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April 23, 2019

When You're Tired of Leading Change

By Todd Adkins

As you lead change in your church, you will grow tired of talking about change. You will grow tired of celebrating change. Your staff and leaders will approach you and say, “This is too much! People are tired of hearing us talk about this.” But, don’t let up!

You know the storyline of every monster movie for the last three decades, right? You think the creature is dead. There’s no way he could have survived, and he is quiet, not moving, and seemingly gone from the scene. But then he comes back to life when you least expect it. Change is transformation, not transaction. Change is a process, not an event. Continue to focus on the change, and keep turning over every rock until there is no longer any trace of the status quo.

You must keep a constant eye out for things may seem to come out of the sky and challenge your change process.

A Decision Making Loop During Change

John Boyd was a World War II military strategist who said that during dogfights between fighter pilots, each pilot went through these four decision phases. Whoever did them quicker was the one that won out. Most of us aren’t locked in a life or death struggle while leading change, but these four phases are helpful in agile decision making.1

  • Observe: What is going on around us? What is the situation?
  • Orient: What do we need to orient to or adapt to what is going on? How do you need to change in light of your current reality?
  • Decide: What do you have identified as an opportunity for change? What can you decide on that will actually help you move forward?
  • Act: How can you see it through to completion? What will you do to observe the results?

Again, this assessment is one that is never truly done because one decision leads to another. This is a decision loop. It’s not a linear diagram, because even after you’ve made that action step, you are going to continually evaluate the decision and improve your system, which ultimately improves your leadership.The quicker you are at making solid decisions, the better leader you will become.

A New Status Quo

This may sound counterintuitive, but the ultimate success of change is if has actually resulted in a new status quo in your church or organization. If the change has now become part of your church’s social norms, then you may declare you accomplished your mission.

If you fail to get to this stage, then it will be harder to lead any initiative in the future. But if you get here, everyone in the organization will approach the next change initiative in a much more positive light. Continue to come back and connect the dots for people. Don’t leave it up to people to create their own narrative. Show exactly how these dots connect and how they have made significant improvements in your church.

  1. Chet Richards, Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, 2004).

Adapted from Leading Change in Your Church. Download the FREE ebook here.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Adkins

Todd Adkins (@ToddAdkins) is the Director of Leadership at LifeWay. Prior to LifeWay, Todd served as an executive pastor at McLean Bible Church. He has a background in launching strategic initiatives and scalable campus models to provide immediate growth while remaining financially solvent. During his time at LifeWay, Todd has introduced customizable, web-based leadership development through MinistryGrid.com. He is passionate about helping churches build a Leadership Pipeline and develop Training Pathways for every role in the church.

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