25 terrifying questions to ask if your business seems to be going backwards

Over my many years working as an HR consultant to medium and large businesses; I realised that the successful ones were rarely the ones that had a great product or service; those are temporary. The really successful ones were those that weren’t afraid to ask the difficult questions and to do something about the challenging answers.

So I thought I’d share 25 of the questions I believe every business should ask.

  1. What business are we actually in and is that still valid?
  2. What mistakes did we make last year that we didn’t properly analyse?
  3. What opportunities arose that we were too slow to respond to?
  4. What opportunities did we take on that we probably shouldn’t have?
  5. What opportunities do we see for the coming year?
  6. Do they fit with our core business?
  7. Do they fit with our values?
  8. What new products or services are we considering?
  9. What problems do they solve?
  10. Are they scaleable?
  11. Are they short term products/services or will they fit a long term offering?
  12. Do they add to our reputation?
  13. Do they fit our culture?
  14. What products/services could we ‘bundle’?
  15. Which could we ‘unbundle’?
  16. Do we have enough staff to achieve what we want to achieve this year?
  17. Do we have the ‘right’ staff to achieve what we want to achieve?
  18. What excuses are holding us back?
  19. How effective are we at planning and scheduling to reach deadlines?
  20. Are there opportunities in joining forces with complimentary businesses to share costs; bundle products; share marketing costs?
  21. Do we encourage and incentivise our people to bring forward ideas?
  22. Do we ask enough ‘why’ and ‘why not’ questions?
  23. Do we take time out to review new ideas we’ve implemented?
  24. Do we give up too easily?
  25. Do we stick with the old ways too long?  

I’m sure there are hundreds more, but try a few of these out every now and again so you don’t miss those golden opportunities that often present themselves as either customer complaints or mistakes someone made.

And I leave you with a few of my favourite quotes; things I read regularly every time I think that trying new things and taking a few risks is too hard and too scary.

“The meek shall inherit the earth, but not it’s mineral rights.” J.P Getty       

“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love to do, there is only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” Wayne Dyer

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Jim Rohn

Ann Andrews CSP – Speaker, Author, Profiler, Life Member NSANZ 

Author: Lessons in Leadership: 50 ways to avoid falling into the ‘Trump’ trap

Author: Leaders Behaving Badly: What happens when ordinary people show up, stand up and speak up You can also take a really simple ‘Leadership Test’ right here

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