When did you last stop and think about these six simple questions?


Over the last few months these questions have come to mind, time and again, in conversation with clients and connections. Thinking about these questions gives structure to reviews and planning and perhaps more importantly gives cause to pause and think.

In conversation with someone this week it was clear that to move forward the person really needed to sit with a large sheet of blank paper and think through the six questions otherwise things were going to get very confused. And if it’s confused for them you can imagine what it will be like for any clients.

On the face of it simple questions but in reality very profound questions and if we can’t answer them then we really don’t have enough clarity and understanding about our business, our role or ourselves.

So grab a cuppa, some pens and paper and go for it…

  • Where are we now?
    • What’s the state of the business?
    • What’s happening to cash flow?
    • How healthy is the business in every way?
  • How did we get here?
    • Background, structure, development, growth of people, products and services
    • Skills, knowledge, experience
    • Visions and values
  • Where are we going?
    • Aspiration, achievements and goals
    • Structure and strategy
    • Why do we want to get there?
  • What is this going to give us?
    • What will it achieve?
    • How will we know we’ve achieved it?
    • And what else will it give us?
  • What’s stopping us?
    • Time, resources, buy-in and understanding?
    • Risk?
    • What’s the cost of not doing anything?
  • What are we going to do about it – i.e. how are we going to remove the barriers and blockages?
Using these questions, in this order, elicits a lot of information, and gets right to the heart of the situation, the plans, the gaps, the wants and needs. Thank you to Peter Thomson for introducing me to these questions several years ago.

The question is do you want it badly enough? And what are you going to do about it? Remember like the elephant you can start with just one bite at a time and that as Raymond Lindquist says, “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar”.

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