Successful leaders do not view problems as obstacles, but rather as opportunities to learn more. However, problems still need to be solved in order to make progress and gain that all-important experience along the way. While a lot depends on the situation and improvisations will need to be made in accordance with the concerned circumstances, here is a basic introduction to approaching any business problem.
Get the Appropriate Training
Before we get further along the steps, it needs to be understood that without any DMAIC training, it would be extremely difficult for a leader to understand and implement any of the tools and measures necessary to solve a business problem effectively. At least a Six Sigma Green Belt training course must be completed in order for the individual to be able to identify and solve problems methodically and with maximum efficiency. Depending on the nature and complexity of the problem, DMAIC courses higher than Six Sigma Green Belt training might also be required, but it is the necessary, introductory course that all leaders should complete before attempting to take on business problems.
Identification of the Root Cause
As a business leader, it is important that he/she is able to identify the root cause behind any apparent problem, rather than getting caught up in the immediate and unnecessary details. For example, if you are on the verge of losing an old customer because the party was disappointed with the latest products/services you had provided to them, it is more important to understand why the quality of the product/service was dissatisfactory, rather than only trying to hold on to the customer by giving them a compensating deal. Even more important is to predict problems before they happen. For example, protecting your intellectual property is crucial for a business, however many businesses still neglect this.
Defining the Variables
Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to define all the variables. The variables include aspects such as the nature, timeline, spread, effect, etc. related to the problem and its root cause. The more information you have about the variables, the better you will be able to develop a strategy for solving the issue at hand.
In a real-world scenario, you will always need to prioritize certain needs of the business above others, and once you have identified the root causes and have defined the variable aspects, it is time to decide on what should be the desired goals and how they should be ordered. Resources are almost always finite, so setting priorities while deciding on the desired outcomes is a must. For example, you may need to decide between directing your resources towards compensating the grudging customer immediately, and improving the actual standards of the services/products right away. It’s all about what seems to be the most beneficial solution to the problem at hand. Simulate multiple scenarios and dissect them, before taking the final decision.
Never take rash decisions in business, even when it seems to be the most logical solution at that very moment. Problems need to be understood and defined, which requires time. Immediate and impulsive action may work in the short term, but there will always be the possibility that it will cause even bigger problems down the line.