We have all made the mistake.
You have a brilliant idea. You want to reach more people with the good news of Jesus. The Gospel demands that we step out, and even try new things. But you know that some will be opposed to your latest idea. I mean, all you want to do is just give something a go. Kind of. Deep down you know that people should have tried this long ago. Yes, someone had said that “we tried that years ago.” But you know that now the right people are there, or that society has changed. People are ready. Besides, you can always undo it, right?
Well, John Kotter’s landmark work on change management helps one develop the insight that even the best ideas will probably fail if you don’t work to both bring people on board and bring people on the journey, leading them through the process of sharing the problem to implementing the outcome.
It all starts with establishing a sense of urgency around an opportunity or problem. And it can’t just be yours (in Christian circles, this is sometimes called the Mt Sinai approach – where a leader comes down with “stone tablets” that outline a way forward). It needs to be owned by people generally, and particularly what Kotter calls a “Powerful Guiding Coalition.” As a group works together, appreciating each other’s gifts, diversity and varying perspectives, and with prayer, more often than not a far more powerful way forward is developed – in no small part because it is broadly owned.
While some (though usually a minority) may thrive on change, people can resist change for a variety of reasons. Some are comfortable with the status quo. Some need evidences. Others need to see that the new proposed way has advantages over existing methods. Others don’t necessarily need their way, they just need their way to be considered.
We recommend John Kotter’s book “The Iceberg is Melting” as a fun fable style book. It tells the fictious story of a penguin colony that is living on a melting iceberg and uses the story to outline the principles of change management that so many have found so helpful. Summaries can be found online, but they’re not as fun as reading this short book.
At its core, it shows how even the best ideas must be developed with people involved, and this means that teamwork is one of the fundamental skills necessary for any leader in the (post) modern world. A team is a place where collaboration and synergy can, not just develop a concept into a great idea, but also a place that can drive and lead change through any organisation.
Kotter has 8 steps in his change management process. It is humbling to realise that there are no shortcuts, particularly with changes of a significant magnitude. If you try to skimp on one step, it is generally a matter of time until it catches up with you.
Come along to our Change Management workshop