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Understanding Business Diagnostics…

Business diagnostics is a process of assessing your entire business to identify reasons for unsatisfactory performance. It allows you to identify the symptoms of problems in your business by analysing different facets of your business through carefully crafted questions to elicit key responses.

Conducting a business diagnostic is a multistage process from diagnostic to practice that starts with the identification of symptoms of underperformance and establishes causal linkages between those symptoms and the performance of your business.

DIAGNOSIS

This is where we look for what the specific problems the business is facing based on the symptoms of existing problems. The symptoms that will be used will include various levels of unsatisfactory performances that can be identified and asking questions to understand what exactly the existing problems are that are producing these symptoms.

PROGNOSIS

Having diagnosed the problem(s) facing the business, prognosis involves determining the future effects of the existing business problem if left unaddressed.  This is the stage where you link the current situation to one or more of the identified business mistakes, which will indeed hinder the achievement of the business objectives, and result in a failure to reach the marketing objectives. An example of a prognosis is: “If this issue is not effectively and efficiently addressed, then the production objective of producing at the desired quality will not be achieved and consequently the marketing objectives of selling more to present customers will suffer. “

TREATMENT

This is a decision about whether to address the problem, fix the symptom, or both. At this stage, a conclusion needs to be drawn concerning how to fix the problems. Three options are considered, which are not mutually exclusive. In all cases, it imperative to understand the root cause of the problems to ensure the treatments or corrective actions implemented prevent a recurrence of the problems. These options are: solve the problem; treat the symptom; or apply a combination of both. All three point in very different directions. The first would lead to taking steps in certain areas to improve the capability of the management to make informed and rational decisions (training). The second would lead directly to remedying the task situation (consulting), while the third would lead to remedying the task situation but doing it with management, helping them understand how it came about in the first place and how to prevent such problems from occurring in the future (counselling).

PRACTICE

This is about the choice of the type of intervention: training, consulting, counselling or any combination of all three. Typically training programmes are more conducive for tackling and solving managerial problems. Consulting services are most helpful to treat the symptoms thereby correcting the underperformance of operational processes.

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