The SUBROUTINE is a four-step process that starts with people’s perceptions of a situation then moves through the problems that they feel to the needs that they want to have fulfilled and, finally, to the actions/solutions that fulfil these needs. This powerful process can be applied to self-analysis, to active listening and to the expression of one’s own needs and wants.

Mastery of the the SUBROUTINE (so called because it is invoked multiple times and in multiple ways during any encounter) will greatly benefit any Customer-Facing Engineer. In particular, it is an antidote to the situation-to-solutions short circuit – the habit of jumping into a discussion of specific actions too early in a conversation.