21 Questions

How do we get to work?
When do we get to work?
When do we leave work?
When do we go on holiday?
When do we go home?
How do we go home?
How do we get wherever we’re going?
How do we get back from wherever it is we’ve been?
How do we use the car?
Where do we find the keys?
What are we going to do about those shoes that we have to put on?
Should we put the left one on first or the right one first?
Should you ask the government for absolutely every single decision that you have to make?
Should you have sugar in your tea?
Should you have butter on your toast?
Should you add some marmalade?
What if you haven’t got any marmalade?
What are you going to do then?
Are you going to call Downing Street and ask them for the marmalade hotline to see whether the marmalade might be available somewhere along the line?

Or rather perhaps, 19 Questions. In this case of 165 words in 32 seconds. From veteran broadcaster on his daily ‘Independent Republic of Mike Graham’ Talk Radio show from London.

Railing against those who inexplicably have a bigger enemy than the coronavirus.

Come now, #stayalert people.

What tickled me about this, more than his exasperated crescendo delivery, was how he used the tactic of his political foes against them. Namely, listing long several largely red herring, inconsequential or out-of-context queries. Aimed at wrong-footing the unwary with wayward angles.

As with pretty much all journalism, the wild accusation screamed from the rooftops, everybody remembers. The subsequent correction, record-set-straight rebuttal or unequivocally proved denial registers with hardly anyone.

The selling relevance of these questions is how you can shape such a roll yourself.

There is an issue. One you can resolve. Your prospect must surely want rid of it. Yet not everyone shares your view.

So what happens when such tricky state is allowed to persist?

How would things likely deteriorate?

Turn these unpleasant future states into your own question series.

Thinking generically, here’s a readily adaptable standard dozen from around our field;

who pays for the issue?

who calculates the cost of the issue?

who suffers from the lost time?

who gets hit with delay from time diverted?

how many other streams/projects are likely to get pushed back?

who is going to run those imminent more and more reports?

who gets lumbered being firefighter?

what ongoing projects are currently late?

which upcoming projects cannot afford to be stymied?

where is market share most vulnerable?

where is growth already tough?

where is resource brittle?

With many more besides available. Their point being to highlight how delicate the future is going to be if the issue is not addressed. And addressed right now.

As an extra, how about this observation from this week for heralding a vital spot of business reframing;

“History shows those most likely to survive a pandemic – physically and economically – are those who deal with the world as it is, not as they would wish it.”

Paul Nuki ‘Global Health Security Editor’ London based broadsheet The Telegraph


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