The ability to analyze and make decisions is one of the most important qualities of anyone in a leadership and management position.
How to systematically analyze any situation
- What does the information I have really mean or reflect?
- What are the questions I should be asking in order to increase my understanding of the situation?
- Who are the people who have the information and answers to my questions?
- Ask the questions and accumulate the required information.
- What are the fears, expectations, limits and points of view of the involved parties?
- What have I learned, and what am I going to do about it?
Example: Imagine that your salesforce reports that customers are demanding delivery of your products to their store two times a day, at 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM, instead of the current delivery schedule of 3 times a week. What do you do?
Begin the analysis.
What does this mean? The customers needs or desires have changed. Our salesforce has detected a change in the marketplace.
What questions do I need to ask to understand this? Why is the customer requesting the change? Who requested the change, is it driven by costs, lack of inventory space, new management, competitors? What do our people think about this? What customers are requesting the change?
Who are the people with the information and answers to my questions? Your sales-force and logistics department. The CEO, purchasing managers and warehouse managers of our customers. Who is going to contact them and get more exact information about the situation?
Expectations and points of view of those involved? The sales-force knows that without this change they will lose customers and market share. The customer’s executives and purchasing managers have found an method to reduce inventory and stocking costs with your competitor. The warehouse managers are losing personnel and control and are unhappy. There are significant costs associated with implementing and operating the program. Your competitors are aggressively investing in order to take away your market share.
What have I learned and what am I going to do about it? You discover that a competitor is providing deliveries twice a day, and stocking the customers shelves, reducing costs for the customer. They have made significant investments in trucks and personnel in order to provide this service. Your top 20 customers are affected now. Failure to provide equal or improved service will result in the loss of the customers and your market share. It’s time to bring in the company decision-makers and create an appropriate solution and response.