Coaching for 2019

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Sunday, 17 February 2019

What's your strategy for action?


What’s your strategy for refuelling your car?

Or more precisely, what’s your trigger for action?
  • Seeing the fuel indicator get to 1/2 full or perhaps a 1/4?
  • Maybe it's reframing the dial and seeing that it's 3/4 empty?
  • Hearing the alarm tell you the tank is approaching empty?
  • Filling up every Saturday morning?
  • Heading for fuel when you’ve a long journey ahead?
  • When you notice a cheap price?
  • Only when you start to feel the panic about running out of petrol?
  • When you pass your favourite petrol station (for a while I frequented one such location due to the M&S food shop on site)
  • When you stop for a comfort break
  • When waiting to pick up the kids from a class
  • Or something else entirely?
  • Perhaps it's about exploring other options instead of a petrol fuelled car - electric? taxi and/or car hire.
Are you aware of the decision making criteria that you're using to support this trigger?
  • Lowest price
  • Lowest total annual cost
  • Lowest total lifetime cost
  • Retain maximum resale value for the car
  • Managing cashflow
  • Engine friendly - which I believe supports not leaving it till the alarm has gone off as we stir the bottom of the tank!
  • Minimising disruption to your day
  • Minimising detours
  • Efficient use of time
  • Access to car 100% of time with 150 miles capacity
  • Reducing stress
  • Predictability of your schedule
Criteria that each result in a very different trigger for refuelling.

The reason I ask, is that shortly I’m headed to refuel my car using a different strategy than the one I’ve used for years. A new strategy that will I believe will reduce my stress, use my spare time efficiently, minimise detours and I understand improve the performance of the engine.
You see, I’ve always resisted refuelling the car and my strategy for years, ok decades, has been the sound of the indicator telling me I have x miles till I run out!! Little did I know, whilst using this example on a recent supplier management workshop, that in addition to helping expand delegates’ thinking about the triggers suppliers might have for taking action to avoid problems, it would help me solve my own resistance to refuelling.


Understanding the decision making criteria and arising trigger people use for action can be a very useful tool for problem solving.

For example, in the supplier relationship management workshop we were discussing complaints being received about the service provided by a supplier. A supplier who believed their service was 5* worthy, and yet user feedback suggested it was *2. Once we started to explore the criteria both parties might have for taking action, it wasn't hard to see how problems might have arisen.

Even in the LikedIn post on the subject of refuelling the car it's easy to understand how the different criteria people are using could lead to heated debates if we were needing to find one optimal strategy for fuelling the car:
  • One fueller discounting the criteria for minimising stress (ie avoid the alarm strategy),
  • Another calculating the annual saving of always buying at the lowest price, and
  • Another getting annoyed at the frequency of arriving late for meetings having had to refuel to get to their destination.
What triggers for action might be fuelling ineffective practice in your life?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach

You might also find the post about using nature as our coach for supplier relationship management interesting.

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