Five learnings about leading in a time of constant change
Our Certschool students walk through the 6-step change process found in the book, Surface to Soul. In addition, they read John Kotter’s article describing the 8 reasons why transformation efforts fail. Collectively, we review the learnings found in the book, Switch, by Dan and Chip Heath, and then discuss Ron Heifetz’s work on adaptive change.
I’ve added my “Top 5” learnings about leading change below that I’ve found applicable to congregations I coach. Please send me your insights on the subject:
- Begin with building on the bright spots. Highlight what’s working and transformational in ministry, and do more of these things.
- Celebrate the past. Remind people of the bold decisions they’ve made in the past. Use their legacy of taking bold steps in the past as a springboard for taking bold actions now.
- Rather than opposing the old, spend energy encouraging the new. Quit attending meetings that focus on propping up or prolonging the life of ministries that have seen their better days. Redirect funds to support new initiatives and avoid subsidizing ministries that have limited impact.
- Assume that people aren’t aware of new changes. Just because articles have been written on the changes ahead and the pastor preached on them, doesn’t mean that people are aware of them, understand them, and or embrace them. Have leaders continuously ask people what they know about the changes. Gather their opinions about them. Have a 60 second elevator speech ready for those seeking more information. John Kotter states that most change efforts are under communicated by the factor of 10. I find that to be true. What’s often perceived as resistance is really a request for more information. People need to know the “what,” the “so what,” and the “now what” if they are to embrace and support the change.
- You can’t do it alone. Create a guiding coalition that will help create a buzz around the change efforts and help sustain the effort then you encounter resistance.