There are many skills which are hugely beneficial when it comes to the smooth running of a business. Communication, organization, strategic planning, and financial awareness are just some of them, but another key skill is problem-solving. Problem-solving can take a logical and dedicated mind, coupled with abilities learned along the way.
What Does Problem-Solving Mean Within Business?
When you’re in charge of business running, you’re undoubtedly going to encounter many problems. These could be small challenges daily or more large-scale problems which could affect the future of the business. For those businesses which have to rely a lot on external services, such as dealing with suppliers or transport, many more things are at risk of going wrong, which are out of your control.
What’s not out of your control is how you choose to deal with problems, and the development of your own problem-solving skills.
To effectively solve problems within the business, you need to understand how best to remove obstacles between you and your business goals. As meeting goals is imperative for companies wanting to progress and move forward, knowing how to remove any obstacles in your path is going to be an extremely useful skill.
Problem-solving in business may not be about one clear solution, but more about exploring different solutions and reducing delays as much as possible.
Keen business problem-solvers should be able to identify the problem, prioritize problems in business based on urgency, analyze situations, present solutions, and implement a successful plan.
Therefore, problem-solving is not only about coming up with the solution, but also seeing it through to the end.
Why is Problem-Solving Important in Business?
It is important for those in charge, namely leaders and managers, who want to ensure business success. Already possessing good problem-solving abilities means that you’ll be more equipped should critical issues arise, but there’s also the opportunity to develop this skill over time continually.
Problem-solving skills are important as they allow issues to be dealt with effectively in a way which will enable you to keep a cool head.
7 Ways to Improve Your Business Problem-Solving Skills
- You Don’t Have to Solve Problems Alone
While the ultimate decision and plan of action may lie on your shoulders, that doesn’t mean that you can’t brainstorm with other trusted members of your team. Getting an alternative perspective and talking through potential solutions can be a boon when you’re trying to deal with times of difficulty — not to mention that you might need a dedicated team to put your plan into action then.
- Earn the Right Qualification
While there isn’t an official degree in Problem-Solving you can earn, there are those degrees which will teach you the valuable skills needed to be able to analyze and solve problems within the business more effectively. The right qualification can help you to develop your mind and how you deal with problematic situations.
A degree such as an online DBA will teach you how to deal with complex business problems and work to solve them, meaning a qualification like this is one you can apply effectively to any business role you have.
- Take as Much Time as You Need to Understand the Issue
Being an effective problem-solver isn’t about jumping into action as quickly as possible. Being too quick to start on a solution can easily backfire if it turns out you didn’t fully understand the issue in the first place. This can also mean that you spend even longer dealing with the new problems which have arisen from your mistaken solution.
It’s always better to take as much time as you can to understand the issue in-depth before coming up with a solution. While it’s important to do damage control as quickly as possible to prevent anything from harming your business, it’s also important to make sure that you don’t waste time and resources on a solution which isn’t going to work.
- Always Work to Address the Root Cause of Any Problems
If certain problems are continually arising, you don’t want to be constantly providing short-term solutions for them. This is simply plugging a leak instead of dealing with the hole itself. Addressing the root cause means ensuring that this particular problem doesn’t arise again, as it’s only a waste of time and energy to continually have to deal with the same problems — even if it’s easy to find solutions for them at the time.
- Stick to Deadlines
If you don’t make a deadline for when a solution needs to be carried out, or for when a problem needs to be dealt with by, then you may spend longer than is necessary continuing to discuss solutions or debate facts. The longer you spend trying to organize a solution, the more business time is wasted — and the more problematic the issue might become.
Try to create a plan, solution, and deadline as soon as possible to put your plan into action.
- Delegate Tasks
If your plan for the solution requires many people to fulfil individual tasks, then you need to make sure that each person knows what they need to be doing, and when. If there is any miscommunication, this can lead to disruption in the solution or further problems. If you fail to delegate, you may end up trying to implement the solution all by yourself, which can waste time.
- Learn from Any Mistakes
As a final thought, be sure to learn from any mistakes you encounter through your problem-solving methods. Even if you’re adept at problem-solving, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get it exactly right. If any plan doesn’t get carried out the way you’d hoped, or if some problems need to be fixed differently, all that matters is that you learn from any mistakes and carry that knowledge forward.
Improving your problem-solving skills can also be about learning along the way and being attuned to how you need to improve in a crisis.