Community Futures Meridian

Box 2167, 125 - 1st Avenue East, Kindersley, SK - Phone: (306) 463-1850

“What If?” Questions

  • June 1, 2017
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Often in our business and personal lives, we need to ask open-ended questions to help shift thinking—ours and others. These questions allow us to explore different ideas, to perhaps get us to look at our habits and traditions from a fresh viewpoint to see if they are relevant in today’s world. Sometimes just by asking, we will be lead in new and exciting directions. At other times, we may stay the course but the knowledge offers other options.

“What If?” questions are a wonderful tool to work through the challenges we are facing as business owners or managers. They allow a thoughtful conversation to explore ideas that may not have occurred to us. The “What If?” questions can help us think beyond our comfort zone and towards future possibilities.

In considering our “What If?” questions, we will need to think of our goals, to keep in mind our visions. When we ask what’s hindering us from achieving those goals, some questions may immediately come to mind. What if those barriers were not in front of us? How would we approach the problem? What if we had unlimited funds? What if we had enough staff? What if we had enough time?

Alternatively, we may need to ask questions from the point of view that there are limiting factors, or that we impose some constraints. What if our clients were only willing to pay half of what we charge? How could we survive? What if our foundation product or service was not profitable? What if our major client went out of business? What if we needed to build our new website in a week? Any of these, or other scenarios whether real or imaginary, can make us shift our thinking.

Here are two examples of “What If?” questions that may spark a healthy discussion in your businesses.

“What if we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do?” -Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel

“[What] if you could go back in time five years, what decision would you make differently? What is your best guess as to what decision you're making today you might regret five years from now?” -Patrick Lencioni, business author and speaker

The questions we ask are as important as the answers we give. They will help us reach our goals or maybe even change our goals. They help to define our business as we move forward.

What are the important “What If?” questions we need to ask ourselves, our colleagues and our staff?

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching