How do you break a grid-lock when there are important decisions to be made?

For instance, when a leader is trying to convince their team or congregation to move in a new direction and there is disagreement. If the values that support the new direction are not in alignment, this will create conflict. I’ve seen this occur when a pastor comes away from a conference with a new idea that he/she is excited about but has not laid the necessary groundwork to create a culture that allows the initiative to be embraced.

I’ve worked with several congregations in particular that have vision for small group ministry but haven’t cultivated the soil before implementing it. This normally results in frustration. At best, a few groups might get launched but will sputter and, eventually, fizzle out. If the leaders would have been more thoughtful, aware, and strategic in the way they had approached their small group ministries they might have had a chance. In so many cases, though, what they lose is time and trust. As a result, the people that are most affected will not be as excited about the next idea that comes around.

How do you develop your problem-solving skills?

First, identify skill categories into sub-skills or individual competencies. This allows leaders to focus in on their development. Here are the individual competency categories of Problem Solving & Decision Making:

  • Critical thinking
  • Data gathering and processing
  • Tool selection methods
  • Alternative weighing ability
  • Lateral conceptualization
  • Perception and judgment
  • Risk assessment skills

Fortunately, a tool exists to assess these areas called the Problem Solving & Decision Making Profile. To administer the assessment, participants plot their scores onto a histogram chart for each category. This quickly shows where efforts to improve should be concentrated in the future. Detailed interpretation notes are included for each category, including improvement actions for low scorers.


Author: Jon Warner

Publisher: Team Publications

© All Rights Reserved


This tool is reliable and valid, so it establishes a baseline you can trust.

Back to the small group scenario above:

If leaders who are pioneering new ministry areas understand their strengths and liabilities in problem solving and decision making, they can find ways to accommodate for what they lack and capitalize on what they possess.

One of the churches from the scenario above actually did the hard work of reflecting and assessing how they could have addressed the realities of launching a new vision for small groups prematurely–unfortunately, it was after the fact. Fortunately, through prayerful conversations and multiple gatherings, they successfully limited the damage, bringing many of the leaders through the transition.

How much better would it have been to do preventative work versus damage control?  Having a clear sense of what is involved in problem solving and decision making before introducing a new ministry saves time, money, and energy.

If you are looking at ways to increase your problem solving and decision-making skills, take a look at the profile and see if you can avoid some of the pitfalls you’ve encountered in the past.



Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash


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