What keeps you awake at night?

In March I was privileged to see one of the best presentations I have ever seen from a Chief Executive to her Board.

What I had expected was the traditional report commenting on Operations, Finance, HR, etc. What I got was a clear message of what kept her awake at night, and let me assure you after the presentation every member of that Board did not sleep well that night.

Now this is a highly successful, award winning and financially stable business which on the face of it would not appear to have any issues in it at all.

And that was the point of it!

It’s so easy for complacency to set in, and complacency leads to a slow decline in standards which in turn opens the door for major issues to walk through.

The Chief Executive set out four very plausible scenarios which, if they were left unchecked and unchallenged would have a fundamental detrimental effect on the business. Approaching them in this way allowed everyone to take on board and appreciate what was involved and thankfully how they could be avoided.

The Board were asked as they left after the meeting to reflect on what kept them awake at night and to raise this in its simplest form.

The reason why this presentation was so effective was because it was so real, the language so pure and so the impact so much harder.

We often try and frame our observations and opinions in the language of business, professional expectations and dare I mutter it’s name, political correctness.  But what’s wrong in asking those we know and trust…

What keeps you awake at night??

You might just learn something incredibly valuable!