Ask These 4 Questions to Spark Important Strategic Conversations
Our Own the U.G.L.Y. strategic conversation process helps your team have the tough conversations they’re longing to have; to stare squarely in the face of what’s not working and generate new ideas for a brighter, bolder future.
Own the Ugly: A Powerful Example
The other day I was facilitating a 2-day offsite strategic planning retreat for one of my start-up clients.
Within 60 seconds of the first rotation talking about G- What’s Gotta Go, one group listed every “efficiency” tool their company was using to make “work easier” and then created two columns on their easel sheet–a “should it stay or should it go” vote.
Everyone who rotated through their station got a vote and indicated what workgroup they were in. By the end of the session over half of the tools were “voted off the island.” The COO raised his eyebrows, but took the lead in initiating a curiosity conversation.
What they found was that the tools they had selected one at a time for good reasons all made sense, but the requirements to keep everything up to date were driving people crazy.
I’m convinced that this 40-minute conversation will save them thousands of hours of frustration next year.
“Why didn’t you raise this before?” Well, “No one asked.”
Own the Ugly. Make it safe to talk about what’s not working. It’s getting talked about somewhere. Best to lift it up, stare at it, vent if needed, and then figure out what must happen next.
Teams admire managers who “Own the Ugly.” Winning Well managers have the confidence and humility to have more strategic conversations about what’s not working. Start the conversation, and then listen deeply to the solutions.
4 Strategic Conversations to Have With Your Team
Here are four strategic conversations to have with your team.
U– What are we Underestimating?
Competitive pressures? New technology? Risk? The destruction that the new manager is doing to our culture? The opportunity that we “don’t have time for?
G– What’s Gotta Go?
What are we doing now that doesn’t make sense anymore? What processes are more habit than value? What meetings are wasting our time? What’s gotta go for us to be remarkable?
L– Where are we Losing?
Where are we still under-performing despite our best efforts? Why? Who’s doing it better? How?
Y– Where are we missing the Yes?
What must we say “Yes” to in the coming year? What new opportunities are yearning for our attention? Where must we invest more deeply?