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Before we get into the cycle of problem management, let’s discuss the two types of problem management: reactive vs. active problem management. The literal and descriptive names are highly appropriate: we all know how the principle of “active” and “reactive” work (“Band-Aid” model”)

As previously discussed, both merits exist, whereby the “active” dealing with the totality of the “problem” is considered preferable.

The basic cycle is principally very similar to any other “problem-solving” process:

  1. Acknowledgment
  2. Fact-finding
  3. Defining the problem
  4. Solutioning
  5. Implementation
  6. Re-analysis
  7. Adjustment
  8. Repeating step 6 & 7; if necessary.

Let’s talk about THE most important step: Acknowledgement. Yes, let me explain the “WHY.”

Small businesses are by definition “small”; hence the conversation MUST include “resources.” It is not out of line to say that SMBs have more often than not made “resource availability” a major part of any decision-making. As such, it is even harder to get the stakeholders to acknowledge that an actual problem that requires more than just the usual “workaround.”

Let’s take a step back and think about our personal lives and decision-making process; does it sound familiar? How often do you avoid a particular topic because of your awareness of associated costs that were NOT planned for? That is no different than the stakeholders’ occasional reluctance. This factor goes beyond the main stakeholders; it can go as deep as frontline team members.

But there is more: financial factors are just the beginning. Here are a few of those factors:

  • Organizational Type and Size
    • It dictates the quantity and depth of different decision hierarchies and organizational politics. Read: how many people are involved?
  • Leadership type and style
    • It dictates existing processes. Read: is analytic criticism a part of the style?
  • Economic output
    • It dictates output quantity and quality. Read: can it take president over ROI-producing activities?

Many more factors can have micro and macro impacts on the “acknowledgment” part of the problem-solving cycle.

In the coming weeks, we will discuss various solutions that can assist in getting organizational acknowledgment of a problem.

Until next time – Visit our Management Consulting Blog or my site

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