We operate our businesses in a very complex environment in today’s world and as such there might be very critical decisions we need to take that might be affecting our businesses negatively. Business problems such as when there is a decline in your top line (revenue) or your cost line is increasing just to mention a few.
Anytime you are faced with a problem the question is how do go about it? The first step is for you to remove any face bias you might have with that problem or minimize the effect of your bias. One skill that is very useful in analysing business problem is your ability to think critically, by critical thinking it is about your ability to ask the right questions. Analysing business problems is about the how and not about the what, it is not about what decisions you are making but how are making these decisions.
Critical Thinking means thinking logically in context or reasoning in context. It is about being able to break things down into component parts and the act of breaking issues down is called Analytical Thinking. The popular saying ‘’ In God we trust every other person must come with data’’ teaches us that data is very important and crucial to our decision making. Hence, the power twins Critical Thinking and Analytical Thinking, you cannot do with one without the other. It takes critical thinking for you to be able to analyse and break down issues.
We have the 5Ws and 1H that guides our critical thinking: Where, Why, When, Who, What and How, answering these questions helps in building our critical thinking skills because it gives you the framework to analyse not just simple problems but very complex situations you might find yourself.
Always understand the situation in context, identify and collect all relevant information, be careful to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. Hence, your deep understanding of the 5Ws and 1H will assist you in achieve to identify what your problem statement is. It is important for you to identify the right problems and do not confuse symptoms with the real issues.
The next step is for you to identify your objectives, what are your objectives? As you are analysing your business problems you need to know what your objectives are. What is the vision? What would you rather have? Be clear about the goals to be achieved. It gives you clarity and direction about what the possible options are. After identifying your objectives, you to generate your alternatives or options. You have to think and come up with various options or alternatives to achieve your objectives.
Then, you need to identify your relevant criteria, you need to ask yourself by what parameter, criteria, what do we need to consider in determining what or which option best achieves our goals. It helps us to focus on what is most important. Evaluate your options against criteria, examine both your qualitative and quantitative issues. For instance, if your criteria is cost implication, then you need to analyse cost in relation to all your alternatives and determine which one is best in relation to cost.
In conclusion, we need to decide, after making an analysis, make a choice, you should be able to make informed decision on which option best decides our objectives. That is the most optimal choice and develop an action plan.