I just received a copy of the book “Ignited: Managers! Light Up Your Company and Career for More Power More Purpose and More Success“ by Vince Thompson, and it is full of great tips on how to run and manage an organization.
While the book’s orientation is geared towards the corporate employee, business owners have a great deal to learn from it. We’ve published an excerpt from the book where the author talked of the difficulties and realities of time management in the article “The Problem with Time Management”
One of the sections I like is that of problem solving. As a business owner, you will constantly be faced with problems, and the author recommends the following four-step process:
1. Define the problem = Start with a thorough information gathering process by speaking to all people involved. If your biggest customer complains that your product is starting to fail, for example, talk to the customer to learn exactly where the problem lies. Using the information you get, analyze your product to see what ways you can rectify the problem and improve your product
2. Explore the costs of failure = In connection with the problem, what exactly will failure mean? List down what this problem would really mean for your business, including financial costs, how this affects your relationship with customers as well as any partnerships. Using the example above, if your biggest customer pulls out their account, will your business survive? How will it affect your cash flow and revenues? Understanding the impact of a problem and knowing the worst case scenario can push you to act on it fast.
3. Explore the benefits of success = From viewing the negative, now see the flip side: what will happen if you successfully resolve the problem? Will your biggest customer keep their account with you? Will you be able to expand your product line if this issue is resolved? The author explains that
“Success is why we work, but without an examination and vision of success our work has less meaning. This is especially crucial during tough times.”
4. Outline the solution = List the specific steps that need to be taken to solve the problem. This is the most important step in the problem solving process, and don’t be afraid if you think you need help to determine the best course of action.