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The goal of this method is to look at a specific problem from a variety of perspectives.

30 min.

Flipchart paper or Post-it notes, pens/pencils


This method gives an overview of the various causes of a problem and the many ways in which the problem may manifest itself. A careful analysis of the problem provides the basis for seeking an appropriate solution!

  • In the first step, look at the way the problem is experienced by all of the involved parties, for example, the director, employees, clients and owners. Groups of 4 – 6 people may be formed, with each group taking responsibility for one of the involved parties. These various manifestations are written down on A1-sized paper or Post-it notes.
  • In the second step, look at the various levels at which the problem manifests itself, for example, financial, social, ecological and aesthetic. This step can also include group work, if desired.


It’s difficult being open and available for clients and colleagues, because that takes a lot of time.

How does the problem manifest itself for the involved parties?

Sales clerkNo desire to take on new responsibilities because there’s already so much to do. It can take a lot of time to meet clients’ needs. Other clients waiting in line or looking for help suffer.
Store managerWants there to be a pleasant environment among employees but is also under pressure to meet financial goals. If employees are unsatisfied, the store’s operations suffer. If clients are unsatisfied, the store’s reputation suffers.
Client at store...

How does the problem manifest itself on various levels?

Social (human relationships)If there’s no time, relationships suffer. Misunderstandings and conflicts arise. If there’s openness, the work environment is pleasant and “warm”.
FinancialIf we devote too much time to others, our direct responsibilities may suffer and the stress level increases. If the client is satisfied, he/she will gladly return to the store.

3. Think about which manifestations of the problem are most significant, and look for actions to improve the situation.

Because the manifestations of the problem tend to be complex, rarely will one idea/action solve everything. Instead, think about a variety of actions that you can use to improve the current situation.

This work by Toms Urdze is licensed under
CC BY-SA 4.0