Three Questions to Ask for Business Growth
As you plan for the next year, make sure you are honestly assessing what is possible in 2021. Ask trusted advisors, co-workers, and even friends these three questions:
1. What two things should I continue to do?
2. What two things should I start to do?
3. What two things should I stop doing?
This is the time of year when business leaders make resolutions, update strategic plans, and generally take stock of their organization. I’m planning to do a similar assessment, but this year I’m going to look in the mirror.
I’m going to reach out to 15 to 20 people and ask these three questions: What two things should I continue to do? What two things should I start? What two things should I stop?
I’ll put these questions to several of my team members, some close personal friends, and a few referral sources in my professional circle. And I expect I won’t like all the answers. But I’m going to trust that I will get fair and honest feedback.
One of the tenets I’ve always adhered to in business is that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ My goal with this exercise is to help uncover some of those blind spots. What can’t I see?
Most days it feels like I’m driving down the (proverbial) highway at 90 miles an hour. I know I need a better view of what’s around me, so these three questions are going to be my blind spot detectors. The answers just might help me avoid a few scary near-misses and perhaps, even, a company-killing accident.
Researchers tell us that multiple perspectives are the key to innovation. Maybe I’ll uncover some new path we should be taking as an organization. Or just as likely, I’ll get people telling me to stay the course – to give ideas enough time to take root and sprout before I head off to take on the next “big” idea.
In business circles, this feedback tool is generally known as the SSC or SSK (start, stop, continue/keep) process. The exercise can be used in any area of your life, in your role as a business leader, coach, partner, parent, etc.
You can use the exercise for company-wide analysis as well, asking employees and customers what the organization should start, stop, and what you should preserve.
Either way, whether we ask the question of ourselves or our organization, I expect the magic truly comes from how we respond. I’m sure I’ll struggle with some negative feedback. But If we can accept the answers with grace, humility, and perhaps even transparency, we can improve communication and trust.
When I started my business, I created a board of professional advisors who served as my sounding board and helped guide my decisions. Today, I look to my management team and outside consultants for similar insight.
In 2021, I’m going to add fresh voices to the mix. And I’m fully confident that those voices – even the critical ones – will be a pivotal part of my personal and professional growth.
By Scott Bushkie
With more than 20 years in the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) industry, Scott is a recognized leader in the field, providing exit strategies, business valuations, and M&A advisory services to business owners in the lower middle market. He has successfully executed sales to domestic and international buyers, private equity firms, family offices, and strategic buyers.
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