Problem Solving Framework


Do you find it difficult to make decisions? Do you go on analyzing something in your head a multitude of times and are uncertain whether to take the next step?  Are you faced with a life situation (problem) that it taking up your energy?

I have found the SCORE model to be a comprehensive problem solving model. The SCORE model comes from Neuro Linguistic Programming NLP. Even if you are not an NLP practitioner you can still use the SCORE model for problem solving purposes.

Originating in 1987 by Robert Dilts and Todd Epstein, the SCORE model is made up of 5 components.

SYMPTOMS: These are the immediate signs that tell you that there is a problem. (For example: I weigh myself and I notice my weight has gone up by a few kilograms; my clothes tend to feel tighter; I feel lethargic and not so energetic when on the move.)

CAUSES: These may be the current constraints or the conditions that led to the symptoms (For example: binge eating, skipping exercise routines for a few weeks, etc.)

OUTCOME: This is the result that you desire i.e. your goal – where you want to go. (For example: ‘I want to lose 5 kilograms to achieve the weight of 50 kg by the next 4 weeks). The outcome should be specific, time bound and realistic.

RESOURCES: These are the capabilities, qualities and reserves that one can use in solving the problem. (For example: I like to swim. so I can incorporate swimming as a part of the strategy in losing weight; or I have a friend who is a nutritionist and I can consult her to create a healthy dietary plan; I learned a breathing technique called pranayam which helps balance all organ functions, maintain metabolism and vitality. I can incorporate this into a daily plan).

EFFECTS: These are the long term higher level results of the outcome. It answers the questions like – Why is this important to you? What will you achieve by meeting this goal. Usually the effects are abstract, e.g. self fulfillment, confidence, peace etc. (For example: When I am 50 kilograms I will feel good about myself- I will love myself and take care of myself – eat well and exercise. It will give me a good self image).


To use this process, one needs to ask the right questions in each component. It is important to address the SYMPTOMS first then the OUTCOME. However, the remaining components can be addressed in any order.

Questions one needs to ask:

SYMPTOM: What is not working? What is it that you want to change?

CAUSES: What are the underlying causes of the symptom? What’s stopping you from fixing it? What benefit do you get from NOT fixing it? (normally this question will address matters that are no so obvious. In the example above it could be something like this – By not losing weight I can be in my comfort zone, feel protected in some way. Other examples can be – not having to take responsibility or being self righteous, etc.

EFFECTS: What meaning does it give you? Why is it important to you?

RESOURCES: Have you faced a similar problem before? How did you solve it? What skills/capabilities do you have to bring to solve this problem and/or contacts and network you might have who can help or guide you to solve the problem?

The next time you are faced with a problem (I personally prefer to call it a life- situation) try to reach an answer through the above technique.  I have used it and find it to be very effective. It has saved me a lot of time and energy.

Credits: Barney Wee, Mind transformation, Singapore


About Author

Archana Kaur (Anna)

Archana is one of the co-founders of Almonds & Raisins.