What is major company’s best option to quickly Realign with Customer Expectations: using Option Solving?

A fairly recent chat with a regular acquaintance revealed that he was most concerned about the future of the major corporation where he worked. He was in a key marketing position, so was well aware of its market positioning and current market trends for its products. He was pondering what, if anything, could be done to turn his company’s fortunes around.  Since the company leadership was dominated by financial people, it tended to look at everything through a fiscal prism rather than at is overall marketing approach.

Your editor’s natural reaction was to introduce him to the option solving approach, since it would provide a good degree of clarity on the possible range of leadership options open to his company: if its executives were open to listen. Based upon this scenario, we quickly got started on framing an appropriate rational question: which turned out to be: “What is our best alternative for re-aligning more with customers so they will buy more from us: considering 1) our organization has become highly inward looking, 2) budgets-resources are extremely tight, 3) our customers are buying from other sources, and 4) we need to rapidly reverse the tide?” There were several other considerations, but he chose to stick with the four listed so that his decision approach didn’t become overly complex.

He was then encouraged to produce two “bookends” to function as his yin and yang extreme possibilities. Such bookends would focus his intuitive mind on his company’s most realistic set of options. So, the bookends he selected were: “Just stay as we are” and “Seek outside infusion of capital,” both of which he felt were its least likely options. Because our intuitive minds can so easily be distracted, bookends help keep them focused and on track – see our Latest Worked Example.

Your editor then encouraged him to produce at least five realistic options to potentially stretch his executives’ creativity as much as possible. You will notice he came up with six.  Look at our Latest Example and you can view his six options, one of those proposed was: “Option B – Bring in outside consultants to develop an objective turn-around strategy .”

With his “pictogram” now in place, indicating his range of six options, it was now time for him to engage in some emotional distancing. Emotional distancing would allow his intuitive mind, and those on the executive team, to sub-consciously ponder their array of options, now they were all in place, while he/they purposely went about doing other important things for the next couple of hours. It will also enable him/them to be more objective when he/they returned to this pictogram to make his/their optimum choice.

When he returned to his face-down “pictogram” sometime later, he would turn it face-up, study it for a few moments refresher, and then make his intuitive choice. Once he made that choice, it was important for him to stick with it: when he shared his option solving approach with those executives who were open to listen.

They would then get their opportunity to consider and perhaps introduce additional options as they saw them. He would give them some emotional distancing time and create a decision moment for them to reach a consensus choice. Once done, they would then put together an associated action initiative, while it was still fresh in their minds. Which option would you have chosen, if you were in his/their shoes?

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting will be in two week’s time: “What chain will give us the most rapid leverage for sales re-alignment?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger. Also consider buying the book: “Smart Decisions: Goodbye Problems, Hello Options” through amazon.com)

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