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Theories & Approaches

All Theories & Approaches

Staff Assessment Exercise One: From Problems to Assets

To compare the effects of a "problem-solving" approach to other alternatives, gather a group of colleagues and try tackling the teen pregnancy issue in two different ways.

The traditional approach is to ask these types of questions:

  • What’s wrong?
  • Why do we have this problem?
  • How long have we had it?
  • How does it affect us?
  • Whose fault is it?

Discuss these for a few minutes and notice the tone and mood of your group. Is this a depressing conversation? Does it fill you with motivation to do something, or do you feel overwhelmed?

Instead, try these types of questions to reframe the issue and tap into more energy and motivation:

  • What do we want?
  • When do we want it?
  • How will we know when we have it?
  • When we get what we want, what else in our lives – in our communities' lives – will improve?
  • What assets and resources do we have available to help us with this? (Be creative!)
  • How can we best utilize the assets and resources that we have?
  • What can we do now to get what we want or to change the situation?
Adapted from Darvin Ayre, Gruffie Clough, and Tyler Norris. 1999. Facilitating Community Change. Community Initiatives, Inc. Boulder, CO.


Next: Staff Assessment Exercise Two: Organizational Assessment Questionnaire