Berger Leadership Blog

Jul 01, 2022

2 simple questions to ask before setting your strategy

As leaders, we frequently face problems that approach suddenly and unexpectedly. In my time over the years, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, and to always have a plan ready for any potential problem that may hit my organization.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, Martin Reeves and Annalies O’Dea emphasize the necessity that strategy makers postpone the urge to immediately start analyzing and deciding right off the bat before considering two basic questions.

1. Is there a problem to be solved?

According to Reeves and O’Dea, many organizations get started on strategy-making too late because of a lack of awareness or sense of urgency that there is a challenge to be addressed. This issue happens for several reasons – when there is no obvious threat to current performance and when it appears that there is no challenge to be solved.

The key here is to get ahead of the game by identifying the problem at bat to its most simple degree. That means you should try to separate your internal biases when looking at the current reality. By continually challenging the hidden assumptions underpinning past success, you will be able to identify issues that may not appear to exist at surface level.

2. What sort of problem is it?

Before a problem can be solved, it needs to be framed. Sounds simple at first glance, but problems can become complex overtime. Therefore, the initial problem’s framing should not be the same as the eventual problem’s framing. Leaders should be able to revisit the issue at different stages in its lifespan, identifying the issue from all angles. This will help organizations create sound solutions to issues that remain economical, relevant, and robust over time.

As leaders, asking ourselves these questions will help minimize roadblocks that come into the problem-solving process. In doing so before actively starting the process, we can ease it for those in our organizations and for ourselves, and come out on the other side with an unstoppable, well-rounded solution.\

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