A CEOs dilemma to convince the owners of his approach or quit: using Option Solving?

About a month ago two European visitors joined me in New York because they were interested in learning more about option solving. As part of their discovery exercise, I encouraged them to bring a real live issue with them for use as a practical example. So we will now use their “name modified” practical example as the next case for you to look at.

At the right moment, they put forward the issue: A client of theirs was faced with going along with “another country’s owners’ organizational requirements or quit?” Apparently, their client was a well known leader who commanded a lot of respect due to his apparent success, but was now faced with doing the owners’ bidding or feeling that he would have to quit to maintain his reputation. This was because “the other country” is not known for deferring to local country traditions owing to its rather xenophobic view of its own success.

In any event, we established an option solving question for this CEO, which went something like this: “What is my best option for handling the other country owners in how this company is led, considering that…” We then went on to add three primary considerations: “they might fire me, the subsidiary could be destroyed, and it could destroy my spirit.”

Having arrived at this point, it opened the way to produce two yin and yang “bookends,” which are depicted as “Professional suicide” and “Total turncoat.” You will see we took the step of indicating clear draw backs to both for this CEO and therefore why it is highly unlikely he would choose either. The advantage of this step, however, was that it would challenge my guests’ minds to come up with more plausible options.

 By going to the Latest Example, you will see they came up with seven different options, two of which were: “Present the company story to the Board, plus the business case to leave things as they are” and “Demote self to a prior position.” You will see their other five options in our Latest Example. We then took some time away from this picture for emotional distancing, which created a lively conversation about some of the theory behind option solving. After about ten minutes, they came back to the option solving picture, quickly absorbed it again and then made a choice on behalf of their CEO client.

Once this was made, they were now given the option to either Peel the Onion of this choice or discuss Next Steps. They opted for the latter and mapped out those potential steps. This is important to do, while the choice is hot in their minds, because it gives them the best chance of figuring out the most appropriate steps while their mind is primed.

My guests left satisfied because they had explored all the speculated options and felt they had made the right choice on the CEO’s behalf. They would now pursue matters with him when they returned home.

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: “Figuring out how to attract more participants to a meeting.”  Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)



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