Introduction to Christian Education
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Kara Powell
January 1, 2002
"Problem Solving"

I.   Introductory comments
A.   A problem in a organization senses: a gap between a current condition (what is) and what must, should, or could be
B.   Problem solving defined: the systematic investigation of a process to identify the root cause of the gap, and taking corrective action to eliminate the gap and keep it from occurring the future
C.   Problems are solved most effectively when you take a systemic approach
1.   If a pastor is a "tyrannical dictator" it is probably not just his fault
2.   It probably has some source in the congregation that would allow a pastor to take on this role
D.   Successful People and Organizations are not with out problems. They simply know how to solve them and implement lasting correctives
E.   3 Basic options to fix a gap:
1.   Fix the process
2.   Improve the process
3.   Create a new process
II.   Problem Solving Team
A.   Key Success factors
1.   Team membership
a.   Don't look for people that are just your buddies
b.   Think critically - Ask these questions
i.   Skills
ii.   Knowledge
iii.   Approval
iv.   Manageable size
2.   Team Environment
a.   Contribute ideas
b.   Think creatively
c.   Learn by collecting, sharing, and analyzing data
d.   Develop interpersonal skills
e.   Team that is committed
III.   A Systemic Model for Problem Solving (Plan, do, check, act)
A.   Step 1: Plan
1.   Describe the Problem
a.   Assemble the right team
b.   Focus on the right problem
c.   Break the problem into manageable pieces (series of questions)
d.   Describe as gap between what is and what should be
e.   Likely requires gathering data
i.   Types
a.   Qualitative - nonnumeric data
b.   Quantitative - numerical data
ii.   Sources
a.   Internal - within the organization
b.   External - outside the organization
f.   Write a final problem statement (example: we have 2 leaders we need 8 and it is affecting how people are nurtured)
2.   Describe the current process in detail
3.   Identify the root causes
4.   Develop a solution and action plan
a.   Likely is going to require creative thinking
b.   Generative potential solutions (don't edit your ideas, let others do that)
c.   Select the most effective solution
d.   Identify risks and obstacles
i.   Then you are not surprised when they come up
ii.   You know how to plan for risks better
e.   Generate all possible task to implement the solution
f.   Create an action plan
B.   Step 2: Do
1.   Identify the solution
a.   Communicate the plan (who else needs to know)
b.   Communicate regularly to share information on how the implementation is going
2.   Review and Evaluate
a.   Review the results of the change
b.   Revise the process
c.   Standardize the improvement (recommended process)
d.   Continue to monitor the process of change
C.   Step 3: Act
1.   Reflect and act on learning
a.   Asses the problem solving process and results; recommend any needed changes