Questions to Always Keep in Mind

Some believe that once a question is answered, the issue has been addressed and no longer needs to be addressed.  But when it comes to strategic planning what, in the world filled with change, few if any answers are final.

That’s why these six questions should always be on your mind so you can evaluate performance, and identify opportunities to improve.

What are our goals?

This is a larger question than it might first appear to be because it’s not about memorizing and reciting – it’s about questioning and making sure that your goals are aligned with your mission.

Are your institution’s goals in line with the vision?

Are they realistic?

Are they achievable?

Are they the right goals in terms of leveraging your strengths and available resources?

What has worked well for us?

This question needs to go further than a list of “wins” – and it needs to dive down into the depths of why.  And the “why” is more than “…we have a great group of people busting their…”

What internal factors helped produce the win?

What external factors impacted the win?

Is this repeatable, or is it a one-off?

Can we leverage this in other areas – and if so, where and how?

What hasn’t worked well for us?

Failure is inevitable.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.

Yet so many refuse to admit that something is a failure or attempt to learn from it so that future efforts are more successful.

A marketing professor once told me that when it comes to marketing campaigns, a 5% response rate can generate substantial amounts of profitable revenue and be viewed by many businesses as highly successful – but they forget to acknowledge the fact that the 5% response rate also means that 95% of the people they reached out to with an offer failed to respond.

And those businesses fail to ask why so they can identify opportunities for improvement.

Is the Institution Committed to Achieving the Goals?

Many will read this question and immediately think “…we need to have people on-board that are willing to work hard, make sacrifices and achieve the goals…”

I agree, but this question asks more.

By ‘institution’, many will focus on the massess.  The workers.  The faculty and staff.

And they will forget about leadership.

So, ask this question for all – from leadership down the ladder.

Does everyone have the necessary experience to be part of the success?

Does everyone have the necessary resources – financial and technological – to deliver success?

Does everyone understand what worked and why – and how to make that a regular occurance?

And does everyone understand what fell short and why – and not to make that a regular occurance?

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Strategic turnaround consultant and writer.

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