Twelve Questions Your Leaders Must Ask Now!

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Every leader knows when their business model is working. Revenue is growing, profits are high, customers are loyal, employee retention is high, and so on. However, getting ahead of the curve is important when market factors change. Often, leaders wait and see rather than face the brutal facts.

Ten Issues That Will Affect Your Business

As leaders, we need to step out of the daily grind and monitor the factors around us. It is likely that you may be aware of what is going on around you and are not making the shifts necessary to thrive in the future.

The decisions we make and actions we take in business should not be made in a bubble predicated upon past circumstances. Instead, we need to monitor conditions, and when our assumptions about those conditions change, we need new decisions and actions. The following are the most common issues that need your attention when conditions change:

  1. Growth rate percentage is shrinking
  2. Gross and Net Profit Margin is Shrinking
  3. Inflation is rising
  4. Recession is coming
  5. Wages are rising
  6. Fluctuating Exchange rates
  7. Pricing is contracting
  8. Difficulty in finding and retaining people
  9. Supply chain issues
  10. Political unrest and war

Whether you believe we are in a recession or not, conditions have changed. As you review the list above, I am sure you can see that your business is likely affected by at least seven issues are affecting you today. It is a market Tsunami that should not be taken lightly. How you respond will determine your future success. There will be big winners, many losers, and little in between.

Twelve Questions Every Leader Needs to Ask Right Now!

“We have the answers, all the answers. It’s the question we do not know!” – Anonymous

When any of the above factors change, your team needs to start asking questions, seeking answers, and, most importantly, taking appropriate action! Asking the right questions is the key to continuous success. Often you are answering the wrong questions. And, you are probably playing Whack-a-Mole to address the many issues cropping up. And entrepreneurs tend to solve easier problems quickly and may address a symptom instead of the problem. We often see factors changing and our conditions are changing but too slow to react. We often act but work on past principles rather than considering our new reality. The faster we can identify the right questions that solve our root problem, we can get the answers and make the proper adjustments to thrive or survive in any conditions.

At Activate Group Inc., we help CEOs and leadership teams grow their companies further and faster with less frustration, making what appears impossible possible! Over the last 20 years we have developed a database of hundreds of questions that our experts draw upon to shine light on our client’s Factors. I recognize no one has time to go through this many questions so I asked my team to identify the ten most important questions every leader must answer right now! Our secret is a repeatable compound growth system causing leaders to ask better questions sooner. The following are the questions we think every leader should ask today:

Cash:

1. Have you done scenario analysis to determine if you have enough cash reserves or available credit to take you through should the worst case happen?

2. Do you have enough capital to take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves (e.g., acquisitions, acquiring talent, etc.)

3. Is your financial model deteriorating by slowing revenue growth, shrinking margins, and aging accounts receivables?

Strategy:

4. How much and often should we be changing our pricing?

5. How are current and prospective client needs shifting, and does this require a modification to current or creation of new products and services?

6. How do marketing messages need to change to meet people where they are today?

People:

7. Is there anyone on your team you would not want to rehire enthusiastically, and do you have a plan to address them?

8. Do you have a repeatable talent acquisition routine used by all leaders that consistently fills your positions quickly with the right people?

9. Is your staffing plan tied to your forecasting process?

Execution:

10. What are the current broken links or potential problems in the Supply Chain?

11. Does your company have documented Contingency Plans in place?

12. Does every employee know the company’s goals and priorities, is it clear how each contributes and is the answer specific and measurable?

Next Steps

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he’ll look for his own answers.” – Patrick Rothfuss

The above questions are the starting points. I learned long ago that the first question is not where our focus needs to be. We often have to ask several questions before we know the problem we are solving. For example:

  • Is there anyone on your team you would not want to rehire enthusiastically, and do you have a plan to address them? No, but we have not identified all of them.
  • Why Not? Because we don’t have a consistent process for identifying nonperformers.
  • Why Not? We are too busy and even if we did, we can’t afford to lose anyone right now.
  • Why Not? We can’t find enough candidates, and the ones we do are worse or equal to the ones we want to eliminate.
  • Why Not? Because we do not have a repeatable talent acquisition routine that is used by all leads that consistently fill our positions quickly and with the right people.

I will stop here as I can go on. Make sure you debate the real questions before running off and trying to solve the symptoms. Change is going to happen. Is your organization asking enough questions? How much confidence do you have that you are ready to thrive?

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Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore, Founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., is a bestselling author and serial entrepreneur specializing in liberating leadership teams from the barriers holding them back personally and professionally. Howard has helped create over $1 Billion of value and authored two best-selling books, The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.

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