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Implementing Action Plans Problem Solving and Making Decisions. Class 4 July 29, 2010. Implementing Action Plans. 1. Setting goals and objectives: example: Goal: To improve foster care services Impact objective: To decrease the number of children waiting for foster homes

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Implementing action plans problem solving and making decisions

Implementing Action PlansProblem Solving and Making Decisions

Class 4

July 29, 2010


Implementing Action Plans

1. Setting goals and objectives: example:

Goal: To improve foster care services

Impact objective: To decrease the number of children waiting for foster homes

from an average of 150 to 100 each year

Service objective: To conduct a recruitment campaign that will increase the pool

of foster parents from 10 to 60

Product objective: To produce a training manual for foster parents

Operational objective: To hire two additional recruitment staff

**not all objectives lend themselves to quantifiable measurement

**objectives should not conflict with each other


  • Anticipating Unintended Consequences

  • Preparation is essential before taking action

  • A positive decision, although beneficial may produce negative side effects

  • i.e., Iatrogenic effects

  • Managing Change

  • Tipping point leadership

  • Initiating pilot programs: Projects that focus on short-term, urgently needed

  • results have the best chance of success

  • Labeling something as a “crisis” focuses needed attention and may help

  • find a solution


Handling resistance to change:

**resistance alerts the manager that they may be a problem

**staff may resist if they do not understand purpose of change

**wise not to implement change if staff strongly oppose

**timing of change is essential

**use energy of resistance

**consider: staff skills; culture of the organization; feasibility of the project;

level of funding; changes in marketplace or public policy;

risk of mission drift


Contingency Planning

imagine the worst; the unlikely

“what if” scenarios

fail safe analysis

Work out the details of a plan

Reverse Order Planning

Forward Sequence Planning

Timeline Charting


  • Questions for Discussion

  • Your are the manager for a program designed to serve street youth at risk

  • for HIV/AIDS. What would you determine to be the mission statement;

  • overarching goal; and objectives ( impact, service, product, operational)

  • for the program.

  • What kinds of problems might you anticipate as you begin implementation

    • and what contingency plans would you develop?

  • List major tasks that you would need to perform to get the program going and

  • create a 12-week timeline.


Problem Solving and Decision Making

1. Analyzing the Problem

**specify the problem: when, who, where

avoid oversimplification

**determine the boundaries: develop a problem statement

**clarify different perspectives

2. Consider Alternative Solutions

** consider trade-offs; identify advantages and

disadvantages of various solutions


  • Making Decisions

  • Following questions help minimize risk:

  • a. Does your decision increase something of value?

  • b. Can the decision be made at lowest level possible?

  • c. Can the decision be considered an experiment?

  • d. Are the negative consequences so great that decision should not

  • be made?

  • e. Can commitments be made on an incremental basis?

  • f. Are you fully prepared to carry out the decision?

  • g. Do you have a workable exit strategy?

  • **be boldly tentative!

  • **involve staff in decision making!


Decision Making Pitfalls:

flaws in the process to be avoided:

1. Clinging to the familiar

2. Defending past decisions

3. Seeking only confirming evidence

4. Framing the question too narrowly


  • Monitoring Results:

  • -managers and staff must review the results of their efforts

  • - can be measured through objectives and performance indicators

  • Making Corrections

  • -review of success or partial success provides a springboard for

  • future decision making and next steps


  • Questions for Discussion

  • Identify a problem in your organization

  • Develop a brief problem statement and describe how the problem might be defined

    • by clients, line staff, administrators, and public officials connected with your

    • agency

    • 3. Consider 3 alternative solutions to the problem

    • 4. Choose a solution and state how you would monitor the results


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