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The 3-step formula for solving business problems

At the heart of most business problems are people problems. Companies that excel at talent optimization know this, and they aren’t afraid to make needed organizational changes. The resources they spend are well worth the effort, because if their people strategy isn’t aligned with their business strategy, results are left to chance.

If you’ve collected and analyzed your people data to determine what’s causing your business issues, you’re ready to take the next step: prescriptive action.

Three steps to solve your business problems

Here are three steps to put your people data to use in solving business problems:

1. Identify possible solutions—then pick the most feasible one.

Your first step to addressing business problems is to establish a goal. What outcome would you like to create?

With your goal in mind, brainstorm ways you might be able to achieve this goal. For example, the global demand generation team at The Predictive Index® recently determined they wanted to create better career pathing. The team discussed several ways they could achieve this goal, including establishing a formalized mentorship program, developing ideal future job descriptions, and creating a competency model.

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Look at all your options and choose the most feasible tactic. What’s most feasible may depend on budget, required resources, and/or timeline to implementation. Keep in mind that you’re not limited to this one idea; it’s just the idea you’re prioritizing first. 

For the global demand generation team, once they thought of multiple approaches to creating better career paths, they pared down the list by considering what was within their scope to take on as a team and what efforts would be duplicating other internal initiatives, such as a formalized competency model PI’s VP of People Operations is working on or a mentorship program the Women@PI affinity group is spearheading.

2. Create an implementation plan.

If it’s possible to fit some of your action items into your existing processes, that makes for faster and easier implementation. For example, if you’ve determined that your latest hires aren’t a great fit for your organizational culture, you might add an additional round of interviews to the hiring process to assess cultural fit

Regardless of whether an action item is time-intensive or seamless to implement, you need to assign a responsible party. This ensures someone is accountable for the execution of next steps. 

If it’s a relatively small project—such as creating a set of communication guidelines—you may only assign one responsible party. For larger initiatives—such as an overhaul to your leadership development process—you might enlist the support of an executive sponsor, assign a project manager, and round up a project team. When taking on large initiatives, be sure to schedule a team or company-wide meeting to discuss impending changes. 

3-step formula to solving business problems

3. Anticipate and preemptively address resistance.

Have you ever made a change that resulted in pushback? It’s common. Change is hard, and people can get emotional. This is why transparency is critical. As early as possible, communicate the answers to the following questions to your organization:

  • Why are you making these changes? 
  • What results do you expect to see? 
  • What happens if you maintain status quo? 

In addition to clear, transparent communication, identify internal influencers who support your cause. These are members of your organization who can champion the change you’re looking to create—not just on the project team, but also on their own work teams. These individuals can help smooth the waters peer to peer.

Change is necessary—so don’t let pushback keep you from growing.

As a leader, you owe it to your employees to take decisive action for the good of the company—even if not everyone’s in agreement or they don’t quite understand why a decision was made. If you do your due diligence in proactively communicating change to employees in a way that resonates with them—whether that’s at an all-company meeting, one on one, or through a more formal memo—you’ll find change can be a positive experience for everyone.

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Shannon is a product manager at PI. She has a mirror-image twin sister—but they didn't discover this until they were 26.

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