The Six Questions
Q1. Who will we sell to?
(The markets, verticals and geography that we will focus on.)
Q2. What will we sell?
(The primary focus of our solution/product offering to the target market.)
Q3. Why will they buy?
(Resulting customer experience.)
Q4. Why will they buy from us?
(and not from a competitor? – competitive advantage)
Q5. What/who are the channels/partners
required to implement the above?
Q6. What are the critical internal capabilities
necessary to implement the above?
(5S’s: systems, structure, staff, skills, shared values)
The focus of the KappaEast approach to strategic planning is complete, concise answers to six questions that define strategy and provide critical focus. Effective execution of the strategy requires that the answers, and their underlying rationale, are consistent across the management team and committed to.
Any management team or executive can provide answers to the six questions for their business – articulate, right-sounding and, most often, useless.
To be of any value, the answers must be of sufficient specificity and detail that they provide a clear focus for execution – it is obvious to everyone what must get done next, in each function, it is obvious how to allocate the budget and settle the ever-present internal conflicts over priorities for product development, marketing programs, hiring, partners and sales campaigns.
If the answers don’t settle significant internal conflicts, resolve differences or feel like you’re betting the company and not keeping all your options open, then they are probably not effective.
So, this is a two step process:
The first is to make clear why statements such as – “The global 2000; an end-to-end solution suite; increase revenue by leveraging industry leading technology; we understand, and add value to, your business; a ubiquitous partner ecosystem; customer focused quality” – are not answers that get you anywhere.
The second is to provide the means, process and facilitation, that enable the team to confront and resolve the issues that the questions represent at a significant, meaningful level and ultimately achieve consensus on a set of substantive answers.