8 key questions to answer before defining a new business model

Patricea Pop

9 minutes read

Have you ever done something desperate to cling to the past? I have and the key to transformation is learning to let go of those things that no longer work sooner than later. But how do you identify them when you’re so attached?

Through the magic of open-ended questions.

For so many reasons, many of us have long stopped with the answers we had, adopted the conclusions of the majority and forgotten to look at the world through the eyes of the beginner. And this happens both personally and professionally.

Even organisations hold on to old models, approaches and structures but in the search for the new model of work and business, we need new perspectives.

Here are 8 questions to help us in this endeavour:

1. What is the biggest lesson I have learned?

Hard times teach us valuable lessons if we are willing to learn. Ego, fragile emotional state, lack of flexibility and perspective cause us to avoid vital information and not look at the experience through constructive lenses.

Failing forward becomes an essential skill for progress and transformation: no blame, no scapegoating, just acknowledging and correcting mistakes.

So how will you measure your mistakes and successes and how will you learn from them from now on?

2. What are the beliefs underlying the organisational structure?

It is said that in life you don’t get what you want but what you believe and crises come to burn outdated patterns of thinking. Those invisible thoughts that make up our belief system influence us too much to be ignored.

What did you think was essential that isn’t?

I’ve heard many times lately:
I didn’t think we’d be able to adapt online
I’ve found that people are just as productive when working from home

It’s time to evaluate the beliefs that have been proven false, the ones that are holding us back and identify the beliefs we need to cultivate so we can build a new model.

3. What leadership style should be cultivated?

After an adventurous experience that showed us how well the “old” model works, both in terms of structure and in terms of leadership approach, the leadership question arises naturally.

More connection, flexibility and compassion are just some of the things employees need right now, but how leadership will change in the wake of this crisis remains to be seen.

4. If you could leave a “legacy” behind you, what would that be?

“Legacy leadership” and the imprint we leave behind when we leave a team, a career or a company starts to play an important role now and you don’t need to be part of top management to embrace this type of thinking. In fact, given the wave of resignations that is coming and which has already begun, the extent to which leaders have prepared and equipped their people and teams will play a defining role in the future of the organisation.

5. How clear are the boundaries of the organisation?

At a time when physical and virtual space, confidential information, time, intellectual opinions and emotional states can make the difference between success and failure, between satisfying and frustrating collaborations, boundaries are becoming increasingly important.

Where does my space or time begin and end, my time vs. the organization’s?

It’s just one of the questions on the lips of many and it speaks to the need for clarity for both employees and employers. At organisational level, this should be translated into specific policies, best practices, roles and responsibilities.

6. How can you bring the fun back in your business/career?

Perhaps the hardest thing is to bring pleasure and fun back into everyday activities, especially after a period that was exhausting for so many of us. We spend too much time at work to forget to cultivate pleasure.

All we need to do to improve the atmosphere in the workplace is to bring an infusion of fun, without being rigid about it and without feeling like we need to tick off another item on the agenda.

7. What transformation have you had that will be valuable to your ideal client?

For sure there were some tough and exhausting moments as well as inspired decisions, revelations, creativity and focus. This is good material for a new transformation story to tell your audience.

What you’ve learned and applied is now part of your DNA and all that you need to do is to transfer the spirit of adventure further in your services and products.

8. What will really work?

There is definitely no single right answer and the model will not be perfect. Nobody will get it right the first time and probably those who have this expectation are starting off on the wrong foot.

Knowing what you already know, all that remains to be done is to be prepared for a period of exploration, testing and evaluation, which will be full of ups and downs.

If lack of perspective is one of the weak links in this chain of transition, questions can definitely help.

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Written by Patricea Pop


It is said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a simple step and mine started a few summers ago when I wanted to do something for myself, so I enrolled in a coaching programme. This gave me the chance to look at myself from a different perspective: little did I know that it would take me to a different career path, that of being a coach.

After more than 12 years in the corporate world which taught me many lessons and several years of preparation for my new role, I now support people in business to improve their self leadership skills. I think leadership is an inside job and it is part soul searching, part strategy and part relationship skills.

I love writing about work and organizations because it is the place where we invest heavily our time and energy and we often end up feeling stressed, trapped and dissatisfied. My strength relies on my resilience, critical thinking and intuition and I believe it is an honour to accompany someone on their inner journey.

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