Wednesday, October 6, 2021


  In today's dynamic new normal, high responsiveness and change becomes an important factor for solving emerging problems in a timely manner.

The business ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, interdependent and hyperconnected, problems become much more complex than ever. Problem-solving is a multi-stepped process that includes problem diagnosis, resolution, solution implementation, and improvement. The business management should determine why problems happened, how problems escalated, which areas of the organization were affected, and when the problems started.

The emphasis of structural and logical problem-solving is in doing better pre-work such as defining the situation and the success criteria. The problem-solvers need to ask thought-provoking questions to diagnose the root cause of problems, broaden their perspectives on how to set the right priority, align talent and resources to solve problems effectively, as well as measure outcomes and make continuous improvement.

What initiative is being taken in identifying and determining what problems need to be improved based on the results of the evaluation? The purpose of change or any business initiative is to solve problems large or small. There is always a first step needed and that is diagnostic analysis and identification of the issues based on the objective assessment and logical reasoning. Look out of the problems before looking into the problems and scan the overall situations sociologically, technologically, psychologically, economically, philosophically, and anthropologically. It’s important to do “swat” (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) or other relevant analysis in problem-identification and problem-framing processes in a structural way in determining what problems need to be improved.

More specifically, keep conscious of business weakness or deficiency, frame the most critical problems or challenges facing organizations, and solve the issues with the largest potential impact on the long term success of the organization. These information based diagnosis/solution definitions are key to the future degree of success. From such a diagnosis, approaches/solutions/ methodologies can be defined, developed, and customized more precisely and in a more relevant manner. To enhance innovation and generate significant impact, solutions need to be made from a much broader and encompassing view that is not possible in linear thinking. Innovative problem-solving requires a seamless paradigm shift in thinking from "problem" stickiness and root-cause analysis towards discovering possibilities and creating multiple pathways.

What initiative is being taken in determining what actions are required to improve the problems identified? Organizations have limited resources and talent, the real challenge is to understand your priorities, and know where and how you can and should improve, leverage available resources, focus on the most important things, handle sequence & consequence of initiatives smoothly, boost the energy and excitement to achieve the ultimate results. It is important to prioritize things, make use of clear targets, communicate effectively, set the right priority to solve the most critical problems, bridge resource and investment gaps to enforce successful capacity planning and holistic resource management to improve the overall problem-solving effectiveness. Prioritization brings transparency to the organization, creates internal competition among projects, and assigns resources scientifically.

Technically, it‘s a good idea to first split problems into different categories based on business strategy and to assess the relative importance of the different categories and what could be done about it. To determine which actions need to be taken for improving problems identified, cross-functional teams bring the enterprise perspective, bridge functional silos and build/maintain/improve enterprise business competency. It refers to many more links that can be drawn from various management activities such as the development of the business process planning and strategies translated from the business objectives, strategy and process capability linkages, process management, decision making and roles and responsibilities etc.

What initiative is being taken to assigning the actions to improve the identified problems? Many problems are over-complex and require cross-functional communication and collaboration at the strategic level. The disconnect occurs or the performance blind spot is created when the wishful thinking at higher levels detaches from reality at lower levels. Strategic alignment is the process of ensuring all organization action is directed to achieving common strategic goals and objectives, lubricating communication horizontally, assigning the responsibilities and actions to improve identified problems vertically. Logically, there is the main goal behind strategic problem-solving; from that goal, you determine certain action items. These action items become goals for the business department, and so on, until each individual manager or supervisor has a goal, with action items and opposing metrics.

To solve problems smoothly, you have to understand the struggles of companies, deal with business conflict, maintain and fix any imbalance in key business elements such as people, process, as well as technology, and update structures, methodologies, and cultures. Role conflict or differing priority is often the cause of misalignment. More specifically, misalignment is caused by silo, miscommunication, or simply wrong people put in the wrong position to solve the wrong problems. The business managers need to make an objective observation on how their group works with other groups, any frictions existing, and how to take adaptive approaches to solve problems by asking: Are your processes functioning to deliver results consistent with the strategic intent? Are your people acting in a way to harmonize problem-solving? Are your processes and people integrated to ensure a consistent ability to deliver premium solutions? Business leaders need to work across-lines for enforcing communication, making strategic adjustments, and creating synergy.

What initiative is being taken to continue to measure the results of the actions taken to address the identified problems? You can only manage what you measure. You have to be honest about it and should have the measures laid out beforehand to clearly indicate the extent to the results from actions. Set the right performance parameters, conduct periodic revision meetings to monitor the progress; and define the corrective measures that will enable the organization to measure the success of problem-solving. Effective measurement enables improvement. The organization that didn't have a systematic approach to measurement and analysis at both the strategic and operational level has a giant blind spot that is impairing their problem-solving effectiveness.

Great critical thinkers can provide useful feedback on action/impacts/outcomes of problem-solving. With reliable performance data, the management can guide the team to understand the purpose of doing metrics, leverage critical thinking to make inquiries, and use metrics as pointers to areas requiring further investigation, frame the right issues, and fix the root cause of the problems. Besides measurement, constructive feedback such as feedback on business action/impacts/outcomes, feedback on problem-solving realization/implementation, feedback on organizational potential can significantly improve business problem-solving performance.

What initiative is being taken to make adjustments in the improvement plan based on the analysis, evaluation of the measurements of the results of the actions taken to address the identified problems? There are different kinds of rationality that apply to different dimensions of problem-solving. It’s the conventional technique to break the large problems into meaningful chunks so people are willing to take risks and can readily measure progress. But many large problems are interdependent, it’s important to take initiatives for understanding the original larger issues- whether it’s been solved or resolved or not, does break-down sort of problem-solving cause side effects, or even cause more issues than before? This often means taking holistic thinking and customized approaches that may apply differently to each problem, and it involves people, process, and technology to improve problem-solving maturity.

Running a business is a problem-solving continuum. The culture of continuous improvement means to continue to discover that "there is always a better way" to come up with premium solutions. Measure and monitor both system and workgroup effectiveness to make sure improvements are performing as intended. Determine constraints, decide what should be done, assign responsibility, and estimate completion. Continuous improvement is performed in collateral activities, meaning that people can step out of their routine, to perform specific improvement activities, and improvement is the reward for being a great problem-solver.

In today's dynamic new normal, high responsiveness and change becomes an important factor for solving emerging problems in a timely manner. It’s important to clarify the right issues and frame the right problems by asking thought-provoking questions, create a sense of urgency, set the right priority, stretch up, but not stress out for solving problems innovatively.


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