If we were just simple software programs then change would be an easy, logical step. All you’d have to do is input the direction and poof! Instant change. Isn’t it funny though that sometimes we think that’s all we need to do to change others; change whole organizations even?
We are dealing with people here though who actually happen to be human. I know! It was hard for me to get this at first too but I’ll give you a sec…
Anywho – here’s the deal: Change is the basic facts that need to be applied for there to be growth. Transition however is the human element that leaves your accountants quivering with night-sweats.
So how do you grow your organization while dealing with the human element? That’s where a lifestyle of learning Christ-centered leadership comes in. An entire lifestyle probably cannot fit into a single blog post though so I’ll give three steps here that should help along the way.
1. Empower the resisters. Yep, that’s right! Now don’t get me wrong… You’ll want your “champion” to be trumpeting forth glorious praise for the change but we don’t want to isolate the resister. Why on God’s green Earth do you say? Well, people usually resist because they don’t feel like they are in control (We are dealing with creatures of habit after all). When we include them in the planning and decision making phase of an initiative it’s like handing them that safety blanket. When they are able to add input and talk about what is changing then they don’t feel invisible. Invisibility leads to isolation and isolation can end up with disengagement. It doesn’t mean that you have to have their approval; it just means that you are showing them that they are heard.
2. Tend to the power of habit. So we just talked about dealing with creatures of habit. I know that there are many bad habits out there for the catching but that doesn’t mean we should call it all evil and drag it to the stake for burning. Good habits have powerful affect on change. Let’s use them! I’ve even heard of people holding a miniature funeral service for an old habit that had to go. If you have to make an official observation to detach emotionally then go for it. When we focus on adding good habits though (however small they may be) good change is going to be inevitable. Keep swinging the axe and the tree will eventually fall.
The quicker we can attach to new habits the quicker we can get over the bell curve on that messy transitiony-human-element part. Yea I think that’s a word.
3. Build and maintain trust. Wow I think this has to be the most important. Every leader is imperfect except for Jesus. This means that we leak trust if we don’t “add to the pot”. Integrity is what keeps the trust meter full even when we make mistakes. When someone can be clear on your intentions and your character then they can endure the changes along the way.
Now go change somethin! Jesus loves ya!