Rule One: CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
In order to keep dialogue open, realize you don’t know everything. Without a heightened awareness of the development of your own ego, healthy characteristics and unique, powerful talents can become destructive and degenerate into weaknesses.
Rule Two: CREATE CURIOUSITY
What you currently know sometimes gets in the way of what you need to know, but don’t know. Be a sponge for information and use it to refresh your experience and knowledge rather than allowing yourself to feel as if new information puts you at risk.
Rule Three: MOVE OFF THE SOLUTION
Don’t prematurely focus on the solution itself. You need to get to the underlying business issues and work from there. Remember, a solution is worthless unless and until it creates business value, prevents a problem or invents a new result the business needs. Otherwise, a solution is merely an event.
Rule Four: GET EVIDENCE
Some of the best businesspeople ask the obvious questions, the answers to which are almost never obvious. In fact, it’s the obvious questions or the politically sensitive questions that many are afraid to ask. Collect soft evidence and then turn it into hard evidence that the business can measure.
Rule Five: CALCULATE THE IMPACT
Businesspeople never let cash out the door that doesn’t strictly ultimately bring more cash back. You must convert hard evidence into a financial equivalent; a move from ‘the could’ to ‘the should’ that shows the basic economic return.
Rule Six: EXPLORE THE RIPPLE EFFECT
It is imperative to figure out who or what else in the company is affected by the current problem or the opportunity under consideration. The people who get sucked into isolated and exclusionary thinking lose sight of the big picture of the business as a whole.
Rule Seven: SLOW DOWN FOR YELLOW LIGHTS
If the problem or opportunity is so big, ask what has stopped us in the past from doing something about it, and what could stop us in the future. If you get a yellow light early, take your best shot at resolving it. Even if you fail and get to a red light, you’ll have saved time and money at the very least.
Rule Eight: FIND THE CAUSE
Simply asking why will give you the tools to dig for the underlying reason for the problems, and to make sure you’re treating the source, rather than the effects. Having proof you need a solution (the effects), and knowing what solution you need are two different things.
For more information:
Read BusinessThink, Rules for Getting It Right – Now and No Matter What!
by Dave Marcum, Steve Smith, and Mahan Khalsa