I believe that companies must define their brand in a way that moves both employees and clients, and to communicate that effectively. In order to do that, it is critical to have a deep understanding of the role sales, marketing, and communications strategy play within a company’s overall business.
Note that while a consultant always asks for information from the client in order to diagnose problems and find solutions, the quest is to find the information that really matters. This is how the concept “QUEST” was born.
- Strategic Thinking
If you think strategically about the most significant underlying factors that affect business performance, it is clear that employee motivation impacts customer behavior, and customer behavior needs to be positive in the relationship to secure new contracts, vertical sale opportunities and business referrals, so maintaining and increasing the motivation of the client companies we work with is valuable.
Q is for Qualities.
When managers are asked what qualities they most want their team members to bring to a given project, they may generate a list that includes responsibility, integrity, initiative, creativity, task orientation, persistence, clarity, co-operation, etc. These qualities exist in every company, and this is where potential skills arise.
- Which qualities would you like to see more of in yourself?
- Which would others on your team like to see more of, or less of?
Learning to use and express any specific quality or attribute is one kind of learning goal.
U is for Understanding.
Understanding requires more than just information; it requires a comprehension of all the components of a particular subject or system and the relationships among these components. You can have a great deal of information about a job or task without really understanding it. You may be able to state the mission of the company or of a given project, but do you really understand the mission sufficiently to be truly effective?
You should ask yourself: Given your current performance goals what, if understood better, would make success easier or more likely? Such goals might be stated in terms of, for example, “Expand my understanding of ….” (my co-workers, my boss, the customers, the competition, market dynamics, systems and processes, finance, obstacles, and so on).
E is for Expertise.
Expertise is what you call know-how or skill. It can be technical or emotional. Ask yourself what skills you have or could develop that would let you attain a higher level of performance. What skills are you learning that you could apply to your present role or project? Which of these skills could you learn from experience on the job, and which need some book or classroom learning?
Skills you could choose to develop might include computer literacy skills, negotiating skills, communication skills, accounting skills, technical skills, management or leadership skills, or you could choose to master a given body of knowledge. Once you develop these skills, they are available for you in a variety of future tasks.
S is for Strategic Thinking.
Strategic thinking can be viewed as a quality, a skill, or an understanding. But it is a distinct kind of thinking. It is the ability to step back from the trees and see the forest, to see past short-term goals and view long-range goals. It is a critical skill not just for a few managers and leaders, but for everyone in the organization. You need to ask yourself:
- How strategically am I thinking?
- Do I have a strategic perspective, or merely a tactical view?
- How clear are my priorities in the company?
- Are my current activities in line with my long-term goals?
- Am I thinking independently enough?
- Is my work life balanced and in harmony with the rest of my life?
- Is my definition of work self-driven?
- Do I see tasks in relation to other projects being completed?
- Do I see what has to be done in line with the overall mission of the team and company?
- Do I think strategically about my life?
Strategic thinking is about more than setting goals and targets in your work and in your life; it is about developing the ability to think strategically when you need to.
T is for Time.
All work is done in time and related to time, and understanding this relationship is critical to successful work. The best strategies and the best experts have failed because of an inability to come to terms with this fact.
- Do you complete your work on time?
- How aware are you of the time required to complete the tasks on your to-do-list?
- Are you feeling constantly pressured by time?
- Are you constantly behind on time lines?
- Do you procrastinate?
You may want to consider setting a learning goal around the relationship between time, task and priorities.
The whole idea of QUEST is to provide leadership through dialogue and discussion, to ask questions and to promote discussion and creative thinking around those questions, and thus to help leaders broaden their horizons and persuade others within the mission to do the same.