Beginning of the year Planning Questions:
Does your firm set target “numbers”: budgets and financial, in the form of “stretch” goals?
- If so, what will you do differently to fill the stretch gap? And, any specifics for digital transformation necessities?
- Will your “strategy changes” threaten the status quo? Or,
- Will they fine-tune what you know and have been doing?
- Will debates be only about choosing and prioritizing the type of lipstick or dresses to put on the same old activity bundle?
- Has this process achieved stretch goals in each of the past five years?
What About Catalytic Questions?
Definition: open-ended questions that reframe the business and its purpose at a higher-level or in a different way. The questions should be compelling; not have ready answers; and be unnerving. How to then handle them?
- Don’t reject the questions for being too scary (or ego threatening); befriend them.
- Relax into unknowing.
- Reword them to make them even more powerful.
- Brainstorm on related bigger and smaller questions.
- Name, accept and reduce the fears that the questions spark; just live with and into them.
- Do some research. Visit with experts and your most net-profitable, best-growing customers.
- Have faith that: the best answers for your company will eventually emerge along with baby-step experiments that you can try bravely.
- What are the under-served needs of your most net-profitable customers (or customer segments)?
- What kind of cost-to-serve model do you need to have maximum “customer net-profitability” insights? (Answer here.)
- What will you do to fix unprofitable (small-order average) customers?
- 3PL companies do the same activities that distributors do. Why don’t you create a 3PL division that provides customized, solutions for key suppliers and customers?
- The pandemic has accelerated digital ecommerce trends: what do your best customers’ buyers want for hybrid, e-selling models? Who will survey best customers to find the answers?
- How many of your reps will fit into new, hybrid, digital-selling models that millennial B2B buyers want?
- Why not go “open book” to give all employees lots more feedback information for scoring what you seek to do? Why not give them a profit-improvement, gain-sharing opportunity?