Strategy, Process, People – A Problem Solving Model

Here’s an easy model to use when trying to get at the root of a business problem. Challenge yourself (and your team) to think of the issue as emanating from one of 3 places – strategy, process, or people.  Before you get to actual solutions, be sure you’ve agreed as a team about which of these three “roots” is the source of the problem.

Is it an issue of efficiency, speed or quality?  Might be the process needs tweaking.  Work backwards along the process chain to determine the bottleneck or breakdown. Assign a team member or a small team of people to investigate and bring a set of solutions back to the group.

Is it a technology, market or customer issue?  Might be the strategy is flawed.  Time to collect even more market data, talk to more customers, or re-analyze the key sales or pricing variables. This might be a good time to bring in vendors or business partners to discuss the problem, too.

If your strategy is sound, and you’ve got the right processes in place, you may not have the right/best/smartest people on the case… Ask yourself the hard questions about your talent – do you truly have the best people? Where can you upgrade?  Where in your organization is there a talented person just waiting for the right opportunity?

Sometimes finding the right answer to a problem can be difficult– and often times we end up building the wrong solutions. Try this simple 3-source model to help you pinpoint the real issue; first try to determine if the problem is one of strategy, process or people.