4 Proven Techniques For Effective Business Problem Solving
There are several fundamentals on which your business stands, remains stable and soars at the heights for you. These fundamentals are Research and Development of your product and services, Marketing along with market analysis and implementations, sales, accounts, customer support, and human resources. These fundamentals remain the same regardless of the size of your company.
Ideally, for your company to run smoothly, all the fundamentals must remain in balance. However, more often than not, the real scenario is far away from the ideal. As problems arise every day, your business needs new optimizations every day. And it is within these problems that you will actually find the job of having a business.
In any way, it is very important for you to look at your operations and make them as error-free as possible. But, how to do that? Well, this is what this blog post is all about- Actionable steps to business problem-solving.
So firstly you have to determine what is the actual problem?
Running a company is not easy. Hundreds of things come at you from all different directions. In that case, a lot of time, you might not even realize that there is any problem. So when you see that everything is not the way it is supposed to be. Find out the actual problem.
There could be a problem in any of the fundamental aspects that we discussed above. Moreover, A lot of times, it is possible to have problems in multiple areas of business. And knowing the area of the problem is the first and most important step towards solving the problem.
And then, understand the seriousness of the problem?
At times, the problem at hand requires a solution. But you might not need to act on it immediately. It is so much like a dent in your ship. But other times, the problems might thrash right under your ship. And it becomes so severe that you need to work on it immediately. If not, the problem might just sink your entire business.
Some of such severe problems include not having adequate funds, improper marketing, and sales strategy, not enough human resources, shortage of technology, improper leadership, and more.
However, at the end of the day, you get to decide on the severity of the problem.
Apply proper damage control
Once you figure out the seriousness of the problem, think about what you can do immediately. A few problems may not have an instant solution. But they can definitely have instant damage control. So, by the time you reach the root of your problem and bring the solution, apply the appropriate damage control.
And solve the problem from the very root
A lot of time, a problem is not just the bits that appear on the surface. In fact, it has a deeper end than we could think of. So, every time you find a problem, give it an analytical approach. Give it a helicopter view and find out the factors contributing to your problem. Doing so will help you solve the problem from its deepest point. And along with that, will also help you streamline other operations affecting it.
To know the problem from its root cause, here are a few techniques you can implement.
Apply SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat. A lot of times, companies use this model for competitive analysis. But it can also give you insights into the operations and management of your company. It helps you figure out the strong points and wear points of every operation of all the departments. Similarly, it always helps you pinpoint your weakness and threats. And most often, the problem in your company is underlined with weakness and probable threats. And to identify it and look deeply at it, SWOT analysis could be your best tool.
Conduct Market Research
You surely pay a lot of your time and efforts to make your operations smooth. But a lot of the time, your problem is outside your office. That’s because the market keeps changing all the time. The reason for the change could be anything including competitors, the change in demand and supply, recession or economic boom, or anything! The market is unpredictable and it can change at any moment. Sometimes the change is obvious and sometimes it is out of the blue. But even with the most minute change can shake the very fundamentals of your business.
In that case, you need to keep conducting market research and analysis. So you can steer the growth of your company strategically. And along with that, it will also help you to identify the problem and solve it.
Refer Case Studies
A lot of companies like to document their previous problems and their solutions. And it is not a bad idea. But it can also be overwhelming and hence, most companies do not prefer to do it. But there are a lot of business journals online and offline that document some of the most challenging problems and breakthroughs. In fact, there are different journals and magazines for different areas of business. And being a business person, it is always a good idea to catch up with those journals and magazines.
It gives you a different perspective on the problems that you have at hand. Moreover, it might even encourage you to do things differently to avoid certain problems. Moreover, it is always good to be informed about the business world in general.
Discuss with your team and mentors
While it is true that a team of like-minded people helps you smooth your office operations. But sometimes, it takes the differences that make you look for your solutions differently. And that’s how your teammates can help you out. And usually, mentors are more experienced. They have generally seen the more perplexing scenario in the business and in the market. And you could surely rely on their judgment to solve your problems. The goal is to solve your problems quickly and efficiently.
And if taking advice from your teammates, peers and mentors can accelerate the process then you must always consider it.
No matter the problem or situation, it is always a good idea to think out of the box. It not only forces you to have unique solutions. But also, puts you in distinct positions which you can leverage to take your business to new heights. Along with that, you also find ways to optimize your finances and resources. After all, problem-solving in business is all about creativity and implementation.
And while you make a point to look at the solutions creatively, make sure you have more than one approach to it. This way will have multiple backs up plans if you get stuck.
Track the progress
All your thoughtful, well-discussed, creative solutions won’t be enough if you do not analyze and optimize them. So, when you come up with solutions, make sustainable plans to analyze them.
While following the above-mentioned steps,
There are four effective problem-solving techniques that you can use:
Six Thinking Hats
Six Thinking Hats focuses on identifying the problems and their solutions from different perspectives. It involves consulting with team members from different departments and ranks. And that’s how you get a complete overview of the situations and their solutions. It involves data research and analysis as well as creative brainstorming.
This problem-solving technique opens space for different ideas and removes roadblocks from a solution.
Lightning Decision Jam
Lightning Decision Jam is one of the most important problem-solving strategies. The problem-solving process requires more of a creative upfront. It does not only set things right but allows you to have fun along the way.
In this problem-solving technique, you invite a few qualified people from your team and discuss a certain problem. These people put their problems and their probable solutions on a sheet of paper without any discussions. One by one, they present it to the host and discuss it collectively.
After which the priority of solution is then decided by a collective vote and the solution is put into execution accordingly. The best advantages of this technique are:
- Your entire team in alignment with the problem, the solution, and the implementation
- Everyone in the team has divided responsibility
- Everyone in the team takes accountability for each other.
Hence, the result of the implied solution is seen clearly.
Problem Definition Process
Problems can be complex but when you identify the problem, the solution becomes clear with each step. That’s exactly what you do in this problem-solving technique.
Identify the problem and go to the root cause of it. The particular problem could be affecting many other operations too. Hence, sometimes it is easy and obvious for you to be misled. And other times, you might see the problems that are at the top of the surface.
So, this problem simply involves identifying a problem at a deeper level. You begin by identifying a focus question and exploring the ways in which it manifests before splitting into five teams who will each consider the problem using a different method: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion, or wishful thinking. Teams develop problem objective and problem-solving ideas in line with their method before then feeding them back to the group.
The 5 Whys
This problem-solving technique not only goes as deep as the problem but at the heart of the organization. It aligns with your vision, mission, and your practices to achieve it. It is highly effective in helping a group to find the root cause of any problem or challenge and conduct root cause analysis that will deliver results.
By beginning with the creation of a problem statement and going through five stages to refine it into a root cause problem statement, The 5 Whys provides everything you need to guide a group through a root cause analysis with ease.
World Cafe is a powerful problem-solving technique that directs your team’s attention to solving complex problems. This problem-solving technique enables this approach by creating a relaxed atmosphere. The participants self-organize and explore relevant topics for problem-solving purposes.