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So much IQ, so why aren't we getting anywhere?

IQ: I'm not here to talk about one of the joys of living in the UK ( I queue, therefore I am*) but instead the importance of IQ to business success.

It would seem simple, no? The more smart people you have, the more likely you are to succeed. If only this was the case my friends, if only this was the case.

I wrote previously about how having the smartest solution isn't enough and how having good EQ is vital to a business but even before then there are several key components that can vastly improve the IQ in your business. From our experience at Shiageto Consulting, we have distilled 5 things that businesses can do that will mean the difference between a good strategy and one that actually drives a business forward:

1) Make sure you are answering the right question - to paraphrase the great Einstein (Albert, that is) "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" and "If I only had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes". Too often, businesses do not take the time to actually define the right question in a clear enough way so that they actually come up with the right solution.

2) Think bigger - in a way this a subset of the point above but it's important enough to call out on its own. Too often businesses focus their efforts on addressing symptoms and coming up with solutions for these (e.g. how do we answer more customer queries) rather than going big, going hairy, going visionary (e.g. how do we design things so customers don't have to raise these queries). Invariably, whatever you are trying to work out, you can always think bigger.

3) Make sure you are tapping into the latest and best info, people and thinking so that you can lead by fact - too often businesses create solutions based on what they know or what they think or even worse they use 'wonky' info to base big decisions on without having the full facts; markets move on and what worked previously may no longer work as well so having the most up-to-date fact-based info can help you make much better decisions when deciding what your next steps should be.

4) Make sure everyone is aligned with your problem and your solution - too often disagreement and misalignment means that the smart answer you come up with will just sit on a shelf somewhere gathering dust - anecdotally about 75% of the smart solutions I helped clients design as a consultant never saw light of day. Making sure you engage and hear key stakeholders' views along the way is vital (this is where great EQ can help).

5) Take your solution for a test drive - it's great, you come up with a new strategy or design a new product and you're absolutely sure it will bring success so you can sit back, relax and focus on working out how to implement it. It's foolproof, what could go wrong? Well, in our experience, there is always a fool just round the corner. Using techniques like wargaming or pre-mortems is a simple way to actually validate the efficacy of the solution. After all, you wouldn't buy an expensive car without testing it out first, and a good business solution is much more important than a car.

Look at the list above, can you honestly say that your business is doing all this?

No? Well then, don't worry, there's help at hand. In my upcoming blogs I'll talk a little more on how you can do some of the above more effectively and, obviously, Shiageto is always there to help

* Apologies, terrible joke

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