Got a problem? Let's solve it

Got a problem? Let's solve it

Got a problem? Let's solve it

Life at Playcentre is 90% aroha and 10% solving problems. Solving problems can be an empowering learning experience if we follow a good process. On the flip side if we manage our problem solving poorly a small problem can grow into a mountain.

All problems are not equal

The first step in following a good process is acknowledging that all problems are not equal - all problems will lie on a continuum from simple to complicated to complex. When we don’t follow a good process a small problem can turn into big chaos.

Simple problems are easy to solve. These are the problems where you can follow a step by step process to solve a problem, for example buying a new vacuum cleaner. Check your budget, research your options, recommend an option and get agreement.

Complicated problems are ones like building a new playgroup. Sometimes you can break it down into a series of simple problems, but this might not always work for you. Success often takes wide consultation, several people working on it and seeking expertise advice along the way. You are bound to run into a number of anticipated difficulties and each of these will need to be solved on your way to success. You will need to carefully plan, consult and coordinate and manage your time well to pull it off.

Complex problems are ones like creating a more cooperative culture at the centre or encouraging more adults to complete the Playcentre qualifications. There is no clear process to follow or an easy fix to your problem. You will need more than one strategy and a strategy that worked once, might not work the next time. Expertise is valuable but not sufficient.

Solve with success

We can solve all problems at Playcentre by following an internal evaluation [self review] process

  • Notice the problem
  • Investigate to gather information about the problem
  • Make sense collaboratively
  • Prioritise to take action
  • Monitor and evaluate impact

 The further along the problem is on the complexity continuum the more indepth your process will be

Simple problems

  • Agree on the desired outcome
  • Follow the centre process
  • Stick to the budget [where relevant]
  • Get agreement at a meeting
  • Use meetings, Facebook, email and polls to communicate

 Complicated problems

  • Identify the stakeholders
  • Agree on the desired outcome
  • Seek expertise knowledge early on
  • Define roles clearly
  • Consult widely using face to face, written and online communication
  • Define roles, allocate jobs and task descriptions
  • Follow decision making process
  • Stick to budgets, process and timelines

 Complex problems

Solving complex problems start with whanaungatanga - building strong relationships. Follow all of the above and add a few more strategies

  •  Consult often and continuously until you have a plan of attack.
  • Look for shared understandings and work collectively to make sense.
  • Note trends and issues that emerge.
  • Once you start to implement keep reflecting and reviewing your strategies.
  • Learn from it. Transformation change is a learning experience.

Kanohi ki te kanohi

No matter the problem, always return to face to face when an online conversation [email, Facebook or other] becomes fractious. Always remember the belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken. So while online communication can be very efficient, this is only 7% of the message!

Posted: Saturday 26 August 2017