What is our best option to optimize our Receivables, without switching our company from an ‘outside-in’ to an ‘inside-out’ mode: using Option Solving?

Something probably every growing organization experiences at some point is a crunch moment in their cash flow and receivables. Now they have to figure out how they will deal with this crunch and try and prevent it from happening again. Fortunately their forecast in revenues is strong owing to their growth picture; it’s just a question of getting it onto the balance sheet. It means a lot of belt-tightening, good bank relations, and some clever cash management during the meantime. Your editor was witness to a recent client situation.

Before jumping into any advice, your writer decided to go through the option solving exercise to see if any new bright ideas would emerge. He posed the following question: “What is our best option for optimizing Receivables w/o switching company culture from an ‘outside-in’ to  an ‘inside-out’ mode ; considering 1) our inadequate Receivables are inhibiting expansion efforts, 2) we don’t have an adequate Receivables strategy, 3) there is insufficient Receivable awareness within our company, and 4) we are excited about our growth prospects?” He restricted himself to these top four considerations, despite several others, so as not to further complicate any final conclusion.

Having now put this question in place, he then created two yin and yang “bookends” as outlier possibilities, since they would help focus his intuitive, decision-making mind on his client’s most realistic options. Bookends such as these are vital for preventing people’s fertile intuitive minds from wandering and losing focus. We are mostly unaware at how powerfully valuable but foot-loose our intuition can be unless effectively focused.   

These turned out to be: “Do our best without overly bothering our clients” and “Provide a lot of incentives to improve”: both of which were his least likely options for the reasons given. Even so, these bookends would challenge his client to consider and produce their most realistic options – see our Latest Worked Example.

Now he had the challenge of creating at least five reasonable options, so as to stretch his range of possibilities as much as possible. Since he intended to share this with his client, he left a sixth option (F) open so as to give them an opportunity to make their own suggestion(s). Such an activity would help build their “buy-in” and commitment. His favored option, off the bat, was: “Option- C: 3 month emergency Receivable program – w/positive reinforcement… then?”

With this “pictogram” now in place, he would now be able to share it with his client and get their participation and buy-in. Then they could set some time aside for emotional distancing – a form of objective thinking – before making any choice…perhaps after 2 hours, later that day, or first thing the following morning. Whatever that choice, they could then decide to further “Peel the Onion,” in order to give them additional sub-insights on how to move forward, or create an immediate action initiative while everything was still fresh in their minds.

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 is our best option for bringing fresh talent up to speed?” 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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