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Strategic problem solving

Tackling strategic problems effectively and successfully

Strategic problem solving is a critical skill needed by the leadership within any organisation.  It is distinctly different from day-to-day problem solving in that you need to apply a longer-term lens to identify future problems a business may face with the goal to come up with an action plan to effectively avoid these problematic situations.

To ensure that you’re making the right decisions when drafting your action plan, you must take the following into account:

  • What are your organisational goals, vision and mission?

It is very important to understand where your organisation sees itself in say five, 10 and 15 years’ time.  What do you aspire to?  How would you like to grow and develop the business?  Staying true to the organisational vision, mission and goals are key to successful strategic problem solving.  If you stray from this path, you will hit many walls along the way which will generate even bigger problems of their own.

  • What are your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses?

Before you can put any action plan into place, you need to have a good understanding of what you are good at as a business and which areas need more work.  This way you can devise a plan that plays to your strengths while sourcing additional support to backfill the areas where you may have a gap.  Understanding your strengths and weaknesses also helps to eliminate risk by ensuring you have the right people assigned to each task.

  • Who are the experts in your field who can help you draft the most effective action plan?

Strategic problem solving and decision-making is not something to be taken lightly and therefore any expert opinions you can draw from will help to ensure that you have a bulletproof plan.  In most instances, an outside expert opinion is the best option to get the most honest and unbiased feedback and insights.  Internal experts or leaders are usually too close to the problem to clearly see what’s needed to fix it.

  • What data can you draw from to support the decision-making process?

A decision taken on a whim, without any supporting data, is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute that hasn’t gone through all of the necessary safety checks.  You have no surety that anything’s going to work.  To make an informed decision you have to analyse all of the data you can get your hands on.  Use this data to identify trends over time, to perform root cause analysis, and to create management reports which provide valuable business insights.  If you don’t have sufficient data internally, draw from market research or generate data through surveys and interviews.

The underlying message behind all of the above is the following:  When it comes to strategic problem solving, it is very important to take your time, make use of all of the resources you have at your disposal and to properly assess the challenges and opportunities that each problem presents.

Is strategic problem solving something your business needs assistance with?  Analyze can help.  Give us a call on 021 447 5696 or email

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