September 13, 2016

4 Things to Know When Leading Change

As a change agent, I learned a long time ago that the process of change isn’t easy. Leading change requires the willingness to challenge the status quo and the traditional.

In 4 Things to do While You're Waiting on Change, I wrote that, change doesn’t come over night, it takes time. At the same time, change that moves too slow can do great harm. 

The key is to know when and how to bring or lead change. It’s a delicate process that may or may not look like you expect or would desire for it to look.

I believe change is necessary for growth and success no matter who you are, who you’re leading or what you’re doing. If you plan to be in ministry a long time, change is inevitable and you will have to reinvent yourself from time to time. 

Just as change is not easy, neither is leading change. Why? Because you’re going against the way things have always been done. 

Change means you have to convince people just enough to leave their comfort zones and to take action.

This blog post is not only advice, but tips for those who want to lead change in ministry, at work, are in their community.

I have led lots of change in ministry, I’ve been successful at times, and failed at times, however, because of this experience, I’m able to share with you what works and what doesn’t.

Here are four things to know when leading change.
  1. Be willing to fail. As I said earlier, I’ve been successful at times, and failed at times, the point is, change involves risk. If you are looking to lead change you have to understand this, but don’t be afraid to fail. Accept the challenge and when you fail, don’t let it defeat you.

  2. Prepare for push back. Change invites opposition. Change makes people uncomfortable. People hate change, some even struggle with it. 

    Change for those in leadership as well as "Baby Boomers" is hard and they tend to cling to the traditional and the status quo for a sense of security. If they feel that their security is being challenged, they will let you know, either up front, or through someone else.

    Oh, the stories I could tell, nevertheless, no matter how much criticism or push back you receive learn to deal with it. Focus on the call and not the suffering and you will outlast your critics.

  3. Be willing to adjust and be flexible. If you’re going to lead successful change, you’re going to have to adjust as needed, and be flexible enough to achieve buy in as well as collaboration. 

    Progress in achieving change should be more important than having change work exactly the way you would like it to work. But remember, surface changes are not at all change for the better.

  4. Change must be compatible. Jesus tells us in Matthew 9:17, "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved."

    You can’t force change to fit in an old framework. The purpose of any change needs to relate to those in which the changes are for. 

The greatest success in leading change is to emulate the example of Jesus. He came to earth to solve a problem. To solve a problem means there has to be change. His ministry was about change, and He was not afraid to speak the truth to authorities that were hindering the progress of His kingdom’s growth.

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