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Business People Think
Thinking in this context means constructing mental frameworks through which complex information is organized and processed.
The first model is the classic who, what, when, where, why and how questions that define reality, an event or circumstance. This who\what\when\where\why\how model is particularly powerful envisioning and describing strategies. For example, marketing is about how you inform your market about why\where\how\when they should buy what from you. Project planning becomes "where when and how does who have to do what in order for "x" to happen?".
The second model is also a business classic. The "win win" model essentially says if everyone involved in a business activity can be made to win, and if everyone can have a vested interest in success, teamwork is made easier as people work together for their common interests. It also means thinking and talking in terms of benefits for all involved
The third is the 80\20 rule, first formulated by Vilfredo Pareto, an economist at the turn of the last century. He observed that 20 percent of the effort generally yielded 80 percent of the result. This analysis can be applied to many situation. For example, know the 20% of your customer base that yields 80% of the sales, or that 20% of the customer base that gives 80% of the collection or return problem. It gives a good indicator of where and how you should apply your time and effort or why to encourage a customer to take their business elsewhere.
A fourth is to think and plan and organize and train in threes. Three is an easy number to manage and remembering in threes is also easier. Ray The Hat Tilley observed there are about a dozen ways to do something and only four of those don't work. Thinking and planning in threes makes sense because you don't overburden yourself with choice and three scenarios will definitely touch on the major issues related to what you want to do.
A fifth is thinking positively in terms of how to instead of why not. This thinking can add value to all you see and experience.
A sixth is to prioritize based on what is important to the stakeholders of a particular activity and focus on ensuring they get this.
A seventh and perhaps most important is to revert to childhood and keep asking why. Why uncovers more questions and leads to a sound understanding of any matter at hand. Why un-complicates and formulates questions that provide solutions.
Business people tend to have their own favorite ways to organize the thoughts they have and decisions they make. So there are a lot more than these seven, but the main point to take away is that business thinking is all about models and mental frameworks. Thinking in threes is actually the United States Marines way, and chasing down reading on their success is time definitely not wasted. Lots to teach about bigger picture thinking and co ordinated responses.
© 2015 John B Voorpostel CPA, CA, CMB
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