Leading Positive Change

This month, I would like to focus on some thoughts and/or challenges from the “Lead Like Jesus (Revisited)” book (pp. 248-251) … as we continue ‘Moving Forward in God’s Mission.’  Leading lasting change requires understanding and addressing four essential levels of change: change in knowledge, attitude, behavior, and cultural norms and expectations.

In many respects, change in knowledge is the easiest to accomplish.  All you have to do is read or listen to something. In our electronically connected world, access to new information and data is literally at our fingertips.  Effective change leadership requires providing new information as well as a compelling reason for people to consider changing the way they see the world around them.

Changing attitude is more difficult than changing knowledge because attitude is an emotionally charged bit of knowledge.  It’s when you feel strongly, in either a positive or a negative way, about something you know.  Attitude begins with information, but without context, information is unlikely to generate any enthusiasm for change.  So a primary challenge for a change leader is to convince people that what they are being called to do differently is both right and important. 

Changing behavior is also challenging.  It’s different from changing knowledge or attitude because now people have to do something.  Change leaders have to identify behaviors that will move people to the new patterns, model those behaviors, catch people doing things right, and praise progress.

This is the most difficult change of all because it involves many people who bring to the party a variety of perceptions about what should or should not be done.  As a result, lasting change in community only happens over time, so change leaders have to be in it for the long haul.  For change to gain the power needed to transform a culture, each individual must share the basic desire for inclusion and collaboration toward the higher purpose of the community. 

Our faith compels us to continue … ‘Moving Forward in God’s Mission!’

Blessings,

John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader