Ask the right questions to get the right answers-Daniel Kehoe

Futuristic Perspective In this column, I continue with a series of articles which identify how to explore different perspectives driving success related to something (the situation, your focus) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the futuristic perspective. 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 futuristic. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions – just those that resonate with you and your situation or focus. 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. What are the potentially best case and potentially worst case scenarios in this situation? Local and global? What are the key things about this situation that could come under most threat? What are the possible future trends that could impact on our situation? What new opportunities are possible in the future? What things could happen in the future that if we miss out we will be seriously disadvantaged? What is the worst thing that could happen in our market segment? What is the worst thing that could happen to our customer base? How could we anticipate the conditions that could cause these to happen? How well are we assessing the probabilities? What are the less than obvious threats that we may not even have considered? What things are we relying on that may be subject to change or reduction or loss? For us to be successful in this situation, what things must remain constant or have acceptable variations in the future? What are our assumptions and how valid are our assumptions about the constancy of things important to our focus? What things are essential to the success of our focus? How are we stepping outside our own perspectives to incorporate the perspectives of other experts who can raise perspectives 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. How effectively are we considering the likelihood and impact of best case/worst case scenarios? How effectively are we planning to deal with best case/worst case scenarios? What are our contingency plans? What actions can we take to mitigate the impact of identifiable factors that are beyond our control? How could we identify the major current trends that are likely to affect our future viability, success and sustainability? What could be the expectations of whoever might be our critical stakeholders in the future? How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? How might our current ways of thinking about future scenarios be limiting our effectiveness or future success? What ways of thinking about future scenarios might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant/facilitator since 1979 in Australia and overseas. 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 organisations 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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