Step 3: Building Consensus in Executive Sessions
Open Options recognizes that when executives are faced with important decisions, the question that is always asked is “what should we do about this issue”. Executives often individually formulate an opinion on what should be done, based on their particular knowledge and expertise, and then robustly defend that opinion when debating the issue with their peers. The Open Options process challenges executives to look at issues very differently.
In the Executive Sessions, a diverse client team exchanges information and perspectives to develop a concise description of the issue. The starting point for these discussions is a summary of the information gathered and organized through a pre-workshop questionnaire. After all, it is much easier to begin by reaching agreement on the inputs to strategy rather than agree on what the final strategy should be.
In the Executive Sessions, the focus is on building consensus regarding:
- Who are the most important players (competitors, regulators, suppliers, etc.) in the situation?
- What can each of these players do to influence the situation?
- What does each of these players want?
Instead of having to present and defend an opinion about what should be done, the participants are instead provided a venue to share their individual and aggregate knowledge about the issue. The entire group is raised to a higher level of understanding because rather than only having their own patch of knowledge, every individual is exposed to the whole quilt of knowledge.
At the end of the group sessions, the team has agreed on the inputs to strategy as a structured description of the problem, including possible remaining uncertainties or contrary views captured as sensitivity analyses. Following the workshops, the game theory technical tools are then used to “connect the dots” to understand the implications of these inputs.
Read About How Open Options Reveals Insights Using Game Theory