I recently read the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. It is inspiring changes in how I work with congregations.
Fatigue, Resistance and Decision Paralysis
A few ideas from Switch which I think are dead on, especially in the context of congregations and change:
- Sometimes what appears to be resistance to change is really fatigue from constant change.
- Often people who seem resistant to change are responding to calls for action that are not concrete or actionable.
- Too many choices lead to “decision paralysis” and result in people defaulting to doing nothing.
As I lead trainings and guest speak (email to schedule) people are constantly commenting that they want our congregations to change, adapt and grow. There is interest, passion, even relevant skills out there.
The problem is that without the right strategies, focused resources and committed teams, change doesn’t happen.
We talk and talk, spin our wheels, get frustrated and eventually let our attention and the urgency slip. A little time goes by. Another study, task force, new organizational structure…
Switching Strategies & Talking Change
Reading Switch, as well as the new Faith Formation 2020 book, one thing is crystal clear to me — little tweaks in how we “do church’ isn’t going to cut it. We need more focus, collaboration and a much greater urgency.
Personally, I want to make sure my time and energy is helping, not contributing to the noise and distraction.
In the Switch authors Chip and Dan Heath suggest that for change to happen the “revolutionaries” and “reformers” need to find a safe space where they can talk, share ideas and stratagize. Without ideas, innovation and action are inhibited by existing norms, structures and leaders.
One change I’ve been contemplating is blogging less and allocating that time to host live conversations/open forums. I have a webinar service which allows for up to 100 people to talk via Skype and VOIP (for free) with all the normal webinar chat and presentation features. If you have thoughts on creating a space for talking change, let me know. I have ideas, but I’d love to yours.
A few areas I’m looking for ideas:
- Schedule of call – a regular date and time for max participation
- Topic suggestions
- Nominations for guest panelists to speak on topics before open discuss
- Names for “space” or event
- What else?