In one of my workshops at our conference this Saturday I noted the need for our leaders to be bolder, to experiment more, and to make trouble. This “trouble-making” notion is something I’ve heard UUA President Peter Morales stating on multiple occasions.
Following the workshop I was asked for the source. “Where did Peter Morales state this? I’ll believe it when I see it….”
I knew I had heard it at least twice. One was at a UU Mass Action event where Morales spoke. I took the note “troublemakers wanted” during his presentation, though no transcript or video is available. The other instance was in his Sunday sermon from this past General Assembly. I just looked at the event coverage and found the quote.
UUA President Peter Morales:
… I had a conversation last year with a famous expert on organizational change—Harvard professor has written a shelf full of books. And in that conversation he made a comment that has haunted me for a year. He observed that when an organization fails it is almost never its problems that kill it. What kills it is its past success. What kills it is its past success. And what he meant was that problems tend to be technical and solvable, but that people have a tendency to hold onto the past, to old ways of doing things even when they’re no longer relevant because the past has become part of their identity. And this holding onto the past kills the organization. What are we hanging onto that no longer serves us?
We need to remind ourselves that our heroes and heroines were always people who knew how to let go, who saw new possibilities, and who were bold. The best way for us to honor the past is to be like them. To push for change, to forge a vision of a new future, and yes, to make trouble.
I’m going to regret having said that…
We need trouble-makers, leaders who
- can let go of the past
- find new ways of doing things
- particularly those that are relevant today
This most certainly can be seen as “making trouble” as the necessary change includes letting go of how the UUA staff, UUA Board, Districts, Congregations, UU Clergy and Lay Leaders have done things through this present day.
Friends, in order to lead the change we need, you may be called to act in ways contrary to our culture and even some present policies, procedures and protocols of our Association and congregations. If the unofficial rule book governing how we “do church” and Unitarian Universalism here in America isn’t working – and its not — you may need to “break the rules” challenging and changing our old ways. (clarified 11/2)
And I may regret having said that! Whatever you do, just don’t break the law, okay? 😉
I have some specific thoughts on trouble that I think needs to be made.
But first, time to vote!
Do you have ideas for trouble that needs to be made within our movement? Share via comments or to me directly via email.