Peeling the Onion – Do we allow ourselves to become a dealer for an overseas supplier: using Option Solving?

Last time, we talked about working with a group of business leaders, who were helping one of its members resolve the issue of whether or not his company should become a dealer for an overseas supplier. Having gone through the option solving exercise, they came up with six plausible options. After some emotional distancing time the group made its selection: in fact it was option C – “Evaluate Product and Plant.” Once they did so, they opted for a Peeling the Onion exercise rather than figure out Next Steps.

After a reasonable break, they produced another comprehensive question with considerations, which looked like this: What is our  optimal approach to evaluate an overseas supplier’s product and plant, considering the supplier’s  sensitivity to such action, making it a productive exercise, and the possibility of jeopardizing the deal?” The considerations were three of the most important out of five possible.

Working in two sub-groups of four once again, to maximize participation and create some comparative thinking,  they now set about producing two yin and yang “bookends;” so as to form another option framework. The two they agreed upon were, Take a chance on product and plant” – see our latestexample. The other was, Request full product and service guarantees for 6 mths.” Review of the latest example shows why both were out of the question.

These fresh bookends quickly provoked each sub-group to start discussing more plausible alternatives. Our latest example shows  that they came up with five options: one of which was, Request to visit with their other overseas dealers; wherever” – Option B. Again, they were challenged to produce at least five options, so as to stretch their thinking as much as possible.

Once their option solving picture was in place, they moved into some emotional distancing  time to allow their intuitive minds to subconsciously work through their complete range of options. This included shutting the picture away from view and discussing other topics.

Ten minutes later, the projector shutter was opened to reveal the option solving picture  and allow the group to quickly review it and make its collective choice through an individual, confidential vote.

By peeling the onion they took their colleagues dilemma one more step and figured out how to maximize their initial collective decision: “Evaluate the suppliers Product and Plant.” At this point they immediately figured out the Next Steps their colleague should consider.

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: “Best way for a senior team to communicate to meet its commitments?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to to connect with the blogger.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: