Have you noticed how taking action leads to results? And yet no action also leads to a result!

Have you noticed that to start something – a business, a project for example, and to keep it going there are specific steps that need to be taken?

Have you noticed how many step by step formulas there are to choose from and how confusing it is to pick one when they all guarantee success?

All the above can leave the hardiest business minds confused, stuck in no man’s land and not knowing which way to turn. It can feel like there is a war between the right way to do things and the emotional RIP that can pull you out into a sea of nothingness.

And when this happens your competitive edge, your energy to fight for your point of difference gets drowned out with all the ‘noise’ around you.

Using linear thinking is a common starting point to reduce the noise.  You will recognise this thinking by the step by step formulas where there is a start and a finish with sequenced steps in between just like a ladder. Very useful, this is why there are so many quick fix formulas out there.

Yes, very useful…to a degree!

In fact, overuse of this linear approach stops the thinking, it builds ‘sheep’ mentality instead. It spoon-feeds the expectation of how ‘things’ are done, without deviation…no thinking required. And success is guaranteed…hmmm!

The overuse of linear thinking is driven by fear of failure, fear of losing face and the fear of getting it wrong. It is also driven by those wanting a quick fix to problems…no need to think, just do and do quickly. The current over reliance on step by step formulas that are flooding advertising, blogs and social media are killing business ingenuity and innovation.

It is killing off the very thing people want…to stand out in a crowded market place.

As you may imagine, this will not build your competitive advantage, let alone build a sustainable business model.

The answer?

Start by limiting the linear processes to essentials only. A great example here is an evacuation procedure where in the case of an emergency you want everyone to know and follow the evacuation plan as per the drills practiced…it will save lives!

What else?

Use system-focus thinking. This means you engage or take on a model or a methodology that builds and encourages creativity beyond the straight up and down of the ladder. A model that stops you being sucked into the RIP that leads to nothingness.

It means you can use a universal model, like the System-Focus Model and add your own flavour, modify how you use it to fit your market demands, choose who you share the model with and who you build the model for. In other words, YOU MAKE IT YOUR OWN.

The universal nature of the model provides you with the competitive advantage you are after. And this is exactly what the System-Focus Model does for business.

Diane Gray, Specialist Consultant (Service Industry), GrayHeart,

Creator of System-Focus Model for Business


Who Is On Your Side?

No matter whether you are running a business or leading a team, you need people around you who will support you, your goals and your dreams.

There are enough naysayers out there who will trash what you are about as soon as there is the slightest whiff of success. Let’s face it, running a business or leading a team is hard enough work with the ups and downs that inevitably come our way without having criticism, back stabbing or the ‘told you so’.

Sometimes these people may be close to you, such as family members, and others will be ‘friends’ or acquaintances, but one thing they all have in common is that you do not TRUST them.

So who do you need on your side?

Well, let’s start with the obvious: people you can trust!

These people play roles that bring balance to your way of thinking and doing.

The Networker: This role is a very social one. They know who is who in the jungle and what they do, so as soon as a need arises, whether it is a graphic designer or a plumber, they are onto it. They get a buzz out of connecting people.

The Inspirer: This role brings creativity and inspiration to you and your ideas. They help keep the flow of ideas coming and allow you the space to be your most outrageous. They will help you reach for the stars.

The Devil’s Advocate: This role plays an important part in ensuring the rose coloured glasses come off and that you stay grounded. They want to see you achieve, so will make sure you are aware of the challenges up ahead so you can be prepared.

The Questioner: This role makes sure your ideas turn into action and the work gets completed. They will ask detailed questions on how, when, what, why and who. They will make sure you have a plan of action.

The Advocate: This role champions for you. They believe in you and what you are about. They ‘get’ you and will advocate for you to the end. They are your top supporter. They will also be the ‘kick-up-the-backside’ motivator when you need it.

The Philosopher: This role helps to broaden your perspective of the impact you and what you do, as well as others, has on the world. They can bring a lot of wisdom and will generally have a philanthropic mindset where giving and adding value is paramount.

Now these roles can be played by one or two or ten people, the number isn’t important. What is important is that you have these roles in your support circle.

And you will know they are right for you because the trust between you will be very high. It has to be.


Recruiting Smarter


Have you ever employed a person thinking they are exactly what you want, they are so right for this position, and you’re ecstatic? You can’t believe how lucky you’ve been to find such a star performer!

Then, the more you work with them, the more you realise the star’s shine starts to become dull. And it’s all downhill from there. They are not a right fit after all, they are not who they said they were in the interview, or they are just not on the same page with the direction of the business!! And now you’re stuck!

More than stuck … it is costing you time and energy to take on performance management or you have to go through the expense of recruiting someone else in the hope you find the right person this time round!

This is a very common problem, particularly when businesses grow very quickly and you have not had a lot a time to take the recruitment slowly, so here are some considerations for you.

  1. Be very aware of the biases that come into play when you are desperate for help. You want to be proactive here, not reactive to the pressure to get someone on board. Here are some examples of the biases (aka your own BS):
    1. Anyone will do
    2. They have one or two of the skills needed so we can make do
    3. They look ok (physically) so they must be good at their job – also known as the halo effect!
  2. Plan the position – this can be an arduous task if you are not clear on the role and tasks that need to be done, so take a little time to be specific and identify the requirements (i.e. skills, training, personality, part-time, full-time, contractor etc.).
  3. The smaller your business, the more likely you will need a person who has multiple general skills. The larger your business becomes, the more you will need specialists. So be prepared to engage a Jack (or Jill) of all trades who is likely to be a master of none. If you go for a master, their skills are less likely to be flexible across multiple business areas.

In addition to the points above, here is a bonus consideration.

Profiling tools are now a normal part of recruiting the right person. They give employers insight into the personality or behavioural traits of the prospective employee.

The benefits far outweigh the costs when considering the following:

  1. You gain more information about the candidate, such as what they are good at.
  2. You learn how they are likely to respond in pressure situations.
  3. You get a better sense of whether they are more likely or not to be a fit for your business culture.
  4. You find out if they are good with working with people or better working on their own.

At the end of the day, you want to find the best person for the job and to do that, then the more information you have the better you are placed to make that decision. And ensuring you have the best person for the job stands you in good stead for being an employer people are itching to work with, which can only help you gain a competitive advantage over your competition.

If you would like to find out more about behaviour profiling for current and future employees, then feel free to contact me … I’m only a conversation away.


Getting The Communication Right For Your Business

Communication right

When asking people in workplaces what their most frustrating problem is they say lack of communication. Which when asked what that means, their replies are:

  • Management doesn’t care.
  • We don’t get told what’s going on.
  • Changes get made and we don’t know about them
  • We give clients the wrong information because we were not kept up to date. Then we have more problems.
  • And the list goes on

No surprisingly these problems occur even in the smallest of teams and even if you work by yourself but you use contractors such as book keeper, accountant, copywriter or other specialists. This is because systems do not always mean software program or always involve technology, but what they will always require is communication.

If the communication does not have a system, then the gaps start to widen very quickly as your business grows. And the stress and frustration of playing catch up to fill the gaps is very draining, exhausting in fact! Then this quickly turns into a vicious cycle of two steps forward, two steps back – yes you did read that right!

So let’s make this clear!

When you started your business, you started a system (because your business is a system in itself) and developed a ‘way’ to make sure your products or services reached their target market, and the people in this market then became your clients.

As your business grows, you’ll find you need help – some additional supports – and you now have to decide what parts of the operational side of your business you can hand over to someone else.

From this point forward, no matter the type of support you engage, it will involve working with other people in your business – employees, contractors, software support centres, bank manager to name a few.

And this is when the information that is in your head – your expertise, your business plans – must be shared with others so they can support you in the way your business needs. This will also happen when the information is in other people’s head yet needs to be shared as well.

Wherever there is a transfer of information, then a system of communication is formed.

Some will be done informally and some formally. And either will work depending on the situation. But the challenge for any growing business is that as your team grows, so does the system network.

You only need to compare a map of Sydney and a map Canberra to see the difference between the planned, well-communicated design of Canberra as it grew into a substantial city to the ad hoc planning of Sydney to what it is now and how it continues to grow.

And the same principle applies to your business and the way the growth is communicated. What you don’t want is to create an urban sprawl that is too difficult for people to navigate … and find themselves (and you) lost in the midst.

So when all is said and done just follow these 7 steps:

  1. Be clear on why the information needs to be communicated.
  2. Decide now what information needs to be communicated.
  3. Know the consequences of this information being or not being communicated
  4. Decide what will need formal modes of communication and what can remain informal.
  5. Follow-up with the people involved to check that the information and communication modes are effective and are on track to reaching the goals of your business.
  6. Modify as needed.
  7. Repeat the 6 points above.

Do this and you are already on your way to breaking the vicious cycle of two steps forward and two steps back.

And if you need a helping hand, then contact us.


6 Steps to Long Term Business Sustainability

business sustaibility

If a task needs to be completed, then an action needs to be taken … simple, right?

Yet the actions taken determine the completion OR non completion of the task.

AND the importance of the task will determine how decisive the action taken will be … again it’s simple.

The level of importance will also determine the level of focus required to complete the task.

So why is it that so many people focus on completing the less important ‘stuff’ that only brings short term gain?

They get distracted, ignore, or procrastinate about their own work and it becomes contagious –it becomes the norm. This is when the holes start opening up, the sales stop, the money in the bank goes down, the people just show up for the pay and the worst thing is, no one seems to really care.

And there is nothing simple about it! Everything has become a shortcut to short term gratification.

So, how do you turn this around?

  1. Identify what your long term goals are: This means analysing where you want your business to be in two to three or more years. Now, if you have already done this, then revise and make sure the goals are still relevant and move onto the next step.
  2. State the goals as strategic outcomes: This means be specific in terms of the date, benchmarks, key performance indicators and other measures that will determine the outcome has been reached.
  3. Break these strategic goals down into smaller sub goals: This means developing a step-by-step process to work towards the long term goals.

Now, the next three steps are designed to turn around the action that focused on short term gains that are not linked to the long term goals.

  1. Analyse what is being done or not being done towards those goals: This means identifying the attitudes, behaviours and actions that are detracting from the business goals and why they are not producing the results you want.
  2. Identify what needs to be done instead: This means stating clearly the difference between previous expectations and what the expectations are from this moment forward. It also means stating the unwanted consequences of previous actions and the expected consequences of the new action.
  3. Provide feedback consistently: This means undertaking regular reviews of progress, checking in against the strategic measurements and modifying as you go to make sure you stay on track. It also means having the conversations that need to be had with people who are not on board with the direction your business is going and provide appropriate feedback.

Now let’s be very clear here. Taking on the six steps above is no easy feat. To make your business sustainable over the long term means being smart about how you invest your time, money and leadership into building the systems that look after your short term and long term goals.

After all, your business is THE system and it has sub systems that need regular looking after, which is part of developing both long term and short term strategies in your planning. If you leave any one unattended, then your business will seize up and slow you down or worse, break down completely … then it’s really going to start costing you!


Tips on How to Write an Engaging Award Submission


Its Business Awards time of year.

If you have been nominated for a business award in your area of expertise then the last thing you want is to do you, your team and your business a disservice by not sharing what you are truly about.

Yet it can be a daunting undertaking particularly if you find ‘blowing your own trumpet’ uncomfortable or feel embarrassed (yet secretly proud) to be nominated or you do not know how to go about writing your submission.

And yes sometimes the writing is the scariest part for many business people so they don’t go ahead and enter. They do not give themselves or the community the opportunity to acknowledge the great contribution they make!

So what can you do?

Firstly, if you have been nominated, then be grateful for the compliment a customer or client has paid because they truly value the service you have provided and to them you have made a difference…very often a big difference! So take this thought with you when you start to write your submission.

And here are some practical tips to help write a great submission for your awards.

  • Make sure you allocate plenty of time to write and read then re-read your submission.
  • Copy the questions into a word document so you can proof read and spell-check or even better, have an editor proof read for you.
  • Answer the questions – Be sure to stay on track with your response and do not wander off on tangents or waffle on!
  • Stick to the word limit which means do not over write or underwrite. Be in the ball park because the word count is an indicator of the type and quality of information required for each specific questions.
  • In writing your submission use language that has both rational and emotional engagement for the reader. This means you will be demonstrating that you fully understand the impact your business has on your clients, employees, community.
  • Answer all the questions completely – Be sure to check the award criteria. You will want to make sure you are meeting it and you have solid examples of how you, your team, your business meets it. In your example, be sure to include how this example embraces to criteria in every aspect of your business and the impact it has had on the specific criteria of the award, e.g. customers, market innovation, leadership etc.
  • Be sure to provide a clear description of your business (or person in the business) that states honestly and clearly what you are about, what is important to you in relation to the criteria. Write this as if you are being introduced to a complete stranger.
  • Showcase your business because many judges will not know how great your business is unless you tell them and share key deliverables that you have achieved. These can include quantitative examples such as turnover or revenue earned and qualitative examples such as leadership, peer support or workplace culture.
  • PROOF READ AGAIN before you hit submit and make sure you submit in time.

It’s now time for you to go ahead and write your submission. If you would like a helping hand with your submission, feel free to contact me…I’m only a conversation away.

Best wishes and congratulations in advance to the winners.


Build Your Competitive Advantage


Building your competitive advantage is a no brainer!

Yet the struggle to maintain it is a hard one. All too often people focus on the competition so much that they take their eye off the ball and neglect their own businesses.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a huge amount of hurt, stress, wasted time, confusion and then clients end up with the competition anyway … the very thing they wanted to avoid.

Now I’m not saying that what your competitors are doing or not doing isn’t important because it is. But the attention you pay to the competition needs to be done wisely so you are keeping ahead of the Joneses, not just keeping up with them!

It’s the only way to build and maintain your competitive advantage.

So, how do you know if you have fallen into the ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset?

The most obvious is when your in-house systems get neglected. Some examples of how this tends to show up are:

  • Lost sight of the purpose of the business, no effective strategy
  • Lack of quality in customer service
  • Hiring the wrong people and/or keeping the wrong people
  • Poor communication between people and teams
  • Making reactive decisions to purchases
  • Little or no training for people
  • Very little innovation

And all because the people making decisions have become completely reactive to their competitors’ moves.

For example, if any or all of the above means you fall into the category of businesses where 75% of leads don’t get followed up, then the question needs to be asked:

How many clients (and how much money) are you potentially losing to a competitor?

So if you are not doing this already, start reviewing what is it that is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).


Because a big killer to competitive advantage is that all too often people undervalue their strengths and uniqueness, the gifts they bring to their clients, underappreciating the difference it makes to others with their products and/or services … all because the frustrations and pressures of ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ takes over.

And whenever this happens, the focus moves away too much from what you are great at and how you can support what you are great at.


  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • What you do best?
  • What you do differently compared to others?
  • What is your Unique Selling Proposition?

Here are four considerations to help you. And you can also check out the COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE questionnaire .

  1. Your client/customers’ needs and wants

Consider your products/service from the consumer perspective and how their problems are solved differently by you.

  1. Your uniqueness

Consider what is it that makes you and your products and/or services different to your competition.

  1. Your competitors

Consider what your competitors are doing and what their uniqueness is. Now you can make comparisons upon which to better meet your clients’ needs and wants to then go ahead and build the model that best supports this.

  1. Your business model and in-house support

Consider the options available to you to deliver your products and services to your clients/customers and the business model that best represents these options, paying attention to the in-house supports you need in your business to ensure the above three points bring your clients/customers an experience that is over and above their expectations.

Now that you have a clearer picture of what your competitive advantage is through your USP, it’s time to develop the in-house support systems to keep you ahead of the Joneses.

If you would like a helping hand, then contact us … we are only a conversation away.


The Customer is Always Right… Right?

customer in cafe

There are many businesses and organisations that strive for 100% customer satisfaction. While the intention that drives this goal is not questioned, the reality or achievability of the goal is.

To have all clients or customers 100% happy 100% of the time is unrealistic and, while well-intentioned, it is generally a strategic bias that keeps higher up decision makers happy. But the decision makers are often far removed from the front line where the majority of enquiries and complaints are directly made.

At the front line, customer service personnel often work with a script and/or software system that can be very cumbersome. In addition, they may not have received sufficient training, or they are under-resourced, or they are not kept up-to-date with recent changes to products or services, or worse, changes to managing complaints. And these are only a few examples of the challenges customer service personnel face every day. At the end of it all, they cop the brunt of dissatisfied customers who are often passed from pillar to post and end up finishing a call none the wiser.

This problem happens across many industries – from manufacturing, white goods, retail, hospitality through to professional services etc. No industry is immune to the dissatisfied customer or client.

The businesses that do well in customer service are those that are genuinely interested in the feedback customers and clients bring and are committed to continuous improvement of not only their products and services, but also the systems and processes that lead to the customer experience far exceeding their expectations. This definitely includes after sales service.

Yet no matter how great your after sales service may be, more than likely you have already encountered the customer or client who has been a ‘nightmare’ to keep happy, and in the end it just wasn’t possible to satisfy them.

And that leads to these two questions:

  • Is the customer always right?
  • Can you always keep them happy?

This article is not designed to provide detailed solutions to every possible customer complaint scenario, but what I would like to share with you is a snapshot of the four most common types of behaviours that customer service personnel encounter to ensure that handling complaints effectively is as simple a process as possible.

Why? Because the simple answer to the above two questions is: ‘NO!’

Behaviour #1: The people who will buy purely on the results they want from your products and services.

  • They will want to know there is a guarantee on the product or service and may be influenced by the results others have gained.
  • They will have a specific purpose in mind, will make a decision quickly and if you are able to fit that purpose, they will remain happy, particularly if you are able to fix any problems along the way quickly and directly. If you are not able to act directly but are factual, straight to the point, provide alternatives for them, then they will still be happy.
  • They are likely to refer your business to others for your prompt service and ability to problem solve quickly.
  • If you are slow to respond or are vague and indecisive they will quickly go elsewhere. This is when they are likely to not be satisfied and therefore with make a complaint or you will just never see them again.

Behaviour #2: The people who will be very specific about why they want your products or services.

  • They will want to hear the testimonials of others, particularly the details of how other people found the quality and technical after sales service.
  • They are cautious about making a purchase, want to know the facts, be shown demonstrations, and have at least three other options available for comparison so they can make a very informed choice.
  • They can be slow to make a final decision. If the other options are not available, then they will shop around for comparisons or are likely to have done their research, so want to know that the information you are providing matches what they have already discovered.
  • If your products and services do not deliver on those specifics, they are likely to complain and ask for a refund so they will need someone who is prepared to spend a little time explaining the details and specifics with them before they purchase.
  • And when they do complain, they will want someone who is prepared to ask them about the specifics of the problem or they will think they are not being taken seriously. If this level of service is not provided, then they will take the complaint much further.
  • With these customers or clients, trust in the product or service is a must, but the same is not necessarily so for the people – they will follow the product rather than the business.
  • They are guarded in trusting the people; therefore, your after sales service needs to be spot on and consistent. If you do this and invest in these relationships, then they will become very loyal and long term clients. Break the trust and you will lose them quickly.

Behaviour #3: The people who want you to understand the process of how your products or services will change their situation as easily as possible.

  • They will need some time to consider their decision and are very rarely spontaneous in the purchase.
  • They want to enjoy the experience and may need a bit of hand holding if the change in product or service is a big step for them.
  • If the experience has been personal, friendly and considerate rather than cold and clinical (i.e., where they have not felt forced into a sale), these people will become your most loyal clients and will be your best referrers to their friends and family.
  • If there are changes to your service that will affect them directly, take the time to inform them and, where possible, do this personally.
  • They do not particularly like change, so if they do make a change away from your products and services, ensure you follow-up because they are the least likely to cause a fuss, but when they are dissatisfied enough they will just move on … that is, unless the complaint has a severe impact on other people who mean a lot to them, then they will make a stand until they are heard.

Behaviour #4: The people who, no matter what you do, how much you bend over backward to help, will never be happy.

  • They appear to be happy to start with, but it doesn’t take long before they become your biggest headache, taking up a lot of your time and still they are not satisfied.
  • They have lots of excuses or ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ about your products and services. They want to hear testimonials and also want to know the details of the guarantee.
  • No matter the extent of your after sales service to please them, blame is always placed on you and external to them. They view their behaviour as perfectly reasonable.
  • There will be a definite mismatch of values between you and them and you will never live up to their expectations. They will not appreciate the lengths you go to to help them because they believe it is their ‘right’ to be provided with your service.
  • The mismatchers pull you away from your core purpose and before you know it, the change you made to address their problem is not aligned with your business direction, leaving you feeling withdrawn from your values.
  • These are the ones who you will need to have other referrals ready for so they can seek the products and services they want elsewhere.
  • They will spread negativity about your business, not just a specific product or service, very quickly and not necessarily accurately.


Now, knowing there are different types of customers or clients who will display different behaviours, particularly Behaviour #4, it becomes obvious that a target of 100% customer satisfaction is not realistic. What is more realistic is 100% focus on the best possible solution for both you and your customer or client, which ultimately may mean saying no to a sale.

And, while the best possible solution for your business may be completely different to that of your competitors or other industries, here are four tips that are universal to any customer service system you put in place.

  1. Provide a good support system for customer service personnel that includes training and coaching in skills such as empathy, listening, collaborative communication (ability to step back and not take complaints personally), flexibility (behavioural and emotional), and product and service knowledge as well as actively seeking feedback from them to improve your customer service strategy.
  1. Create a customer service strategy that has flexibility: do not use scripts – scripts are robotic and hinder the personal touch that builds relationships with your clients. Instead, develop a personal touch that highlights where high and low touch points are with customers and clients. This helps to increase the availability of your customer service personnel to the high touch points for better customer/client outcomes.
  1. Always be open to customer feedback: be curious about their experience and do not assume you know what their individual experience will be.
  1. Be prepared to lose a mismatched customer/client and stand up for your business values. Although there will not be many of these customers or clients, you need to be clear on the line in the sand between addressing genuine concerns and complaints and those that do not align with your businesses’ values.

So, while you may never achieve 100% customer satisfaction, by following these four tips, you WILL maintain 100% focus and commitment to your customer or clients AND your business values.’

And if you would like a helping hand, then contact me…I’m only a conversation away.


Navigating ‘The Extinction Zone’ – Guide to Change Management – Part 2: Specific System Considerations


One of the most common problems when undergoing change is the lack of consistent consideration of the effect the change has across an organisation.

As a quick review of Part 1, this identified the state play that led you to being in ‘The Extinction Zone’, particularly when change is need for your business to stay relevant and in the game, or market you play in.

Part 1 covered question relating to the problem and the scope of the problem in the marketplace. Now we look into Part 2, the specifics of changes required in response the answers you came up with in Part 1.

So Part 2 starts to broaden a system-focus approach to change to cover the considerations of each system of your business because more than likely these will be affected directly or indirectly with some having more importance than others.

So let’s look a little deeper to find out

  1. what areas in business are affected because of the problem?
  2. what areas will be affected by the change?

Many believe the answers these two questions are the same but more often than not they may have similarities but they are not the same!

The first questions look at where the problem is showing up, whereas the second is delving into solution.

Here you want to be specific – name the areas and why they are affected. The challenge here, is to look beyond the first answer that comes up because this will only be part of the answer.

So now ask the next 6 questions, start bigger picture and drill down into those specifics.

  1. What needs to change?
  2. What happens if we don’t’ make these changes?
  3. When the changes are made, are there any differences in standards, expectations, benchmarks?
  4. If so what are they? If not, what specifically stays the same?
  5. If we make these changes, what in our current business structure is affected? List these, e.g. position hierarchy and departments such as finance, product development, customer service etc.
  6. How are they affected? Or what is the impact here?

Click HERE to Download the Specific System Considerations Worksheet


  • When finding answers to these questions, search into the systems and structures that are working and not working currently to get the outcome you wanted from the answers in Part 1.
  • Also start creating a list of the systems and processes that will need to be considered in each area to get this show on the road.
  • Then put these actions into the timeframe.

Start noticing the quality of information that is now at hand

And remember, if you would like assistance then contact me.

I’m only a conversation away.


Navigating ‘The Extinction Zone’ – Guide to Change Management – Part 1: Identifying the Need


Do you know you need to change yet it feels like the world is against you?

No matter what you do nothing seems to go right…

Your workplace needs to make changes but others don’t see it that way!

If you stay on the current path, there is a fair chance you will have the digital Kodak moment – stay the same and become extinct! Kodak thought they were safe when the digital camera came in…the rest is now history!

It can look like your business has sunk to a new low…less money coming in, cash flow is tight, demand has shifted and so has your market, not enough time to make the necessary changes, not got the energy. This is in such contrast to what it was like when business was going great and you were on the high of success.

It is at these moments you have a choice…change or risk extinction. This is ‘The Extinction Zone’. And it has your survival instincts on high alert.

This is when a system-focus can help.

So give these 6 critical questions a go.

  1. What is the problem?
  2. How does this affect our core business?
  3. How do we know this is a problem?
  4. What outcome do we want?
  5. What does the market want?
  6. What are our competitors doing?

Click HERE to Download the Worksheet Template to Responding to the Critical Questions

These questions will get you started to systematically analysing the problem at hand.


  • Do not accept the first answer that comes to mind, got beyond this and see what comes up.
  • When you answer these questions, while they may sound like common sense (which they should do!), when we are under pressure, more often than not we only get half a response.
  • When using a system-focus, you need to go beyond the obvious, by that I mean some people we answer these questions rationally, with logic, facts and evidence. And other will answer them with an emotional response; the feeling and affect the changes will have on others.
  • Your responses should include both, so go ahead and give these ago and keep an eye out for Part 2 where the next set of questions go deeper into specific areas of your business that are affected by the change.

Remember, if you would like a hand then contact me.

I’m only a conversation away.

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