Switching Strategies and Talking Change

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.

You can comment below, share thoughts on the UU Growth Facebook page, send me a Tweetemail me or leave a voice message at (617) 744-9784.

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?

5 thoughts on “Switching Strategies and Talking Change

  1. Great idea! I think that Michael Dowd’s Evolutionary Christianity forum may be a good example – he started with publishing one-on-one conversations with leaders and is now moving to forums for dialogue with active and engaged listeners. Just a thought for structuring dialogue…

  2. For me this isn’t an either-or, but a both-and. UU needs prophetic voices. It seems as if we have shied away from this in the past few decades, but the time has come. The reason that innovators, revolutionaries & reformers need a safe place to talk, share ideas and stratagize is that being the prophetic voice makes you a target.

    That said, prophetic voices need a pulpit. Your pulpit is your blog & your workshops. A prophetic voice whispering in the corner may lead to change eventually, but a clear call from the pulpit surrounded by a powerful group of allies will take you much further, much faster.

    Therefore, I encourage you to explore the more intimate, interactive & conversational phone conferences, but to also maintain your public voice.

    Wishing you much success,

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