When I work with CEOs the first question I ask is:
“What do you want”?
Most of the time, the answer is unformed as it’s a surprisingly complex question to answer. The small answer is easy: success and happiness and peace are ones I hear a lot.
But these aren’t sufficient answers and a far more considered, layered, wide-perspective answer is required if you’re actually going to get what you want.
The way I take the conversation further is by asking these questions (they aren’t unique to me, it’s a fairly well-known but very effective technique):
- Where does your business play?
- How does your business win?
The underpinning intention behind these questions is to compete – or out-compete. They are fundamentally competitive questions: the business that answers them best has the best chance of winning.
And so to today’s pandemic-impacted business environment. Unless there is a sector that I’m not aware of that is unaffected by Covid-19, my view is that every single CEO needs to go back to the above questions and:
- Answer them again.
- Make sure your old assumptions (i.e. customer, price, market size etc.) still hold.
- Strip out any bias about your answer to the above.
- Be very swift about changing your answers.
- Operationalise deep into the business so that no-one is headed off on an outdated path.
The above is part of the hard yards of being a safe and effective CEO and making sure your strategy is as bedded down as possible. So much depends on this.