What company chain will give us the most rapid leverage for sales re-alignment and growth: using Option Solving?

Some time back your editor was talking with a marketing person about their company’s fortunes. Sales were very slow and everyone was looking for answers to turn things around. Your editor suggested that he get a team of diverse people together from his company, who could make valuable contributions to a discussion about this issue. The more these participants were representative of different chains (sections of the company), the more likely they would come up with an optimum solution. Your editor then challenged him to have a crack at the issue beforehand using Option Solving, such that he could intelligently lead a group discussion when the moment came.

So, without further ado, he talked through the option solving approach and then set about producing a rational question to challenge his intuitive mind. This question proved to be: “What company chain will give us the most rapid leverage for sales re-alignment and growth: considering 1) some chains are better than others, 2) everything has become rather bureaucratic, 3) need to win senior executive support, and 4) will need a lot of focus, commit-ment and perspiration?” There were other considerations, too, but he was happy to go with the four listed, so that his decision didn’t become too complicated.

Now your editor challenged him to produce two “bookends,” which would function as his yin and yang extreme possibilities. Such bookends would then force his intuitive mind to focus on his company’s most realistic set of options. Without these bookends his fertile intuitive capability would tend to wander over all sorts of red-herrings.

Hence, the bookends he selected were: “Don’t interfere with current chains” and “Completely re-align all chains,” both of which he felt were his company’s least likely options – see our Latest Worked Example.

He was then encouraged to produce at least five realistic options to potentially stretch his choices as much as possible, although, when he comes to such an exercise with his own representative group, he should side with their options first, otherwise they are unlikely to play ball. 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 D – Map-out, re-align and fire-up technical support and service chains.”

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 to sub-consciously ponder his array of options, now they were evident. Your editor encouraged him to set his pictogram aside for a couple hours and focus on something else, while his intuitive mind subconsciously reviewed his possibilities. By doing this, he would directly see the benefits of doing the same with any “brains trust” he put together to weigh this important issue.

When he subsequently returned to his face-down “pictogram,” he turned it face-up, studied it for a few moments refresher, and then made his intuitive choice. Which one would you have chosen? He was now ready to try the same option solving approach with any group that he put together.

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 would be the most valuable approach our Internet marketing organization could take today to increase its performance effectiveness?” 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)


Running effective Board meetings: using Option Solving

On participating in a recent sub-group meeting of an international board, it became clear that board Members had a range of possibilities in running their meetings more effectively. Whatever solution they arrived at, they would have to attain wider member endorsement as well as convince their time-strapped colleagues that any future meetings would be more content and time-effective.

I put together a paper outlining some options I thought may be of interest to this sub-group for them to consider once back at home. Subsequently, I thought it might be helpful to them, as well as other thousands of Board members out there, to view it as an option solving exercise. Option Solving can prove highly useful when solving tough dilemmas because it allows participants to utilize their highly powerful intuitive capabilities. (NOTE: Our natural intuitive abilities are natures gift for making the right calls.)

The first step toward making the right choice is to utilize our rational minds in coming up with the right question. The right question enables the effective challenging of our natural intuitive capabilities to come up with an appropriate choice. The question I chose, for their consideration, was as follows, which you can view in our Latest Example, was: “What will be our best alternative to running our Board more effectively; considering that our Board Members are not comfortable with our current approach, they don’t have the advantage of regular face-to-face meetings to negotiate an optimal approach, there’s a strong desire among Members to find a more effective means, and the Board is small enough to reach a reasonable consensus?” I came up with more than the four considerations given, but these seemed like the most important ones. It is important to show the right considerations to help frame the issue properly.

Once I had this question in place, it was time to develop two bookends (find out more about these from the book). The most likely bookends seemed to be: 1) Pursue a freewheeling meeting approach, as the Yin, and then the Yang at the other end 2) Start from scratch to devise a completely different meeting approach. The idea behind bookends is to choose extreme options that are least likely to be acceptable, so they prompt our minds to come up with the most realistic but creative options.

Once I put these bookends into place, I aimed to produce at least five options; as a way of stretching me to come up with a good range of options. By looking at our latest example, you will see that one option is to: “Pursue competence focused Operations and Strategic meetings”…Option D. Four other considered options are there, as well as an open item for group members to come up with their own additional option(s).

When the group members take a look at this and add any other appropriate options, without debating whether any of them should be there or not – since the option solving technique honors all suggested options, so as to spur new ideas and encourage people to participate – then they should allow time for emotional distancing. Emotional distancing allows them to step away from the pictogram completely and turn to something else. This could be for 10-20 minutes or sleep on it overnight.

Emotional distancing allows the enormous power of the intuitive mind to subconsciously mull over the pictogram, since it prefers interpreting pictures, to relate the given options to all prior similar experiences. When Group participants return to the pictogram, after their emotional distancing break, they will be drawn to one of the options. Group members should then share their choice.

Whichever item gets the most votes should be the choice of the group, unless there are other mitigating factors. They should then draw up an immediate action initiative for that chosen option, while everything is fresh within their thinking, and move forward accordingly. Maybe you have your own choice?

If you have an option solving example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Career decisions, again!” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

Peeling the Onion: President Obama resolving his immediate Syrian dilemma: by means of Option Solving!

In the last blog, we contemplated what option President Obama and his team would pursue to punish Syria for its recent chemical weapons attack. At that time, he was suddenly presented with a fresh option requiring Syria to surrender and sequester all its chemical weapons. With pursuing that option, we gave his team the opportunity to Peel the Onion for determining what might be its best alternative for doing this successfully. As we have already acquainted them with the Option Solving technique, we can use their rational minds to create a question for their intuitive minds to answer. Intuition, based upon the best rationale, becomes the best judge.

Their proposed question was as follows: “What is President Obama’s best option for co-opting the international community to sequester Syria’s chemical weapons, considering the difficulties of implementation and verification, what countries can be trusted to take part, the preference for a political rather than a military solution, and getting the full support of the UN Security Council?” The second half of the question is devoted to the various considerations that the Obama team had to take into account. Although there were more than four, the four given here represent 50% of the most important ones of those listed.

He and his team then came up with two Yin and Yang “bookends” to frame their forthcoming more pertinent options. The reasons for not considering these “outliers” are shown in our Latest Example. Take a look at the two they prod-uced: “No international agreement,” at one end, with, “Ignore the existence of a CW stockpile” at the other. It’s clear why these weren’t considered, but they helped to stimulate six other more plausible options.

You can view Mr. Obama and his team’s six options, between the bookends, one of which was: “Allow the UN to take the lead on the CW sequester program”…option E. They decided to take some emotional distancing time overnight before reconvening by phone the following day to take a consensus decision. From there they put together an action plan to ensure the whole deal would come to pass.

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: “A key executive is forced out of his position: what options does he have?” We’re always interested in your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)