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The Career Path Of Problem Solving In Business

It allows you to play an important role in how the business thinks and operates.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

/ by Nurdin Budi Mustofa
What’s the magic key ingredient to a great business? Is there one? Well, for those who have been weathering the storm of a small business for quite some years and struggling to break out into the medium-sized business scale, there doesn’t seem to be. There’s no real one-man-army type of solution to a failing business. Much like a horrific plane crash, there are a series of events that lead to catastrophe. The sad part is, at any point during that series, disaster can be averted. So why don’t the 80% of small business that fails see the light before it's too late? Well, they don’t have what large business does and that’s an interior structure team. Executive boards, senior management, and procedures within them are one giant conversation. Everything is happening in unison, everyone is moving as one and catching the mistakes as they go along. But these teams the structural integrity, as well as processes, don’t just appear out of thin air. There is a team of analysts and senior advisors that regulate and formulate the business from the core. One of these roles is as an organizational development specialist, consultant or coordinator. The career path for the individual that wishes to reach the most senior ranks within a business is as a specialist working from an independent base or directly with the CEO.

Don’t confuse the two

It's commonplace to confuse human resources with organizational development. It's true that both work specifically with people but HR and OD as they are referred to in the world of business, have one clear distinction. OD is much more concerned with business structure as well as people; namely, this would be systems, practices such as efficiency, improving productivity while maintaining cultural integrity and values of the business, assessing the current state of the hierarchy, aligning human behavior with organizational strategy and objectives. HR on the other hands deals with more the legal standard side of things such as training employees, holidays, personal disputes and holidays etc. As you can see both works with people but OD is more objective based and tries to improve the business functions and success.

The Career Path Of Problem Solving In Business

Conducting an intervention

Issues that simmer and simmer until they finally boil over can be the death knell of a business. At the very least, problems that are not confronted by staff quickly can lead to relationships being left in tatters. Working as an OD, it's your job to find out why something has gone wrong, and whether or not somewhere down along the chain of command, it could have been solved. You will be tossed into the furnace where the situation is taking place. It can and probably will get hot under the collar when you’re dealing with egos and warring employees of a senior rank. If something is late such as a draft design, a redesign of a product, or perhaps quality control is not being adhered to, it's your job to find out why and come up with solutions.

You’re not necessarily an authority figure, in that, you do not directly tell people what to do. Your job is to collect evidence, speak to employees that are at the heart of the issue, and come up with multiple angles of solving these turbulent issues. This comes in the form of writing reports, working with senior management, talking to different departments and balancing a solution and new ways of doing things. If worse comes to worst, the report will need to be given to the executive board or CEO so that they can see from your perspective the problems that are internally damaging the business.

A change in thinking

OD specialists need to have reasons for their actions when it comes to injecting a different way of thinking in the business. You cannot just keep looking inward in the hopes to find these reasons as businesses that are tinkered with for no reason, tend to become bureaucratic and incredibly slow. Instead, an OD needs to study the consumer behavior and dive deeper into why certain trends are taking off. It's your job to figure out whether a trend is going to be short-lived or if the change in consumer behavior is so drastic and continuous that the industry as a whole we are affected by it. Staying ahead of the curve in that sense is one of your main priorities. You will however again play the role of someone who suggests change rather than implementing it as is the job of senior management. Working very closely with the market researcher, you will take heed of the psychological shifts that demand reactions.

At USC you can take an online degree that allows you to study consumer-driven social media trends. The course is a unique blend of consumer psychology and organizational psychology. Whatever is driving perception changes and therefore demand in consumers, will need to be understood and the business processes aligned with them. When it all comes down to it, it's your job to not only support the market researcher in conveying the thoughts and needs of customers but also to then organize the business from systems to people, so that those new demands are supplemented and catered for by the internal actions of the company.

Where do you stand?

Someone interested in a career as an organization development specialist, will be wondering where do you stand in a company structure? You are not quite in the HR department and nor are you automatically a senior by role. It depends on how serious a CEO takes his or her business with regards to constant change and implementing new strategies in internal processes. What you are essentially is a secondary advisor. A business advisor or financial advisor is senior consultancy roles in a business. However, taking action and expressing ideas as such may be left in the hands of an OD as a secondary to those other advisors.

Working as an OD is a fantastic career option. It allows you to play an important role in how the business thinks and operates. Reacting to what consumers are thinking and doing, you will be at the heart of change in any company.

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