Problem Solving Tips for Long-Term Business Solutions
In today’s fast-paced world, the art of effective problem-solving has been lost (or diluted) and often substituted with the common, yet risky approach of “trial and error.” However, when it comes to problem solving, there are disciplined techniques you can follow. These tips can help ensure that you arrive at real, long-term solutions rather than temporary fixes.
Obstacles to problem solving
We see four most common pitfalls in the mortgage industry when it comes to solving business problems. They include the following:
Immediately jumping to solutions:
- We are very hypersensitive due to all the moving parts and time constraints that we notoriously grasp for the quickest solution we can find. When we see a problem, we immediately start brainstorming solutions. This is not an effective starting point when looking for sound solutions to what can very often be complicated problems.
Focusing on the wrong thing:
- Too often we focus on solutions rather than the problem. We spend so much time trying to predict every possible outcome associated with every potential solution. This is very time consuming and an inefficient way to identify a plausible solution. Again, this method takes us down the path of trial and error AND having to deal with different consequences if the solution doesn’t work. Subsequently, we are right back where we started.
Failing to define the problem correctly:
- This is arguably the most important part of problem-solving. You must succinctly define your problem to adequately understand its “impact” and “magnitude.” Without this, you have no true reference point on whether you are spending time and energy solving the right problem. The goal should be to determine root cause so that your solution doesn’t resurface as a new problem in a different area.
Not using a disciplined approach:
- Because there are typically many variables in play when it comes to identifying problems and working towards solutions, it’s much more cost-effective to take a designed approach. This helps to ensure you don’t waste time or resources when making important business decisions.
This list is not exhaustive, but it provides some context to help you more effectively frame where you might be seeing some obstacles while trying to problem solve.
Defining your business problem
Since “defining” the problem is most critical and impactful to problem-solving, consider the following aspects which can help in this process. First off, define the problem so that everyone understands it clearly.
Use the SMART system as a backdrop. Your problem should be:
In addition, think about the following when going through the “defining” process:
- Current Description of the “Pain”
- What is wrong…? or not meeting our customer’s needs? Both internally and/or externally.
- Who does the problem include? Who does it affect? Both internally/externally.
- When and where do the problems occur? For example…Specific point in the process? A specific time in the Sales cycle? Specific geographic region in your market?
- **How big is the problem?
- What is the impact of the problem? To the customer? Organization? Process? Individual supporting roles? Etc.
- Potential Pitfalls to Avoid
- Observations and Anecdotes – don’t turn these into (one off) problems.
- Prejudging a root cause – Example: We aren’t meeting closing dates because our Closing department is understaffed. (often times root cause has nothing to do with headcount)
- Including or Implying a Solution – Example: If we had newer technology, we could approve loans faster (implying a solution deters from focusing on the problem).
- Key Considerations
- Would customers be happy and positively affected if they knew we were working on this?
- **Can data be collected to verify and analyze the problem?
- Is the problem statement too narrowly or broadly defined?
**Remember you must have accurate and quantifiable data which:
- Illustrates the problem in its current state
- Provides a reference point from which to measure your solution(s)
By using these ideas and suggestions, you will be well on your way to solving business problems quickly and with more long-term success.
Want to learn more?
Our dedication to helping borrowers achieve the dream of homeownership doesn’t stop here — we offer training resources to help you work with your customers to your max potential.
And, if you want to learn more about ways to better aid your borrowers or need some extra insight, you can always contact your Enact Sales Rep for more info too. They’ll be happy to help you meet your business needs, answer questions, and point you in the right direction.
Source: This blog post comes from Ben DiMeo, Enact’s Senior Sales Consultant. He spends his time helping customers solve business problems by maximizing efficiencies, improving quality, and enhancing the customer experience.
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