Ask the right questions to get the right answers

Market Perspective IN this column I continue with a series of articles identifying how to explore different perspectives driving success related to something (the situation) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the perspective of the market. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or improve things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of the market. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions – just those that res-onate with you and your situation. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. 1. How is this situation affected by the state of the local and global market? And vice versa? 2. What opportunities might be presenting globally? What local opportunities may be presenting because of shifts created by globalisation? 3. What threats might be presenting globally? What local threats may be presenting because of shifts created by globalisation? 4. How could we incorporate changes in the local and global market into this situation? 5. How does this situation affect our brand strategy and vice versa? What co-ordination is required in relation to our marketing messages? How does our brand strategy affect decision-making in this situation? What do we need to do to ensure support and cross-collaboration for our brand strategy? How does this situation affect the integration of our services? How can we present the very best image to our customers? How are we aligning our key activities to help us win in the market place? How do we position the best attributes of our brand to the best advantage? How do we ensure alignment across business units? How do we ensure that core elements of the business deliver what our brand promises? 6. What is our market-based and customer-focused strategy? How well are we applying segmentation and ‘know the customer’ method-ologies in our focus? 7. How could our focus affect our market share in our core markets? What opportunities present to get a stronger integration of our brand and customer touch points? 8. How could our focus affect the goods / services we provide to our groups of customers? 9. How could our focus affect the goods / services and customer groups that we should focus on in the future? 10. How does our focus connect with our basis for growth? For each customer group, will growth be less, stay the same or become more? For each of our core services, will we provide less, the same or more of each service? 11. How does this situation affect how we target market segments? Are our market segments expanding, contracting or static? How have we factored that into this situation? 12. In relation to this situation, how attractive is each market segment? 13. How could we incorporate the perspectives of experts who can raise persp-ectives and possibilities unknown to us? For example: new marketing concepts, new technologies, different materials, changing consumer trends, environmental considerations, political changes, new competitors, new alternatives to our products and services, changes to costs of parts and raw materials, etc. 14. How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? 15. How might our current ways of thinking about market perspectives be limiting our effectiveness or future success? 16. What ways of thinking about market perspectives might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, prob-lem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant / facilitator since 1979 in Australia and over-seas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organ-isations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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