If you look behind you, and no one is there, then you aren’t really leading anything at all.
Change is one of the greatest things we as leaders must navigate. Things that stay the same will inevitably become stale and outdated. As a leader, we must always be pointing our teams toward the next thing. That means transition.
Leaders fail almost every day when it comes to navigating change. The reason why they fail is simple: they didn’t do a good job rallying the individuals on the team. How does this happen? If change is such an important part of a growing organization, why don’t people embrace it more? Why is it so hard? Here are some key thoughts regarding why people might not be on board with you when you try and bring about the change that will bring greater success.
It’s all about you.
Egocentric leaders are not good agents of change. The reason this is true is because when you constantly communicate through your words and actions that the change is more about you than it is about the organization, it is a big turn off for everyone around you. The biggest pitfall a leader can have is when they view the team as a bunch of people whose purpose is to make them look good. Great team members don’t stick around to follow a person like that. When the change is all about your personal success, you are telling everyone on the team that you are the most important person in the room, and you aren’t.
There is no vision.
If you haven’t clearly communicated why the change is so important, than it won’t be important to anyone else. The first step in navigating change successfully is casting a vision that people will want to be a part of. Take the time to show everyone on the team what life will look like if the change you are proposing happens. Have clear goals. If the vision is compelling enough, then it will be hard for the team to resist.
Embrace an innovation mentality.
People don’t like to change things just for the sake of changing things. The concept of innovation is about changing things to make them better than they already are. The key question here is, “How can we make this better than it already is?” Sometimes that means eliminating a program to give more focus on something else. Sometimes it means re-allocating space. If the change comes from a heart of improvement and greater effectiveness, you are showing the team how important the change really is.
Allow the team to talk about how proposed changes will positively or negatively affect the areas they lead.
One of the worst moves a leader can make is implementing a change that will negatively affect important areas without receiving input from others. It is imperative that you take the time to weigh the costs when it comes to implementing change. Does transitioning all small groups to meet on campus negatively affect the serving culture? Is it worth it? Are there options that could be explored that have fewer implications in other areas?
If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail.
This is huge. Too many leaders have fallen flat on their face simply because they got too impatient and implemented change too fast. Strategy will always beat speed when it comes to change. You need to allow time to explore all of the options and steps when it comes to implementing change. The church isn’t going to fail if you don’t start that extra service next week instead of next month, so stop acting like it will. It is also important to remember that just because you have been thinking about implementing a change for a long time, it doesn’t mean others on the team have been thinking about it too. Give everyone time to get things in order before beginning the transition. Take time to let everyone tell you what they will need to do and how long it will take before jumping in and blasting change all over the place. If you set your team up for failure simply because you moved too quickly, you will definitely be standing alone in the end.
The keys to navigating change are listening, being informed, and being patient. If you can do this, then you will always have people ready to follow you into the war zone that can be change.