One of the more important topics for leaders to understand and in which to gain competency is how to facilitate change. Before taking several blogs to look at a great biblical model who did just that—facilitated an amazing change process—let’s consider the topic more generally.
In the classic reference for Leading Change, John Kotter clearly and convincingly shows eight essential components for systemic change to happen (http://www.kotterinternational.com/our-principles/changesteps). Kotter focuses on change within an organization or some context. Jim Collins in Good to Great vividly illustrates the change process with that of a flywheel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j0RdTPL7cc). Watch this stimulating 2 minute video. Enough energy must be applied over time if the flywheel is to have enough momentum to continue on its own, or with a periodic push.
Equally important yet distinct is the internal change a leader needs to understand and experience to serve as an effective change agent. Deep Change by Robert Quinn is a book written to help leaders discover the internal dynamics of change. A late dear friend of mine provides a concise review of this resource (http://www.davidmays.org/BN/QuiDeep.html). “To make deep personal change is to develop a new paradigm, a new self, one that is more effectively aligned with today’s realities. In doing so, we learn the paradoxical lesson that we can change the world only by changing ourselves.” (p. 9)
A leader is a change agent. Period. Either change is happening in a positive way that enables a person and those being influenced to move toward a preferred future or else there is an eroding due to poor leadership of inactivity or unfocused activity. It is naïve to believe that we can stay the same and get to a better place.
Although this is easily seen in ministry and business contexts, it is equally apparent in social networks of family and friends. How many parents have been caught off guard when children become involved in ways of thinking or behaving that are contrary to the established family norms due to outside influences? Maybe there were times in the past when outside influences were minimal but not today. Parent/leaders must be personally changing to keep up with the changes in society (that are not ethically or morally wrong) or they might very well experience deep pain with those they love dearly.
Change for some temperaments is like daily bread while for others it is the cod liver oil hated by many of my generation. Whether we like change or not we must lean into the change needed to get us and those we serve to a better place. Who ever said being an adult or a leader would be easy?
So, if change is an essential competency for every leader, what must we know, become, and do? In the forthcoming blogs we will look at a model par excellent who led a change process that we can only stand back and marvel at.