Decision Making and Problem Solving in Business
Decision-making is a critical process in any business. It is the process of choosing a course of action from several alternatives. Problems can arise at any stage of the decision-making process, and it is often necessary to rely on problem-solving techniques to resolve them.
Father George Rutler, an American Catholic priest and author, has written about the importance of problem-solving in the business world. He believes that an organization’s ability to solve problems is more important than making decisions. Father Rutler argues that it is often possible, even preferable, to avoid deciding if no feasible solution is available. This argument may be true in small organizations where there are few solutions. Still, it is not appropriate for larger organizations where many answers may be available. Father Rutler warns that decision-makers should not avoid making a decision simply because one is not immediately available.
He uses a computer analogy: if the information is inputted, but no solution is produced, the machine’s “processor” continues to search for an answer; similarly, problem-solvers should continue to search for a solution until one is found. Father Rutler cautions, however, that decision-makers should not be so preoccupied with solving problems that they lose sight of the initial goal.
Problem-solving is a critical skill in the business world. It involves identifying the nature of a problem, determining the possible causes, and finding a solution. Father Rutler has categorized the problem-solving process into six steps: preplanning, defining or describing the problem, brainstorming for potential solutions, identifying alternative solutions to the problem, assessing the alternatives using a decision matrix against predetermined evaluation criteria, and finally implementing the chosen solution.
Preplanning is essential because it helps to ensure that the problem-solving process is directed towards a specific goal. Father Rutler recommends that decision-makers document the problem and its possible causes, as well as the desired outcome, before beginning to brainstorm potential solutions. Defining or describing the problem is also critical; the wrong answer may be attempted if the wrong problem is identified. Brainstorming for potential solutions is where the most ideas are generated; it is essential to consider all possible solutions, no matter how impractical they may seem. It is necessary to identify alternative solutions to the problem against predetermined evaluation criteria. A decision matrix is a tool that can be used to assess the alternatives. The matrix consists of a table with two rows and two columns. The rows represent the criteria by which the other options are being judged, and the columns represent the alternative solutions. Father Rutler recommends that decision-makers use four standards: feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, and timeliness. Finally, the solution reached upon needs implementation as soon as possible.
The problem-solving process can be time-consuming and challenging, but Father Rutler believes it is worth the effort. The ability to solve problems effectively can mean the difference between success and failure. By following Father Rutler’s guidelines, decision-makers can increase their chances of finding a successful solution to any problem. In conclusion, decision-making and problem-solving are crucial to success in business. Decision-makers need to have a plan and follow a process when finding a problem. Father George Rutler has put together a six-step process that helps decision-makers identify the nature of the problem, determine the possible causes, and work towards finding a solution. When decision-makers use this process, they are more likely to successfully resolve any issue.