Solving Problems with Organizational Thinking

Discover how organizational thinking can help you tackle any problem that comes your way with this informative guide.
Solving Problems with Organizational Thinking


Problem-solving is a crucial skill that is relevant in every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, we encounter challenges that require us to use our intellect to find a solution. Being an effective problem solver not only helps us to overcome hurdles but also enhances our decision-making skills and boosts our self-confidence.

One of the most effective problem-solving approaches is organizational thinking. Organizational thinking involves breaking down problems into smaller components, analyzing them systematically, and finding practical solutions based on data-driven insights. It is a structured approach to problem-solving that enables individuals to identify the root cause of the problem and develop strategic action plans to prevent its recurrence.

In this guide, we will explore the concept of organizational thinking in detail, examine how it differs from other problem-solving approaches, and provide tips on how to develop your organizational thinking skills. We will also discuss real-life examples of how organizational thinking was used to solve complex problems and highlight the benefits of using organizational thinking in problem-solving.

What is Organizational Thinking?

Organizational thinking is a problem-solving approach that focuses on understanding the systemic nature of problems and identifying the core relationships between the variables that affect them. In contrast to other problem-solving methods, organizational thinking considers the bigger picture and how the different elements involved in a problem relate to and influence one another.

Organizational thinking involves a systematic, step-by-step approach that takes a holistic view of the problem, its context, and the interdependencies between different elements. It helps individuals to understand complex and dynamic problems, address root causes, and develop sustainable solutions that can prevent similar problems from recurring in the future.

The key features of organizational thinking include:

  • Systematic analysis: Organizational thinking involves breaking down a problem into its constituent parts and analyzing each part systematically to understand how it contributes to the problem as a whole.

  • Holistic perspective: Organizational thinking considers the problem in its broader context, taking into account the social, economic, political, and environmental factors that influence it.

  • Relationship focus: Organizational thinking emphasizes understanding the relationships between different elements of a problem so that solutions address the root causes of the problem, rather than just the symptoms.

  • Collaborative approach: Organizational thinking involves working collaboratively with others to identify and solve problems, drawing on diverse perspectives and expertise.

Overall, organizational thinking is a powerful problem-solving approach that enables individuals and organizations to tackle complex and dynamic problems by taking a systemic and holistic approach. By considering the interdependencies between different elements of a problem and identifying underlying root causes, organizational thinking can help individuals and organizations develop innovative and sustainable solutions that address problems at their core.

The Process of Organizational Thinking

Organizational thinking involves a structured approach to problem-solving that considers the context, stakeholders, and resources involved. The following are the steps involved in the process of organizational thinking:

  1. Define the problem. This involves understanding what the problem is, the scope of the problem, and the underlying causes. It is important to get input from all stakeholders involved in the problem, including customers, employees, and partners.

  2. Analyze the problem. This step involves breaking down the problem into smaller parts to better understand the issue. It is important to consider the impact of the problem on different stakeholders, the associated risks, and the opportunities that may exist.

  3. Identify potential solutions. Brainstorm potential solutions to the problem based on the analysis conducted in the previous step. It is important to consider both short-term and long-term solutions and to involve all stakeholders in the solution development process.

  4. Evaluate solutions. Compare and contrast potential solutions against the criteria established in the first two steps. Determine the feasibility, cost, and potential outcomes of each solution.

  5. Select the best solution. Based on the evaluation conducted in the previous step, select the solution that is most likely to address the underlying problem effectively. It is important to consider stakeholder buy-in, resource availability, and potential risk factors.

  6. Implement the solution. Develop a plan to implement the solution and communicate it effectively to all stakeholders. It is important to involve key parties in the implementation process and to track progress towards achieving the desired outcomes.

  7. Evaluate the results. Once the solution is implemented, it is important to evaluate its effectiveness and measure progress towards achieving the desired outcomes. This will help identify future improvements and ensure that the solution remains sustainable over the long term.

How to apply each step to different types of problems

Each of these steps can be applied in different ways depending on the type of problem being addressed. For example, a marketing problem may require a different type of analysis and solution development process than a logistics or supply chain problem. However, the overall framework of organizational thinking can be applied to any problem. The key is to tailor the approach to fit the problem and context.

Examples of Organizational Thinking in Action

Example 1: Improving Customer Service

A fast-food chain was struggling with poor customer service ratings due to long wait times and disorganized order taking. To address this issue, they used organizational thinking to solve their problem. They started by identifying the root cause of the problem, which was a lack of standardized procedures for order taking and food preparation. They then established clear protocols for each step of the process, trained employees accordingly, and regularly reviewed progress towards their goals. As a result, they experienced a significant improvement in customer service ratings and an increase in overall revenue.

Example 2: Reducing Workplace Accidents

A manufacturing company was experiencing an increase in workplace accidents, leading to lost productivity and increased insurance costs. They used organizational thinking to solve this problem. They started by analyzing data to identify the most common types of accidents and their root causes. They then established safety protocols for each step of the manufacturing process, trained employees on these protocols, and implemented regular safety audits. As a result, they experienced a significant decrease in workplace accidents and a reduction in insurance costs.

Example 3: Streamlining Business Operations

A nonprofit organization was struggling with inefficiencies in their fundraising and donor management processes, leading to lost donations and missed opportunities. They used organizational thinking to solve this problem. They started by identifying the most critical steps in the fundraising process and the areas where inefficiencies were most significant. They then developed a centralized donor management system that streamlined processes, automated tasks, and gave staff real-time access to critical information. As a result, they experienced increased donations and improved engagement with their donors.

“Organizational thinking helped our organization revolutionize our fundraising and donor management processes. By using data-driven insights and developing streamlined systems, we were able to increase donations, improve engagement with our supporters, and maximize resources.” -Jane, Director of Development, Nonprofit Organization.

Tips for Developing Organizational Thinking Skills

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful is an essential skill in organizational thinking. Mindfulness helps you focus on the present moment rather than being distracted by past or future thoughts. It also helps you prioritize tasks by being aware of what needs to be done.

Develop Systems Thinking

Systems thinking refers to the ability to see the big picture and understand the interconnectedness of things. Developing systems thinking requires analyzing and understanding complex systems, such as social, economic, or organizational systems.

Practice Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information to make informed decisions. By using critical thinking, you can identify potential problems, evaluate different solutions, and select the best approach to resolve specific issues.

Collaborate with Others

Organizational thinking is a team effort. You can enhance your organizational thinking skills by collaborating with others. Working with people from different backgrounds and expertise can provide an opportunity for diverse perspectives, innovative ideas, and creative problem-solving.

Embrace Change

Organizational thinking requires an open mind to change. Be receptive to new ideas, approaches, and technologies that can help solve problems efficiently. Embracing change doesn’t mean abandoning what you already know, but it’s about being flexible and adaptable.

Keep Learning

Organizational thinking is a continuous process that requires keeping up with the latest trends and innovations. Attend conferences, seminars, and workshops related to your field and read relevant books and articles. Continuous learning helps you stay ahead of the curve and develop new skills.

Be Patient

Organizational thinking is not a one-time solution for all problems. It requires patience, persistence, and resilience. Some problems may require more time and effort to solve than others. Don’t give up, keep trying, and be persistent.


In conclusion, we can see that problem-solving is a crucial life skill that can make the difference between success and failure in both personal and professional settings. Organizational thinking provides a methodical and structured approach to problem-solving that can significantly increase our chances of finding effective solutions.

Throughout this guide, we have explored the concept of organizational thinking, its benefits, and the process involved in this problem-solving approach. We have also examined real-life examples where organizational thinking proved successful and provided tips and advice to help develop organizational thinking skills.

By adopting organizational thinking, we can enhance our problem-solving abilities, improve our decision-making skills, and become more efficient and effective in tackling everyday challenges. As with any new skill, it may take time, practice, and patience to become a proficient organizational thinker. However, the potential benefits are well worth the effort, as we can enhance our creativity, increase our productivity, and ultimately achieve greater success in all areas of our lives.