I recently finished reading The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John C. Maxwell. While he pointed out many (21 to be exact) qualities a leader needs to have, today I want to look at the quality of problem solving. We’re going to briefly look at a quote from his book, what the Bible says about problem solving and finally we’re going to look at a way to approach problems.
In his book Dr. Maxwell wrote of a story about David Livingstone who was a missionary to Africa. He stated:
“A mission organization wanted to send helpers to Dr. Livingstone, so the leader wrote, ‘Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to send other men to join you.’ Livingstone replied, ‘If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all’
Livingstone wanted men who would face problems and overcome them. He didn’t want men who would shrink back from a challenge. We should strive to be such men and women that we could go “if there is no road at all.” Now let’s see what the Bible says about problem solving.
In 2 Timothy 1: 7 Paul told Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” This sounds to me like a person who would take on a problem head on and solve it with God’s help. Paul also said in Romans 8: 37 “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We need to look at verse 35 to see that “these things” mean “trouble”, “hardship”, “persecution”, “famine”, “nakedness”, “danger” and “sword”. Through Jesus in us we can overcome these things and be problem solvers. Moving to the Old Testament let’s look at the ancient warrior Joshua. He was faced with invading a nation and conquering it for Israel. God told him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” We should stand and solve our problems and not back down. Now let’s look at some nuts and bolts of problem solving.
Several years ago during one of our training exercises I was taught the problem solving acronym APTEC. It can be a very useful tool in the practical side of problem solving. It goes like this. ANALYZE: look at and study the problem. Get familiar with it. PLAN: create a plan to overcome the obstacle. TRAIN: practice your plan. EXECUTE: attack the problem as you have planned and trained. CRITIC: go over how the operation went. What went well and what needs improvement for next time. So the next time you are faced with a problem give APTEC a try and see how it works for you.
How do you see yourself as a problem solver? Are you faced with a problem and want to cringe or is a fire lit in you making you want to attack it head on as a challenge? In life we’re going to be faced with many problems. As leaders it is our job to face the problems and solve them. As Believers in Christ, God will give us the strength to overcome them if we don’t back down. So when you’re faced with a challenge remember Dr. Livingstone and the type of men he was looking for, remember how we are conquerors through Jesus, and remember APTEC. Be a problem solver.
That Other’s May Live,