Think about it. geralt/24150@pixabay
There are many things that have not stood the test of time. Puffy sleeves. The mullet (I’m mortified that it’s making a “comeback”). Aspic salad. The word “groovy.”
So, when something is worthy of a look-back, let us celebrate.
How about 1995? A time of hard copy newspapers, the advent of cell phones, and when AOL was cool. In addition, there was John Kotter’s article, Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail in the Harvard Business Review. I recently picked it up in the collection of HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Change Management. It’s worthy of a read, even in 2022.
Post-pandemic may be the best time to look at your ministry setting anew and think:
- Is what we were/are doing working?
- What might the future hold for us?
- How can we change our community and world for good?
Seriously, if everything you were doing pre-COVID was working just swimmingly, why fix what ain’t broke? However, if you have a nagging sense that things could be better a review and reset might be in the works. If that’s you, Kotter’s article is one you should read.
The short hand:
According to Kotter, here are the eight reasons why change efforts fail:
1. Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency.
2. Not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition.
3. Lacking a vision.
4. Under-communicating the vision by a factor of ten.
5. Not removing obstacles to the new vision.
6. Not systematically planning for and creating short-term wins.
7. Declaring victory too soon.
8. Not anchoring changes in the corporation’s culture.
Here are the two that particularly stand out:
#3 – Your vision is key. Not sure what your vision is? Need some inspiration? Here are two fabulous videos: The tried and true “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” TED Talk by Simon Sinek and Michael Jr.’s short but powerful “Know Your Why.” Heck I’ll even throw in a bonus: The little girl afraid to go down her first ski jump.
#4 – Communicating and over-communicating is crucial. So often, we take a “one and done” approach to telling our people about a change or new direction. An announcement is made from the pulpit, a brief article is posted in the newsletter. If you’ve done this, you’ve undoubtedly been surprised to be told, “I never heard about this.” When you are making a major change, people need to be told in multiple ways, multiple times. Word has it that people need to see something seven times before they remember it. That’s seven times.
Clearly, the other six reasons for transformation failure that Kotter makes are essential for change to be successful. Take a moment to read the article and think how you can make long-lasting change in your ministry setting. But do not skimp on figuring out your vision or communicating with your people.
1995…what’s old is new. With Kotter’s assistance, you can lead your congregation through change that can transform not only your church, but your community…and maybe even the world.