Business problems comes in various ways and with various challenges. The ability to resolve them in a timely manner goes a long way to determining the impact it has on the entire business. A business problem left hanging or not properly resolved has the tendency to impact negatively on the entire business and can crumble the entire business unit.
To reach a conclusion on how decisions are taken in order to solve most problems in the workplace, certain steps are considered. These steps, to a large extent have come to be seen or rather known as a standard process to problem solving. We shall take a brief look at such process in this short piece. This is a brief explanation of analysis of business problems, part of my learnings from the prestigious Lagos business school.
To resolve business problems and make an informed decision, the followings are considered worth noting:
- Understand the situation: understanding the situation around the problem(s) at hand is very key. To do this, there is the need to raise questions like what, why, when, where, who and how. You want to know what the problem actually is, why do we have the problem(s), when did the problem happen, where did it happen, how did it happen and who is involved in the problem. The answer you provide to these questions would go a long way in helping to formulate a problem statement, which ultimately helps in identifying the problem, and to ultimately understand the situation.
- Identify the right problem: when you give correct objective answers to the various questions afore mentioned, you will be able to form a problem statement, which in turn helps to identify what the actual problem is.
- What goal is to be achieved: here we look at your objective. What do you intend to achieve with your stated objective? Be clear about it. Here, what we are after is to know what is expected to happen when the decision is made.
- Generate your alternatives/options: in most of the situations or problems, looking deep into them, we discover that we are provided with enough alternatives about the problem at hand. But in using such alternatives, it is advised that we limit ourselves to not more than three to four alternatives or options.
- Identify the criteria: these are the conditions which our alternatives or options must meet in trying to attain the established objectives.
- Next is to evaluate our alternatives using the established criteria. Here we ensure that both qualitative and quantitative issues are examined. Look at data if there are, do not shove such data aside, there is a reason why such data is given. Establish the trade-offs, opportunity cost and consequences. Look into the long term versus short term outcomes.
- When you have juggled together what you have in the afore mentioned, you then make your choice or decision. The most optimal decision is the one that meets the criteria that you have set the best; that ultimately fulfills your objective(s).
- Finally, you should now develop an action plan: this will show how you are going to implement the decision(s) you have taken. It shows the risks associated with the decision and how you intend to mitigate or minimize those risks.