NYTimes article cites the four key questions that the incoming CEO of IBM used to help set direction

The New York Times  this past weekend ran an article on Sam Palmisano, who is retiring after about a decade as CEO of IBM. Particularly interesting to me were the four questions he devised as a tool to help get key people thinking in productive new ways.

 "The four questions, he explains, were a way to focus thinking and prod the company beyond its comfort zone and to make I.B.M. pre-eminent again. He presented the four-question framework to the company’s top 300 managers at a meeting in early 2003 in Boca Raton, Fla."

Those questions:

 • “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”

• “Why would somebody work for you?”

• “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”

• “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”

 Seems to me those questions — especially the first — are equally useful for business ventures a lot smaller than IBM, including those of us who are setting up new businesses or consulting ventures, reinventing careers, or taking a fresh look at whether we're as effective as we could be. 

Further, a savvy sales person could incorporate them into a consultative selling approach, adapting these questions into a form to be asked of potential prospects … thereby establishing the need for your product or service.

NYTimes article on Sam Palmisano's four key questions