After pulling out a blank sheet of paper, I set to work with option solving. Expressing the first part of the question came relatively easy: “What is my best option for stimulating Jack into action, considering…” But then I had to figure out the key considerations in this situation, which needed a certain amount of additional thought. These eventually turned out to be: “…potential company financial pressures, he’s under considerable time constraints, and he may believe his group’s prior turmoil was now stabilizing.”

By way of background to these considerations: his company had enjoyed robust results (even during the Great Recession) owing to smart positioning, but the company’s profitable status was now deteriorating. Since my client is central to most fiscal matters, changes and adjustments are his key priority. A few months back his group experienced a fair amount of turmoil as a former key player left.

My question and considerations formulated, it was now time to produce “bookends” or more extreme options to frame my current dilemma. These would help stimulate the creative side of my intuitive intelligence to produce in-between options. Two which fairly readily came to mind were: at one end, “Say hello (by phone), listen and offer to talk more another time,” at the other end “Give him an all encompassing proposal.” As the Ying and Yang extreme options, they started my sub-conscious intuitive computer searching its data bank for realistic alternative possibilities.

The search brought up five options of which I will share three. Again, if I reveal all of them, you wouldn’t be able avoid trying to second-guess me. That would be unfair of you because you weren’t in my exact circumstances at the time and it would take too much time to explain all the nuances involved in my final choices.

Anyway, one option was, “Seek a lunch meeting to discuss his options.” Another was, “Focus on a conversation topic; set up another call to discuss more fully.” And yet another was, “Refer to pre-holiday turmoil and how to mitigate this with the sales group.” Once I had fleshed all five out, I then set my sheet aside for ten minutes for some emotional distancing.

Emotional distancing allows time for your intuition to mull over your options (in my particular case, five) and make the sub-conscious trade-offs necessary for making your final optimum choice. After about ten minutes, where I focused on something quite unrelated, my mind was relaxed enough to make a good choice. (NOTE: Our intuition doesn’t work at its best when under pressure.)

Ultimately, I opted for one of the five and obviously pursued it a couple of days later with my client. By feeling that I had made the best choice, I approached the phone meeting with a quiet confidence that it would go favorably. It did.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of another recent potential solution. 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 on ‘Filling some vacant storage space?’” We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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Best option for dealing with a Company Hornet’s Nest: by means of Option Solving!

A short while ago I was discussing with a company executive about his new assignment. It sounded as though he was inheriting a real hornet’s nest because trust had broken down over several months on both sides: the executives had lost confidence in the particular business unit and vice-versa was true with the people in the unit. To make things even more interesting, was the fact that this executive was going to use his assignment to rehabilitate his own leadership reputation in the eyes of his senior executives.

The first obvious question was to look at his options. He was looking at a pretty limited range at that time. So we started to frame an appropriate question to start some out-of-the-box-thinking to flow. After some discussion, his question started out as, “What is my best option to build a positive critical mass within the next 3-6 months, considering…” Critical mass was important, since the unit was still not able to stand on its own two feet.

After some further conversation, he came up with considerations such as, “… current unhelpful poor relations, inadequate facilities, senior executive performance expectations, and the need for better team focus?” These were then tacked onto the end of the earlier question. Of course, every situation has its own considerations, so I wouldn’t encourage you to follow his carte blanche: you’ll have your own.

Once these were packaged together, his next step was to come up with a couple of “bookends” or the ‘Ying and Yang’ option extremes that he was least likely to pursue. Getting these out would help stimulate his creative intuition to come up with reasonable alternatives. He ended up with: “Go and take over: kick butt” at one end and “Go and sell (for the unit): let the chips fall where they may.” Neither were especially viable in the circumstances, but they were still options.

With the question, considerations and “bookends” in place, he was now ready to look at his reasonable options, some of which turned out to include: “Arbitrate between XYZ location team and executives,” “Identify senior level obstacles and then bypass to present issues to top executives,” and “Round table discussion with all interested parties.” I will leave it open as to his optimum solution, as this will be impossible for you to judge: since you are not in his particular circumstances, with his particular range of talents.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of a potential solution. 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 on ‘Stimulating an executive into action?’” We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)