Simon Terry

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Flip the question

John F Kennedy in a famous piece of rhetoric said ‘ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country’. We can all benefit from the perspective of a flipped question.

As you congratulate yourself on your 3% conversion rate, do you wonder what went wrong with 97% of your efforts? As you hear about the engagement of employees are engaged, do you ask what engagement you have in their work and life? When you talk of driving employee motivation what if your not in the driver’s seat? When you measure your market share do you also consider your share of wallet? What happens if you flipped all the positive performance indicators in your business? And now the negative ones?

Taken too far like Kennedy’s quote flipping can become trite rhetoric. However there are moments when it can open a new insight, particularly in settled and traditional modes of business and thinking.

Organisations that are successful and dominant in their industries are inclined to accept the usual logic. Success is its own momentum and brings its own blinkers. Many times the attackers will come with new metrics or a flip of the traditional logic.

Ask not how this data confirms your thinking – ask how your thinking is challenged by the data. That’s where the Big Learning lies.


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