The 4 step problem solving formula

Action Workshop:

Pick a problem, challenge, goal or aspiration you have been thinking about for some time - or that the current virus situation has thrown in your face.

It can be big or small. The framework works for both. Big will simply take you more time. Estimate 20minutes for a small one and 2h for a big one. You will get faster with practice.

Then go through the 4 step problem solving formula.

You should spend as much time as necessary on the DEFINE step until it is clear, otherwise you will be wasting your time with the other steps.


What is the current (A) situation?

What is the future (B) situation?

Be specific: Who What When Where & Why

50% of solving a problem or achieving a goal is clearly defining what you want


To analyze is to cut reality with a knife.

Cut or "break down" the problem you are facing into a few areas, 7 maximum.

Prioritize the top 3 areas that if solved would make the other areas unimportant or irrelevant.

What does "solved" look like for each of those areas?


Propose alternative solutions

There is no 1 or perfect answer, there are infinite alternatives.

Don’t get stuck because you are searching for the “right answer”

Criteria to pick alternatives:

  • Simple is better than complex.
  • Limit the downside and maximize the upside.
  • Try again risks, avoid game over risks.
  • What is the likelihood that I will take action on this alternative?


Define the next action step

Schedule the actions somewhere you look at every single day, ideally several times a day (eg. Your calendar)

Define the next action step after that one -once you are done with the current step-

Clear vision, and next immediate step. This gets you moving from A to B. Steady day by day.


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