Question: Why? Answer: Why Not!

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During our college years, many of us probably heard the urban legend about the final exam that had only one question. The question was: “Why?” The student that received an A+ on the exam simply answered: “Why Not?”

The same holds true for your business:

Why launch that new product?

Why build your new facility?

Why move your business to Hawaii?

Why upgrade your website and sales material?

Unfortunately, in the real world, the answer is not as simple as “why not”. However, I believe the answer to that question is not “why not” but: “Is my management team up for the challenge?”

If you have any type of new product, project or challenge facing your business, ask your management team if they are up to the task. Remember, it is the human capital that makes your business a success. It is not yours sales material, your website, or your location. It is the people that walk out the door at 5:00PM everyday that make your business a success.

One of the best ways I have learned to challenge myself and my partners is to conduct brainstorming meetings every couple of weeks. The purpose of these meetings is to move closer to solving current and long-term challenges facing my businesses.

Here are a few tips for conducting brainstorming meetings:

  • Ask a specific question that you want an answer to. The more precise the better. 
  • When you conduct brainstorming meetings, don’t evaluate the ideas created during the session. If any of the ideas are criticized during the meeting, all of the creativity present in the room will immediately shut-off.
  • Write down all of the ideas generated during the meeting
  • Evaluate these ideas a few days after the brainstorming session
  • Conduct a “Best of the best” meeting and rank the ideas
  • Select the top 2-3 ideas and incorporate them into the next version of your business plan

So the next time someone asks you the question “Why?” answer it with a few ideas generated from your most recent brainstorming session.

Comments

  1. Great article. But at least within small business, it could really be a good idea to answer “Why?” with “Why not”, meaning that if there are no good reasons not to implement something (and “my management team isn’t up for the challenge” is of course such a reason), then act!

  2. Andy LaPointe says

    Tobias,

    Thanks for your comments. You are right any size business from one person to 1000 employee, the answer would be “why not” All of my articles are geared toward small businesses 1-15-25 employees. So if the company only has one person, that person is still the management team.

    Some small business owners seem to believe since they are only 1 or 2 people they don’t have to think like multi-national corporations. Even if your competitors are multi-national corporations is it always wise to think like the leader in your field, not matter how small or large your really are. Remember, even a one person company has a management team – the owner.

  3. Where? is another important question to ask, as in, “Where is our industry going to be in 5 years?” It’s a good exercise to get management on board with changes that seem more obvious in that perspective.