To optimize their performance, businesses must first identify the potential problems that they will face and then devise strategies to address them.

According to consulting firm BMGI, these are 10 crucial problem areas for businesses to address:

  1. Uncertainty –All human beings, but it seems business leaders in particular, find great discomfort in uncertainty. Uncertainty in the global economy, uncertainty in the credit markets, uncertainty in how new regulations will affect business. The bottom line is that uncertainty leads to a short-term focus.”
  2. Globalization –Understanding foreign cultures is essential to everything from the ability to penetrate new markets with existing products and services, to designing new products and services for new customers, to recognizing emergent, disruptive competitors that only months earlier weren’t even known. The problem to be solved is to better understand international markets and cultures through better information gathering and better analysis of what it all means.”
  3. Innovation –It seems big companies are struggling with innovation, and a better innovation process is at the top of the agenda for most CEOs. The problem to be solved is how to become more innovative while still maintaining a sense of control over the organization.”
  4. Regulation –A changing regulatory environment is always of concern in certain industries, but uncertain energy, environmental and financial policy is wreaking havoc for nearly all companies today. The problems to be solved are to understand the meaning of regulation in your industry, its implications for your business, and to develop the skills necessary to deal with it.”
  5. Technology — The problem to be solved is to develop a long-term technology strategy while remaining flexible enough to take advantage of unforeseen technology developments.”
  6. Diversity — Diversity brings many challenges, as it makes it far more likely that people do not agree, and the lack of agreement makes execution very difficult. The problem to be solved is to first define what diversity really means in your company, then foster the expansion of differing ideas and viewpoints while ensuring cohesion and teamwork.”
  7. Complexity — The pace of change is quickening. The global economy is becoming still more connected, creating a much larger and more diverse population of customers and suppliers. The problem is how to develop better systems-thinking capability so you can design your business models, processes, products and services in a way that minimizes complexity.”
  8. Information Overload — By 2016, global traffic will reach 1.3 zettabytes, according to a report released in May 2012. Every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created. The problem to be solved is to deal with this mountain of information with both technology and human know-how, then to convert this information into valuable knowledge.”
  9. Supply Chains –Uncertainty in supply, makes materials planning more challenging than ever. The problem to be solved is to develop a supply-chain strategy that not only ensures the lowest costs, but also minimizes the risk of crippling supply-chain disruptions.”
  10. Problem Solving –While the first nine biggest problems are a direct result of research, the 10th is BMGI’s conclusion based on the prior nine. The lack of a sophisticated problem-solving competency among today’s business leaders is limiting their ability to adequately deal with the first nine problems. So what is the problem to be solved? We believe, to do well into the future, companies must resolve that problem solving is the key to business, then develop a robust problem-solving capability at all levels.”

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