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Preparing Business Scenario Analyses

In: Business and Management

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Preparing Business Scenario Analyses

The following general guidelines may be used in preparing for an oral or written business scenario analysis and presentation.
There may be several feasible courses of action regarding the solution to any case. It is more important to concern yourself with the process of problem definition and isolation, analysis, and evaluation of alternatives, and the choice of one or more recommendations, rather than trying to find a single answer. Very often, the right answer is the one that you can propose, explain, defend, and make work.

• The Process of Analyzing a Case
1. Read and study the scenario thoroughly and efficiently. Read the scenario once for familiarity, noting issues that come to the forefront. Read the scenario again. Determine all the facts, making notes about symptoms of problems, root problems, unresolved issues, and roles of key players. Watch for issues beneath the surface.
2. Isolate the problem(s). Get a feel for the overall environment by putting yourself in the position of one of the key players. Seek out the pertinent issues and problems.
3. Analyze and evaluate alternatives.
a. Once the problems and issues are isolated, work at gaining a better understanding of causes. In what area of the unit do the problems exist? Why? What caused them? Examine and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the unit’s processes (e.g., planning, communication), human behaviors, and/or exhibits (e.g., financial statements, sales reports.) Check the effectiveness of managerial competencies. Are the unit’s objectives and strategies compatible with its skills and resources?
b. Formulate a solid evaluation of the case. Examine various alternatives. Weigh the pros and cons of each. Are they feasible? Decide on the most valid.
4. Make recommendations. Draw up your set of recommendations on what must be done and prepare an agenda of corrective actions. What recommendations would you make to the manager of this unit? What specific functions and activities does the unit have to perform in order to solve its problems? Are the recommendations workable? Affordable? A good rule of thumb to follow is to avoid recommending anything you would not do yourself if you were in management’s shoes. Give reasons for your recommendations.

• Presenting the Case
1. Identify key problems and issues: State them as clearly and precisely as possible. It is essential that your presentation reflect a sharply focused diagnosis of significant problems and issues confronting management.
2. Present the analysis and evaluation: Support your evaluation with facts. If you add exhibits or documentation, discuss them; don’t just tack them on to the report.
3. Recommendations and plan of action: Recommendations should address all of the problems and/or issues that were identified and analyzed. What are the consequences of your recommendations? Be sure the unit is financially able to carry them out. Don’t speak in generalities, such as: “Everyone should do more communicating.” Be specific. What should be done? Who should do it? When? For example, state the following: “Manager X should take the following steps: 1., 2., 3., etc.”

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