Tuesday, April 12, 2011

7 key questions to ask (Week 5, Blog 4)

This week’s reading Stress-Test Your Strategy: The 7 Questions to Ask talks about finding the weakest link in the strategy by asking 7 tough questions. Those 7 questions are:

1. Have you identified a primary customer?

2. Who is the first among you stakeholders –stakeholders, employees, or customer?

3. Have you narrowed down which performance variables you track?

4. Set critical boundaries?

5. Do you generate creative tension?

6. Promote coordination among your employees?

7. What questions keep you up all night, thinking about how the future will change your business.

All these arguments in this article remind me what Professor Claude Setodji taught us in the Econometrics course during which we build a model first based on all the assumptions. After some adjustments, we can always get a pretty good model that can explain most part of the scenario. Most people will be satisfied and stop at this point, however, he said, “what a good analyst should do at this moment is to question all the assumptions they made at the beginning and see if they can modify the model to fit the current situation better.”

The whole point for asking these 7 questions is to assess how a system or a strategy will function under expected pressure and changes, however, the answer for those questions, in my opinion, really exist within instead of outside the company. It’s the original assumption we made at early stage that we really need to go back at a timely manner and make suitable adjustment based on the new situation. And after finish this article, the main idea that I got is never over-simplify the strategy, and even though one feel like his strategy is good at this moment, this can be changed in the next minute.

What’s more, creating a company culture that allows employees to start to think about all these questions and furthermore, dare to bring out the challenges is a “prerequisite” for the content of this article. In order not to expand this blog post into a 1000 word essay, here is my question to take away with: Which question among those 7 is the most difficult one to answer and why?

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