How to Differentiate Between Business Problems and Symptoms

business problems

In this episode of Cerius Business Today, we are joined by interim executive Don Labowsky. He shared the different kinds of challenges and business problems he typically sees in assignments and how he helps companies solve them.

Don stressed the importance of differentiating between symptoms and problems in solving business problems:

I think that sometimes companies get stuck in a rut doing certain things certain ways, and you can ask them, “Well if you were doing things over, how would you do them differently?” They’d say, “Oh, if we were doing things differently we’d do it this way.” Well why not do it that way now and make a course correction. So you have to come in and expect to use what I call a zero based budging approach. If the only reason someone can give you why someone is doing a particular action is that “we’ve always done it that way,” then you immediately know that something needs to be investigated. I think the other thing is to always look at what the impacts are. There’s a pain point somewhere and you have to be able to find the impacts where they’re feeling it. Are they feeling it in the cash flow? Are they feeling it in the sales? Are they feeling it in the overtime? Are they feeling it in high customer returns? And then to be able to separate the difference between business problems and symptoms. A lot of people will come in and say, “Oh if we fix the symptom we’ll be fine,” but you may not fix the underlying problem. So I think you’ll have to be able to go in there and always be able to differentiate between the business problems and the symptoms.

 

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