- Where did the 7 Questions come from?
- What are the 7 questions?
- What do I get from answering the 7 Questions?
Where did the 7 Questions come from?
The 7 Questions help teams think critically, quickly about their organisation to create situation awareness. They help create situation awareness of what is going on outside the organisation and inside. Here is an example:
At the turn of the century the British Military had a problem. It took too long, and it was too complicated to develop a battle plan. War was changing dramatically, quickly. No longer were enemies traditional.
War was being fought in desert cities, without front lines, against an army with no traditional uniform or traditional organised structure. Battles could appear from anywhere. A market square. An alley. A desert road or remote village.
This was a stark contrast to the majority of wars in the 20th century. Leaders needed to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances. Leaders needed the ability to diagnose, plan & deliver at speed to win. Sadly, battle plans or what was known as combat estimates took too long to develop, write, communicate and were overly cumbersome to execute.
Lives were at stake.
The British Military reinvented how they trained leaders. They taught leaders a new way to make sense of the situation around them, to develop a well thought out plan with other team members and to communicate and execute with precision to win. They taught every leader to ask and answer 7 Questions. And, since 2001 still teach their leaders 7 questions.
These questions could be memorised and used anywhere, anytime. Thinking quickly & thinking deeply.
This idea of asking and answering questions to thinking critically and act with determination is not a new idea, it was first popularised by an ancient philosopher called Socrates. The British Military’s 7 Questions are kind of battle plan made through a Socratic method.
Waymaker’s 7 Questions on the Experience Curve are different, but they do the same thing. They help leaders and their teams quickly make sense of the business world around them, plan together thinking critically and then determine how to execute with precision to win.
In organisation leadership our enemy is not human. (We thank our military servicemen and women for putting their lives on the line.)
In business our enemy is the gap. The gap between where we are today and where we need to be tomorrow. The gap between an unclear market and knowing an ideal customer intimately. The gap between a poorly performing business model and a highly profitable business model. The gap between a toxic culture and an employee experience that births winning success.
The 7 Questions will create an awareness of what is going on around your organisation, what is going on within your organisation and what you need to action. They align to the core functions of the organisation; Vision, Market, Strategy, Business Model, Customer Experience and Employee Experience.
What are the 7 Questions?
The 7 Questions are:
- What is our vision, is this driven by our purpose and what’s holding us back from reaching it?
- What is our market, who is our ideal customer, what do they value and what perceptions do we need to build?
- What is our strategy, where is our growth focussed and how do we improve our positioning?
- What is our business model, is it creating value, what metrics tell us this, and what practices improve our value proposition?
- What is our customer’s experience, how do we acquire, retain and grow customers through our personality and what improvements need to be made?
- What is our employee’s experience, how do we acquire, retain and grow talent through our principles and what improvements need to be made?
- What are the one, two, or three things that if delivered in the quarter of half will shift the needle on the business?
What do I get from answering the 7 Questions?
Answering them helps you understand the stage of maturity the business is in along the Leadership Curve. This maturity benchmark is the diagnostic score. When you take a diagnostic in the lead up to each quarter, the outcomes will be organised into scores for the business as a whole and for each function. These scores show the gaps in the maturity to build a stronger, healthier and more effective team.
Answering the 7 Questions will help leaders understand the stage of maturity for any of the functions of the organisation (Vision, Market, Strategy etc). On each functional leadership curve you will see activities listed in the least, to most maturity, going up the curve. Skills activities on the upper side of the curve, systems activities on the lower side of the curve.
The 7 Questions will shape the clarity of the 6 functions of the organisation. If you don’t know the answer, that’s ok. Identify the gap as a goal to close.
When you ask and answer the 7 questions you naturally build alignment in the team every time you go through the process. For example, asking the vision question, ‘What is our vision, is it driven by our purpose and what is holding us back from reaching it?’, will do two things.
- Communicate what the team’s vision and purpose is (or isn’t)
- Align everybody to identifying barriers to delivering purpose and achieving vision.
A new member to the group will quickly learn the fundamentals of the organisation and how to move forward with clarity, together, as quickly as possible.
The 7 Questions will help you go deeper and deeper into both clarity and alignment on every cycle. Most importantly, they will help define what matters most to execute in the next quarter or half.
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