How to solve problems based on the deviation-from-ideal-situation approach

We live in a less-than-ideal world. Things are not optimal, and this causes a lot of needless human suffering. Yet, often it does not have to be this way and this suffering is preventable.

Your success in solving problems is pivotal in nearly all professions, especially knowledge-based word. Whether you are a doctor, a psychologist, an economist, an investor, a consultant, your job revolves around solving problems.

Our problem-solving approach consists of three main stages:

  1. Identify ideal situation: this situation is currently non-existent but we want to want to make a change in that direction.
  2. Measure deviation from that ideal situation: in this step you look at the current situation and idea situation, and then identify dimensions in which they differ, and then measure the difference (deviation)
  3. Move things toward the ideal situation

Those steps can be broken down into the following steps

  1. Identify the ideal state
  2. Ensure there is agreement on what that ideal state is (different stakeholders often have different ideal states in mind).
  3. Describe the current state (get inputs from everyone)
  4. Measure the deviation(s) of the current state from that ideal state
  5. Identify the causes of that deviation. This should include both root causes and minor causes.
  6. Develop a plan to tackle those causes and mobilize change towards that ideal situation
  7. Monitor progress towards that ideal state, and repeat steps as necessary as the ideal state usually shifts

Applying this in practice

We can apply this on any problem of choice.

How to solve problems based on the deviation-from-ideal-situation approach