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The IDEAL Problem Solver

The IDEAL Problem Solver is an effective tool you can use to attack your problems. If you are used to getting on your horse and riding in all directions when faced with a problem, you may find the IDEAL Problem Solver quite handy. How do you use it?

IDEAL stands for:

  • Identify the problem and explain how it can be an opportunity

  • Define at least three different goals for your problem-solving task

  • Eplore possible strategies and new information that could help ou accomplish each of the important goals

  • Anticipate the outcomes (positive and negative) of different strategies to help you decide which ones you will act on

  • Look back and learn (after acting on your strategies, what did you notive about the problem you identified

An area I found IDEAL ideal (this is no double-speak!) is in evaluating arguments and ideologies. When you hear an argument, IDEAL(ise) it:

  • identfy a problem with it

  • definte the goal of your criticism

  • explore various strategies for verifying evidence presented

  • anticipate the outcome of certain strategies and act on those that seem most promising

  • look at the effects

One last thing you can do with this alphabet soup is to critically evaluate arguments. Here's how:

  • focus on factual accuracy

  • is the reasoning logical and consistent question the underlying assumptions

    It would be helpful if you could try to use the IDEAL Problem Solver in different situations for some time to experience its full impact.

    About The Author

    Ke o agile is an NLP Coach and publisher of In TheZone (, an NLP focused ezine for capacity builders in the personal and professional skills development area


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