If we’ve learned anything from the Jurassic Park movies, it’s this: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
While you probably aren’t tasked with cloning dinosaurs at work, asking, “Can we? Should we? Will we?” is actually a valuable practice. As a leader in my company, I’ve noticed that focusing on these three questions before making a business decision can pave the way to greater success.
This question often arises in research and development. After all, it is exciting to solve a problem. Can we do it? Yes! We can figure it out!
Of course, a simple reflexive answer to a question like “Should we change to an alternative fuel?” must be dissected with follow-up questions: It is physically possible? How much will it cost? How difficult will it be? What are the required resources? Are there policies or regulations to consider? Answers to these inquiries make it easier to address the next question.
Let’s say you set out to solve a problem. Will anyone care about or want your solution? Digging deep here reveals whether solving the problem is worthwhile. If you develop a new fuel strategy, will it work? If you come up with a new plan, can you sell it to your boss?
You won’t know until you dive more deeply into what you truly need. You also want to know if the decision or solution you’re betting on represents far more risk than you can or should take on.
Finally, all this consideration could be for naught, depending on the answer to the third question.
Is the move you’re contemplating — like switching from diesel to electric vehicles— a high priority? Is it worth the risk? If your organization has the will to make a change, create a new product or offer a new service, it makes more sense to spend time on the “can we” phase. If a new venture won’t even get out of the gate, it’s probably better to spend your resources elsewhere.