The Eight-Step Format
"In the long run we shape our lives and shape ourselves. The process never dies. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
The Eight Steps
Steps 1-4, based on the four "perceiving" processes of personality type, focus on gathering information.
Steps 5-8, based on the four "judging" processes of personality type, focus on zeroing-in on the best option and fleshing-out the details.
Step One engages Extraverted Sensing
- Perspective: Focus on discrete bits of concrete information about the current reality.
- Task frame: What can we observe about this problem?
- Process: Capture all the relevant information on 8 x 11 sticky notes. Then combine these "info-bits" on a wall.
Step Two engages Introverted Sensing
- Perspective: Focus on discrete bits of concrete information from the past and make practical comparisons.
- Task frame: What is the history of this problem?
- Process: Report and record (see step one process).
Step Three engages Introverted Intuiting
- Perspective: Search for meaning, significance, patterns, and interrelationships that are hidden and that may go far beyond what can be proven or demonstrated.
- Task frame: Make broad "philosophical," "universal," or "abstract" observations about the information.
- Process: Report and record. Rearrange information into clusters, as appropriate.
Step Four engages Extraverted Intuiting
- Perspective: Connect relevant information and project outward to see the "big picture" and to look into the future to reveal new possibilities.
- Task frame: Note tangible connections between data to generate new approaches to the problem.
- Process: Note ideas and options; then report and record. Rearrange, as appropriate.
Step Five engages Introverted Thinking
- Perspective: Apply logical precision.
- Task frame: Fill in the missing pieces within the option-clusters, in order to hold them up to the "devil in the details" test.
- Process: Objectively "play-out" each option scenario to understand all the interim steps and effects. Report and record using flow-charting technique. Eliminate or modify any options which prove unworkable.
Step Six engages Extraverted Thinking
- Perspective: Apply objective, impersonal analysis.
- Task frame:
- Bring logical structure to the option-clusters.
- Create objective criteria
- Rate for effectiveness and eliminate the least effective.
- Process: Engage in respectful objective "debate" to:
- Refine the organization of all remaining options.
- Add all relevant information and ideas to each option in a form which visually reflects cause and effect, sequentiality, relationships, etc. (e.g. outline form).
- Determine the key "criteria" against which to objectively assess the effectiveness of each option.
- Objectively assess each option's ability to deliver on the criteria.
- Rate the options 1-5 for effectiveness.
- Eliminate or modify the lowest scored options.
Step Seven engages Extraverted Feeling
- Perspective: Creating and maintaining external harmony.
- Task frame: Predict the impacts of the options on all stakeholders' needs, desires, relationships, and emotions.
- Process: "Evaluate" the options on a scale of 1-5 for desirability. Eliminate or modify the lowest scored options.
Step Eight engages Introverted Feeling
- Perspective: Everyone's non-negotiable personal values must be respected.
- Task Focus: Ask yourself: "Does this feel right to me?" Am I comfortable with this plan?" "Does it respect the values of all the participants?"
- Process: Rate the options 1-5 on "How enthusiastically could you support the option?" Examine lowest scores to determine exactly what bothers individuals about the option. Attempt to address the concerns without discarding the entire idea. Modify or eliminate the options.
"Each citizen should play his part in the community according to his individual gifts."
The basic steps of any thorough and methodical approach to problem-solving must include:
- Gathering information
- Generating options
- Organizing the information and ideas
- Zeroing-in on the best option
Aligning these essential elements with a summary of the eight-part IPS process highlights its ability to bring the appropriate mindsets and focus to bear on each task.
|Gather Information||(1) Extraverted Sensing||Gather discrete bits of concrete information about the current reality|
|(2) Introverted Sensing||Gather discrete bits of concrete information from the past.|
|Make practical comparisons.|
|(3) Introverted Intuiting||Look for hidden significance, meaning, patterns, and interrelationships.|
|(4) Extraverted Intuiting||Note tangible connections and the "big picture" view.|
|Generate Options||Note possibilities and generate options.|
|Organize the Information and Ideas||(5) Introverted Thinking||Look at the details of each proposal in action.|
|(6) Extraverted Thinking||Organize each option with related information. Group options according to emerging key factors and/or themes.|
|Analyze||Extraverted Thinking||Rate the options for effectiveness. Eliminate the least effective options (or elements of options).*|
|Evaluate||(7) Extraverted Feeling||Predict the impact of options on stakeholders.|
|Extraverted Feeling||Rate the options for desirability. Eliminate the least desirable options (or elements of options).*|
|(8) Introverted Feeling||Examine your gut-feeling comfort level for each option. Eliminate or modify any option or element that cannot be genuinely supported.*|
|*Zeroing-in on the Best Option|