There are obviously more than just 5 questions for business leaders but I think the following speak to the core challenges of those who are tasked with driving revenues in our hyper connected and data rich world.
- Where is your industry headed? Don’t get myopic and lose of sight of the world outside your four walls because, as Bob Dylan lamented, “The world…it is a-changing.” How are your staying abreast of the change and innovation in your world? When was the last time you looked at your customer’s business? What is in store for them will eventually impact you! It all flows downstream…
- What visibility do you have of the actual costs and their growth rates in your business? I am often shocked at how little C-level folks actually know about their costs first-hand. They see things on a P&L but often they have delegated (read this as abdicated) responsibilities for managing these to others who may lack the context and understanding to see the conditions forming that might produce that rogue wave that decimates the bottom line.
- How are you addressing the gaps in the skills of your executive team to ensure they can meet (exceed) the challenges in your business now and in the future? Notice that the question is not about identifying them…they are already there. What are you doing about them? Have your formally discussed them? Are they written down? Do they even know they have gaps? What is the plan to address them? What is the timeline? If you are you not moving forward, you are sliding backwards because there is no neutral when it comes to talent development.
- What is your organizational decision making process? How does your team identify and make critical decisions? Do you know how each member of your team identifies challenges? Do they wait for someone else (like you) to bring it up or are they proactively seeking out “disturbances in the force”? When they do sense something is wrong…what do they do about? What is your organizational process? (check out the root of “decide”) Are you comfortable with each person’s process? If not, what are doing about it?
- If nothing changes, how likely is it that business succeeds? I think we all know the answer to this…
Just remember, if it were easy everyone would do it (it’s not and they don’t) so be in the minority and be proud to call yourself a pragmatic malcontent (you will understand this if you have read my other posts…if not shame on your for not reading my other posts;)