Properly understand the problem- You can't address the problem until you take the time to understand it. This means talk to staff involve, talk to consumers involve, etc. be sure to take the time to talk to and listen to both internal and external factors. Consider the environment and current marketplace, economic trends, and industry trends. It is hard to come up with a good solution to your business problem if you do not objectively evaluate the problem at hand.
Next, identify the options available to you. This usually involves a discussion or brainstorm of some type where ach idea is laid out and potential solutions are identified. This means that you do not just come up with the solution, but a set of options, as this helps you find the real solution, not just the easiest or first one to come to mind. It is more thorough.
Once the various options are presented, it is time to deliberate and weigh the pros and cons of each, as well as what resources would be required to use that specific route. It helps to get unbiased opinions in this selection process so that each option can be weighed properly and the solution with the best chance at success can be selected.
Next, figure out that time, money, people, etc. required to make the solution work. This means what resources are you going to assign to the challenge and for how long? Everyone that is needed for a successful outcome should be involved in the planning, and should be clear on their responsibilities and their expected contributions.
Once responsibility is clear, coming up with a plan of action is useful. This should be measurable and specific meaning this person does this on this day. The who, the what, and the when, should all be addressed and assigned. This helps keep people focused on creating solutions to challenges, while still allowing them to perform their regular day-to-day functions.
Once a plan is created, it must be implemented, and tracked. Figure out some metrics for tracking the progress of your solution to your challenges, and hold regular meetings to discuss and evaluate, and tweak if necessary, the action plan.
Last, the most often ignored part of the process is the evaluation as a whole. This is where you say: did it go well? If so, why? What could be have done differently to make it better? In what ways did our plan deviate from our desired outcome? How can be improve upon this for future challenges?
If each of these steps is followed, not only will your business successfully meet challenges, but learn how to adapt better to a challenging environment.
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