Delivering Rational Outcomes™ Program

Avoiding Irrationality in Rational Analysis


A revolution is going on in the world of Problem Solving & Decision Making. With the publication of books such as “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell and “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, the realization is that rational analysis does not always lead to rational outcomes. The aim of this program is to provide a foundation for Rational Thinking and then to discuss the common Mental Traps that plague even the most rational of approaches.

Program Agenda

The topics that we will explore during the program include:

Problem Clarification

Peter Drucker said it best in his quote “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  In other words, a leader needs to choose the right problem to solve.  The program starts with a framework to break a complex problem down into distinct issues, which you can then prioritize and take separate action on.

Root Cause Analysis

Problems can be addressed at its symptoms or root cause.  Doing the former does not eliminate the problem and there is every likelihood that it will recur. The key to permanently eliminating a Problem lies in your willingness and ability to address the issue at its deepest level. To eradicate root cause, you must first know what it is.  We will discuss the various rational thinking processes and tools that you can adopt to identify the root cause of a problem.


Developing a solution to fix a problem requires two distinct types of thinking – divergent thinking (Creativity) and convergent thinking (Decision Making). This section focuses on the rational processes and tools that support both types of thinking.

Problem Prevention

The ability to Prevent Problems is probably much more important than the ability to solve them. The field of Risk Management offers frameworks such as Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) that you can adapt to anticipate potential problems and take action to prevent them.  Risk Management also offers concepts such as Business Continuity Planning, i.e. planning for contingencies in the event a problem does happen.  We will adapt these ideas from Risk Management to provide you with a simple framework to plan for preventive and contingent actions.

Psychological Traps in Rational Analysis

Taking a rational approach does not automatically guarantee a rational outcome.  While some of these “irrational outcomes” can be attributed to personal bias, conflicting objectives and personality clashes etc., they can also be the result of mental traps that we sometimes fall into.  In this section, we will discuss some of the psychological traps that can doom even the most rational of approaches.

The Science of Persuasion – Making Psychological Traps work for you

A major challenges in Problem Solving is that it usually involves people.  As such, it is not just important to arrive at the right solution, it is also important that everyone agrees to and is committed to the solution. This is where the skill of Persuasion & Influence comes in – engaging others into the Problem Solving process as well as the Solution.  Building on the discussion of Psychological Traps, we will explain the psychology of Persuasion and how you can use it to win others over.

Learning Methodology

Besides mini lectures, participants will learn through case studies, group discussions and movie clips.  An important aspect of the learning experience is Application. Participants will have the opportunity to apply what they learn during the program to analyze their actual workplace issues.