Friday, February 26, 2010


Is it possible to be in an authentic relationship with a competitor? What are the risks? What are the rewards?

There are examples aplenty of trade groups and professional associations where folks that compete in the marketplace band together for the benefit of all... but these do not have authenticity as the target. My experience in these groups is a high degree of protection over our dirty laundry.

So, I'm listening to a friend talk about his group of CEO's that are all in the same business, they are similarly sized, and they have some level of "geographic boundary" but are still competing for the same customer. And, they've formed a group with the stated desire of "coopetition"... that is, to compete cooperatively. They have agreed upon norms around expected behaviors. Confidentiality is key. Not raiding each others' employees is part of their agreement. They are openly sharing business and life issues and there is a synergy occuring between their various strengths and skills. It seems to be working for the benefit of all in that there is tremendous growth occuring in their respective businesses.

It made me curious. Am I just living in an old paradigm by thinking this is unusual? What do you think? How does this kind of competitive-cooperative thinking show up in your world?

Be well,


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is the Best Question?

And then he offered, "The value people like you bring to our table is not only asking good questions, but helping us ask the right questions. And, I've noticed that the questions I want to ask as CEO of a big organization are quite different then the questions I asked as I was moving up through the ranks. And sometimes, I forget that and fall into old scripts."

Give me an example, I asked.

"Well, when I check in with a tactical question... "is the report completed?" for example, I get a tactical response- yes or no. Not very high value. If I ask a strategic question... "how will this report move us toward our desired outcomes?" I get a higher level response. And the home run is when I ask a generative question... "what's the story we're making up about the data in this report?" That's when I get the best from my people."

So, what's the best question for you to be asking today?



Friday, February 19, 2010

What's the Good Thing That Might Happen?

When I notice fear or resistance toward doing something or facing a difficult situation it is easy to go to the question... "What's the bad thing that might happen?" to get to the root of the fear.

The follow up question that I often forget to ask though is... "What's the good thing that might happen?"

It's the classic tension between fear and love... fear of the bad thing against the possibility of experiencing the joyful love in the good thing. We set our lives up to avoid the bad but then never get the good.

The fun part comes when we are willing to take the risk of the bad thing happening in order to pursue the good thing... and notice that the fear of the bad thing was all in our head anyway.

Go figure.