If there’s no such thing as perfection, then there’s surely no such thing as a complete disaster. Every business problem has a solution. To find the best remedy it’s usually a matter of keeping your head, assessing the situation, then proceeding with your remedy confidently. No matter what steps you take you’ll need your co-workers and team members involved.
They probably have as much stake in finding a solution as you do. They also probably have their own ideas, so listen to what they have to say. Below are ten reliable steps to completely solving any problem in business. Use the process and enlist the help of your colleagues. Once you think it through and have the best plan, implement your solution and get your business back on track.
Step 1 Recognize You Have A Problem.
Be it financial issues, a love-life, health concerns or political situations, no problem can be solved unless you first acknowledge you have one. A great line in Martin Scorsese’s film The Departed, finds Martin Sheen saying to Leonardo DiCaprio, “We deal in deception here. What we do not deal in is self deception.” The same holds true for your business.
You can spin whatever tale you must (hopefully no more than a little advertising braggadocio), but you must be clear headed about your own business and how well it’s working. If you have a problem you have to face it head on, with no illusion about its depth or reach.
Step 2 Find The Root Cause.
At the heart of every problem lies a reason for its existence. Maybe the reason comes from outside; maybe it’s internal. It could be something systemic that you thought was working but is now getting in the way. If it’s a person, or persons, who are they? Do you need to be diplomatic, or can you move quickly to solve the issue? Dig deeply until you know what’s really going on. Don’t accept surface answers, and don’t be afraid to make hard choices if they’re necessary.
Step 3 Be Confident About Solving Your Problem.
You have to feel deep down that you can solve whatever problem is bothering you. If you don’t feel that way at the beginning, then get enough information or help until you do. Don’t shy away from the problem, because you feel you’re not up to it. Maybe you’re right, and you don’t have the resources to handle what’s happening.
If the problem is happening within your work environment, however, that means the same energy fueling your problem is available to you. People are going to look to you to fix whatever’s wrong. Show them you intend to meet the problem squarely, and they’ll be with you through to the end.
Step 4 Get Help From Your Colleagues.
You’re going to need help to solve any serious problem. Get your team members involved early. Tell them about your assessments and what you think must be done. If they agree, you now have allies. If they disagree, listen to their objections. They may provide contrast to help you judge your own approach.
Step 5 Consider The Problem Quietly Before Proceeding.
Sometimes it’s wise to keep your own council. You shouldn’t say everything that comes to mind, even if it seems like the best idea. Think about your problem deeply before going public with your plan of action. Get away by yourself, and let a little quiet time give you perspective. Further reflection will give your thoughts better foundation. Moreover, people respect your ideas more if they think you’ve thought it through.
Step 6 List Your Options.
It’s always good to state your options formally. Once you’ve put them in writing or said them out loud, thoughts and ideas take on a life of their own. An opinion carries more weight once it’s been presented. Sometimes it even changes the dynamic. How many times have you heard a sentence that started with the phrases, “Now that I say it out loud….” or “Now that I read if for myself…”? When you see your options listed or hear them spoken, it gives them focus. That clarity allows you and everyone else to decide which course of action is actually the best.
Step 7 Brainstorm For Ideas With Colleagues.
Your co-workers are your best sounding board. They’re with you everyday, so they know the nature of the problem. Work with them to get on the same page. That involves listening to their opinions and throwing every card on the table. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you one hundred percent or not. What’s important is to have ideas honestly discussed. Once you’re moving in the same direction, your plans and your actions will both be stronger.
Step 8 Keep Other People’s Solutions In Mind.
If you listen to people but don’t really consider what they say, you’ve wasted their time and yours. When you brainstorm, your group will have many excellent ideas, many of which may not be your own. Use those suggestions, and take the best ones to heart. The good thing about a great idea is anyone can use it to their advantage.
Step 9 Assert Your Position.
Once you’ve decided where you come down on a problem, stand your ground and move comfortably from there. Remember that your process considered every angle. Be confident that you came to a reasonable conclusion after weighing the facts and finding the best solution.
Step 10 Accept The Solution And The Results.
Stand by your decision and live with the consequences. Unless it’s an intellectual exercise, never second guess yourself. Hard problems require hard choices. Even if you made the wrong choice, you’ll still need to remain clear to deal with the aftermath. Most problems in business don’t go away after being addressed only once.
Your goal is to move the needle and turn things around until the full situation improves. People who see a good work environment often fail to realize the finely crafted landscape took time and effort to construct. Hopefully these ten steps help you take that approach to your business and get you the results you need.