Looking For A Fresh Approach To Solve A Problem?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 6:50:00 AM Categories: Leadership
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Sometimes it's hard to decide how to solve problems we face as ministry leaders.  Here is a simple tool that will help you approach problem-solving from a fresh perspective:  Question-Storming.  I am always looking for great questions.  I’m inspired by Peter Drucker’s line that “the important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question.  For there are few things as useless–if not dangerous–as the right answer to the wrong question (The Practice of Management).”

Recently in my hunt for a better question I tripped across a really great webinar by Jeff Dyer, the co-author of The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.

The webinar provided an overview of the five skills of disruptive innovators (associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting).  Although there were great takeaways and real application from all five skills, questioning really caught my attention.  And within the skill of questioning, a tool called question-storming gripped me.  We will use this idea!


For me, the big idea of the webinar had to do with a skill called question-storming.  Essentially, when you brainstorm you are trying to come up with solutions or ideas; when you question-storm you are coming ups with questions related to the problem (at least 25 questions).

Here are the steps:

1.    Identify a problem you are trying to solve.

2.    Instead of brainstorming solutions, brainstorm ONLY questions to the problem (at least 25 questions).

3.    Write the questions on a white board for everyone to see as they are being generated.

4.    At the end, prioritize the top 3 to 5 questions that should be addressed/answered before brainstorming solutions.

Try this process the next time you have a big problem to solve and see if it doesn’t help clarify the first steps you need to take in solving that problem.

Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV, and as LifeWay's Small Group Specialist. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com. Visit Mark Howell at http://www.MarkHowellLive.com/about/