Basic Building Blocks of Business

Are you treating symptoms?  Or addressing root causes?  After years of looking deeper and deeper into business problems in an attempt to get leverage on root causes, I’ve come to believe these four building blocks form the basis for business – at least it’s one way of looking at it – one that provides access for change.

When you’ve reached the point when you say “There has to be a better way,” look here for answers.

Conversation

Every idea begins as an internal conversation and moves outward toward manifestation through the medium of conversation.  Most of our working day is spent in conversation, translating desires into words we communicate, clarify, challenge, develop, choose, commit to, and act upon.

Most conversation just happens.  Principles, rules, and rituals of conversation clearly exist but seldom surface as subjects for design or improvement.  Business learns little from the social sciences about conversation, and applies even less.

Have you listened to the conversations going on around you?  Are they working?

Exchange

It may seem a little silly to say that business is about exchange.  After all, we pay a lot of attention to the dollars coming in and the goods and services going out.  Or do we?

Most of our interactions with people and organizations involve exchanges, and most are never documented or fully discussed.  Even though we learn early in life never to give anything away unless we’re getting something in return, we’re often surprised to discover what we’re really giving and receiving.

What trades are you involved in today?  Are you happy with the way your trades are going?

Deciding

The study of how decisions get made is called Political Science.  We’re well aware that politics in the office and at home affect our ability to achieve desired results.

Deciding involves getting all options on the table and understanding the consequences of each option.  That’s a tall order for most decisions and decision-makers.

How are decisions made in your business?  Are you happy with your results?

Prediction

Every decision you make is based on your prediction of what’s going to happen in the future.  You might say that your business day is made or lost based on how well you guessed about what came across your path.

We like to pretend we make predictions based on data, although we’ve all read that past results do not guarantee future ones.  Besides, we try not to look too closely at the data, because it just isn’t that good at helping us predict.  We tend to go with our gut.

How do you make decisions?  What kind of data do you trust?  What is your gut saying about your predictions?

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