What’s Going On?


It’s a question we regularly hear. Maybe not as often as when we were children and our parents would want to know why we were covered in mud or why the bed sheets were draped across chairs or why we were sniggering conspiratorially when they walked into the room.

But there is one place where we don’t hear it enough or ask it enough – and it’s where we should be asking it – in our business.

If your business isn’t going according to plan or expectations, try answering this simple question – it can really help make you stop, step back and look at how to resolve the parts of your business that don’t work as they should.

I once helped a business owner get his business back into growth after it had flattened. He was frustrated that others were selling technically inferior products and yet winning business over his company and were growing. He didn’t understand why and was clearly angry. He wanted to know what was going on.

I looked at his customer base and target markets, at those competitors that were the cause of his anger and where they were winning business over him. In this case it was an easy question to answer.

The competitors focused on only one or two key market sectors – they were bigger players in those sectors and so won because they had built a stronger presence and reputation in them.

My client would sell his products to any who needed that solution and as such his company had a smaller presence in many sectors. He clearly needed to pick two or three of his best sectors and focus on becoming a big fish in those ponds.

Often asking, “What’s going on?” won’t reveal an answer immediately but will take some looking into. But it is a great question to ask because it plays on your natural instinct to try and answer questions you’re asked. (If I ask, “What’s 2 + 2?” you can’t help but answer.)

If something isn’t working out as planned, ask, “What’s going on?” It’s the first step to finding answers and then developing a strategy to resolve it.


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