(Check out the free Strategic Readiness Inventory© and TPQ© tools at the bottom of this blog)

Like many of you, I wake up many days and think “what the (fill in your own expletive).” The minute I think we might be inching toward normalcy, there is another disruption. There are days when I feel lost, alone, confused, uncertain, helpless …(Shall I continue? I think you get it)

One thing I know is that I need to keep pivoting into strategic thinking. Heck it’s what I have helped clients with for over 20 years, whether it is strategic planning, strategic facilitation, or helping them engineer better conversations. Yet I sit here like the cobbler’s son feeling like I have no shoes because at times I am feeling lost and alone, uncertain what to do next.

Since the start of the COVID upheaval, I have challenged myself with three questions. They aren’t the only questions, they may not be the best questions, but they are questions I think about almost daily. I have found these three questions turn my brain from either day to day fire fighting or frozen in blinding fear like the deer caught in the headlights of an 8 lane super highway.

I don’t spend the whole day thinking about these questions and, quite honestly, it is mentally exhausting to do so. I sip them like a nice glass of wine, I don’t quaff them down like the cheap draft beer of my college days. As these questions ruminate through my senses, they have caused me to rethink my business model and even package up or focus my business offerings differently. As proof, that is where this blog series came from. I know we need to ask better strategic questions and a core value of mine is to strive to be in service to others.

I see improving our strategic discipline as a high value need for all of us. That is what came from the second TPQ© below. It is what caused me to repackage my strategic planning and strategic facilitation services. It even led me to create the free Strategic Readiness Inventory© you see here as a tool to help others.

So try these three Thought Provoking Questions© (TPQ’s) for yourself and/or your team.

What does our world (business or otherwise) look like on the other side?

This might seem like a trite question because who knows and we may not be able to conceive what the other side could be. If we agree there is a fog obscuring our view, can we start to make out forms and shapes through that fog? There are things we do know and we can start use those things to help us “see” with some clarity.

What do our customers need now and in the future?

Keep in mind that our customers maybe internal or external. What they need now might be very different than what they need in the future. For example, this question led me to create an Interactive Virtual Learning (IVL) program for my clients called Virtually Engaged on how to facilitate virtual meetings more effectively. That was a here and now. However, thinking to the future led me to everyone’s need to be agile, adaptable and disciplined strategically.

What do people need now and in the future?

This can cause us to think more broadly than just our immediate horizon or our own microcosm. For example, I think from here on out people are going to be craving connectedness in ways we have never before and this time will shape how we think about our work or vocation.