The process of finding a relevant and appropriate solution that matches the requirements of the business environment is business problem solving. Many organizations grow out of problem-solving processes. In the process of problem-solving, they find a demand for the product or service and expand on that idea to establish a business.
In some ways we can say that business problem solving is what leaders do. They pick out issues in processes or hindrances, predict them in order to allow for business continuity. These problems can be due to internal issues like lack of proper resource utilization, decreasing productivity, quality issues, organizational restructuring, etc., they can also occur due to external factors like new competitor launch, poaching of clients, etc.
The following are approaches one can follow during business problem solving
1) SWOT analysis
Map out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the situation that is presented. This will enable you to gain a in depth understanding of the problem, identify influencing factors, while identifying opportunities that can be capitalized on during the process of handling an issue.
2) Design thinking approach
This approach allows you to look at the big picture while tackling large scale issues in an organization. It involves picking out these simple problems, involving many people in the process of problem-solving and ensuring that the common needs are addressed.
Following are the few pointers for effective business solving:
1) Define the problem clearly
Enough time must be allotted to understand the problem clearly along with the context in which it is set in.
2) Look at it from different perspectives
The various business factors that influence the problems must be considered, a multitude of perspectives on the problem can be objectively analyzed and a plan of action can be established.
3) Brainstorm solutions
Once the problem is comprehended, the context is set, a team of people is ideal to come up with a multitude of ideas.
4) Narrow down the solution using decision making
After a discussion that is guided by a facilitator, one of the solutions must be picked to apply to the problem at hand.
5) Set standards for acceptance of solution
Once the solution is chosen, the standards of acceptance of the solution must be established which includes the impact it must have on the problem, to what extent must it mitigate the issue, within what time must the effect be significant, etc.
6) Validate the application of solution using standards
After the solution is applied, a panel of members must assess whether the solution has had the impact that it was expected to have and whether it passes all the standards that were set.
Even the best leaders at the top of the hierarchy in organizations sometimes overlook the details of a problem and jump to the problem-solving process. Following a process that details the definitive plan of action helps the individuals to focus on the core of the issue and find an appropriate business solution. Hence business problem solving is an essential skill for all employees and especially for those in the leadership role.