RELP – Episode 11 – How to Know It is Time for Organizational Change

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, Ron and Nate discuss how leaders can know it is time for organizational change.

If the structure is impeding the accomplishment of the vision it is time to make changes.

Healthy organizations maintain an unchanging vision that they sustain long-term. One way they do so is with a willingness to change their organizational structure as needed.

How do you know when organizational structural change is needed?

In this episode, we discuss ways leaders can know it is time for organizational change.

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast on how to know it’s time for change, would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

RELP – Episode 10 – Ten Dangerous Distractions For A Pastor or Leader

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast, Ron and Nate discuss Ten Dangerous Distractions For A Pastor or Leader.

Unfortunately, so many who used to be pastors no longer hold the position. Many of them fell into what I call a dangerous distractions for a pastor.

Sometimes it isn’t a blatant sin. Often it is a casual drifting that gets pastors in trouble. Often it is simply a distraction from what matters most.

I can’t address everything that gets in the way of being a healthy pastor, but there are more common ones in my experience.

And many of these are also dangerous for any leadership position, which is why I expanded the title to pastor – and leaders. It is difficult enough to lead these days in trying times, we should certainly try to avoid things we know will get in the ways. These I’ve learned from experience.

So, in this episode, here are 10 dangerous distractions for a pastor or leader.

I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast where we discussed Ten Dangerous Distractions For A Leader, would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

Also, let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

And be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

An Elementary Approach to Facing Conflict

By | Church Revitalization, Family, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | No Comments

I’ve seen a lot of conflict in my life. From parents and couples in my office for counseling to employment situations where two people can’t get along. I’ve even seen a fight in the grocery store because someone thought someone else cut line. And I’ve been to more than one church business meeting gone bad. Along the way, I’ve often thought there must be better ways to approach conflict. 

I’ve learned a few things about facing conflict. Primarily, I’ve observed the way one person responds often determines the way the other person responds. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

When you are backed into a corner and facing potential conflict you have a choice. You can come out fighting or you can be smart, plan your response, and help turn the situation for good.

I have concluded, therefore, that the secrets of facing the fire of conflict should be elementary.

3 elementary ways to approach conflict:

Stop

Stop and think.

  • What is the best approach?
  • What do you really want to accomplish?
  • Based on your time to reflect – how should you respond?

The opening moments are always critical in any conflict. You can quickly back someone or yourself into a corner. Cornered people move into a self-protection mode, fail to react rationally, and the sense of what’s best is lost.

It requires practice, but take adequate time to plan the best way to approach the other party. It may require you being silent when your prone to speak, but this one step often avoids much of the unnecessary and unproductive conflict. (As an example, Jesus took time to make a whip before driving the money changers out of the temple. John 2. I shared how I do this in my book The Mythical Leader.)

Drop

Drop the right to win. That’s hard, but if you want the conflict to be resolved you have to start with the attitude that you want the best resolution – even if you don’t get everything you want in the outcome.

When you come into a potential fiery situation with a have-to-win attitude you cloud your ability to work for the best results. Self-centeredness always gets in the way of healthy conflict. Be humble and agree you are going to do what is best, even if that means you don’t get your way.

This doesn’t mean you give in to the other party, but the goal in conflict should not be to win personally, but to reach the best solution for everyone.

Roll

Roll out the best approach to the conflict. Use the appropriate strategy, skills and temperament to resolve the conflict. This means you hold your temper, watch your words, and value the other person’s viewpoint.

I realize it takes two or more people to make this happen, but when one party is willing to do the first two it makes accomplishing the best so much more likely.

Go into every potential conflict with a humble desire for the best solution to be accomplished. I believe this will help in family relationship, work environments, and even on social media. 

Stop, drop and roll.

Try it next time you are facing conflict. 

Nate and I have launched a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

What Church Experts Won’t Tell You About Pastoral Leadership

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There are some things the church experts speaking into pastoral leadership won’t tell you. 

To be clear, I believe in listening to people considered experts in their field. I serve as a consultant and coach to pastors and churches. I hope my work is helpful. Some even refer to me as an “expert” in leadership – to which I would tell them I’m still very much in the apprentice stage in many ways. I do have lots of leadership experience – good and bad.

For example, not claiming to be an expert in crisis leadership, but I once helped lead a city through a tornado recovery serving in elected office. You might want to read my posts on things to do and not to do in times of crisis leadership. Prior experience helped me lead in the pandemic.

Early in the pandemic, I posted about voices that church leaders should be listening to – and voices I was listening to also. I mentioned a number of church experts in that post, so I do believe they have value.

But when the experts blog, podcast, or show up at your door, there are some things they simply won’t tell you. And knowing what they aren’t going to tell you may help you better implement their suggestions. 

7 things church experts won’t tell you: 

It’s hard – and there are no easy fixes.

I tweeted recently – “In my experience, decisions are easier to make when you aren’t the one who is actually having to make them.” It was while we were making some of the hardest decisions we had to make in a pandemic. People were so divided in our church and community.

There were lots of “expert” opinions about how to capitalize on the moment and win the digital world for Christ. And I’m an advocate for all of that. I believe in it and think we should. But it wasn’t that easy for most of our churches (certainly not the 180 plus year old one I was trying to lead at the time). 

I heard from so many pastors feeling the same way as me I decided to pin the tweet to the top of my Twitter account for a while. 

Formulas won’t always work.

What makes sense and seems to work for others may not work for you. It is a matter of context. The small, rural church may not be able to pivot towards a fully digital expression, for example. Even though I have said with a computer and strong internet connection I think you could change the world, that simply might not work for the people who attend Full Freedom Baptist in Knuckledown, USA. (And I just made up that church and city. I hope it isn’t a real place. If so, I apologize for picking on you.) 

One reason I never come into a church with an already built playbook is that I want to learn the landscape of the church first. There are “formulas” or models that work well and should be considered. I may even recommend some of them once I learn the context of the church. But the best of them won’t work every time and everywhere. 

You’re not all that wrong.

Sometimes when you read a blog post (maybe even one of mine) you start feeling you’re doing everything wrong. Likely you are not. Sometimes a little tweak can make a huge difference. Often the answers are in the room and it is the job of leadership to draw it out of your people. 

They learn from you.

This is huge. You have to know their expertise is coming from somewhere. I think we mistakenly believe these experts are simply geniuses that have all the right ideas. Most likely they became experts by observing 100 ministry leaders like you. They are watching what some are doing to figure out what others might or could do.

When I consult with churches, I always come back with great ideas. They pay me to pick up tricks from them. (Isn’t that cool?) Collaborative learning is so important in the church and in the Kingdom. And it is happening. 

Innovation is NOT in the extremes.

Again, it might be that you need a complete overhaul of your church. If nothing has changed in 20 years it is probably time. I love to talk about church revitalization and often major changes are needed. But sometimes what has worked in the past can work again. What you need is a little more energy behind it and perhaps some new ways to celebrate it.

In church revitalization, one of my favorite encouragements was to “rediscover don’t reinvent”. Everything may not be broken. 

They don’t have a magic potion.

No person does. That would be the voice of the Holy Spirit in your ear. If you hear that, run with it – fast and hard. Yet, if you have led in the church for long you know God often allows us to wrestle through situations. I believe it is how He builds our character, keeps us on our knees and allows us to develop principles through pain that can help others. (2 Corinthians 1) 

They are an opinion.

Having served many years in the business world let me tell you the same is true of auditors or attorneys. For that matter, it is true for church members too. Don’t assume because “Expert So and So” predicts something that this is the way it will always be. It could be. Certainly it is worth considering and filtering for context. But it isn’t the “Gospel truth”. It is their educated opinion – which might or might not be correct. 

One reason I like to have an active role in a local church is so I stay relevant to the work actually being done. Another leadership saying of mine is “You can’t see what I see until you sit where I sit“. I believe that is so true of pastoring a local church these days. Context is everything, so experts won’t tell you what they simply don’t know.

I intend this post as an encouragement to my fellow pastors. It is not meant to downplay the great work the outside thinkers, consultants and voices are providing – many whom are my friends. We need them and we need to listen to them. But we need to use them as a source of information – not THE source of information. 

Nate and I have launch a new season of the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast soon. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

7 Common Tensions In Times of Overwhelming Change

By | Church, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Team Leadership | One Comment

I have been part of several organizations experiencing either exponential growth or tremendous change. In business and with a few churches, we had times of explosive growth, but 2020 taught us there are times where the speed of change is overwhelming. It was hard to keep up. I have learned there are common tensions during overwhelming change. 

7 common tensions during overwhelming change:

Miscommunication.

Growth or change brings so much activity it is often difficult to keep everyone informed about everything. This bothers those who are used to “being in the know”. The organization will need to improve in this area, but during the immediate season you can expect mishaps in communication. Systems will need to improve, but for today people must ask questions when they don’t know, avoid assumptions and often give others the benefit of the doubt when they don’t understand.

Changing roles.

Job requirements will change. People will be asked do things they never expected to do – and may not feel comfortable or qualified to do them. There will be lots of “all hands on deck” opportunities. Silos will get in the way of progress. No one gets a reprieve from doing what needs to be done.

Power struggles.

There will almost always be turf scuffles during fast growth or overwhelming change. One potential reason is what used to be a small, controlled group of people making decisions now needs to broaden to include more people. 

This feels uncomfortable to some. Providing clarity of roles – as you know them – can help some, but continually reminding people of the vision seems to work best. Still, some people simply may not like the new size or shape of the organization — and may decide they are no longer a fit for the team long-term.

Burnout.

There will never be enough leaders or people during times of fast growth or change. It may be fun for a while – or tremendously scary- but, it begins to wear on people after an extended period. New leaders must be recruited and developed. Old leaders must be continually encouraged and rejuvenated. It’s important to mix it celebrations along the way.

Confusion.

“I don’t know.” You can expect to hear the phrase a lot during times of fast growth and change. And, many times the person saying it will be a leader. And, that’s okay. It’s part of the process.

This is also a matter to continually work to improve upon over time, but you can’t eliminate completely- and, I’m not sure we should try. If everything has clarity we probably aren’t walking by faith and things will soon become stale again.

Complacency.

When people don’t know what to do — or are uncertain the right path to take – they often default into doing nothing. This is where leadership is needed, but in seasons of fast growth and change there aren’t always enough leaders to cover all the bases.

If you’re not careful, excellence suffers. It might not even be that people don’t care, even though they almost appear as if they don’t. It may simply be because they don’t know what to do.

During especially stressful seasons, leaders need to help streamline focus, give clear expectations and hold people accountable for agreed upon goals and objectives. Don’t ignore all existing structures — especially in times of fast growth or change. I’ve seen people, for example, stop using calendar programs or scheduling systems, simply because they don’t feel they have the time to keep up with them anymore. You may need better structures going forward, but some structure is needed to keep people moving forward.

Stretched structures.

As stated previously, current structures will almost never be sufficient to sustain fast growth or change. The organization will never be the same. New systems and structures will be needed. Leadership must focus on development, as much as it does the growth and maintenance, of the organization.

This may be some of the learning curves after this current season. This is why it is important to take notes along the way and continually be learning.

None of these are reasons to avoid fast growth – and often you cannot avoid overwhelming change, but awareness is the first step to addressing most problems.

Nate and I have finished our fall semester at the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. New episodes will begin in early 2021. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

7 Indicators You are Serving on a Dysfunctional Team

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Chances are, if you’ve served on very many teams, you’ve served on one which is dysfunctional. It appears to me we have many to choose from in the organizational world. There are no perfect teams. And we are all dysfunctional at some level and during some seasons.

In case you’re wondering- my definition of a dysfunctional team – in simple terms – is one which cannot operate at peak efficiency and performance, because it is impacted by too many negative characteristics. There’s more going wrong than right more days than not.

In my experience, there are commonalities of dysfunction. If you have been on dysfunctional teams before you’ve probably seen one or more of the common traits.

See if any of these seem familiar.

7 indicators of dysfunctional teams:

Team members talk about each other more than to each other.

The atmosphere is passive aggressive. Problems are never really addressed, because conflict is avoided. The real problems are continually ignored or excused.

Mediocrity is celebrated.

Everything may even be labeled “amazing”. Nothing ever really develops or improves because no one has or inspires a vision bigger than what the team is currently experiencing.

It’s never “our” fault.

It’s the completion or the culture or the times in which we live. No one takes responsibility. And everyone passes blame. Will the real leader please stand up?

Communication usually brings more tension than progress.

There may be lots of information, but it’s not packaged in a way which brings clarity. No one knows or recognizes a win.

The mention of change makes everyone nervous.

Either change is rare, or it’s been instituted wrong in the past. Any real progress must be forced or controlled.

Only the leader gets recognition or can make decisions.

Team members never feel valued or appreciated. No one feels empowered. The leader uses words like “I” or “my” more than “we” or “us”.

There are competing visions, goals or objectives.

It’s every team member for his or herself. The strategy or future direction isn’t clear.

According to my observations have you served on dysfunctional teams?

Granted, every team goes through each of these during certain seasons. And, again, there are no perfect teams. But if there are at least two or three of these at work current I’d say it’s a good time to evaluate the team’s health and work to make things healthier.

Nate and I have finished our fall semester at the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. New episodes will begin in early 2021. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

3 Areas of Fuzziness on a Healthy Team

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Clarity is often king in organizational dynamics. Words do matter and clear communication is vital for healthy teams. As hard as it is for me to zero in on one idea, I know a huge part of my job as a leader is to help people understand our vision and where we are going next to try to realize it (as well as I know at the time). At the same time, there will be a certain fuzziness on a healthy team. 

This is a paradox when it comes to clarity and organizational health.

Some things are actually what I refer to as “fuzzy” on a healthy team. Indistinct. Muddled. Unclear. I’ve been talking about this principle for years, but 2020 has only served to confirm it.

And, as strange as that seems, fuzziness can be healthy. 

Let me give some examples.

3 areas of fuzziness on a healthy team:

The lines of authority are often blurred

In some of the healthiest organizations I know, the organizational chart doesn’t matter as much in accomplishing the vision. It’s often “fuzzy” in regards to who is in charge at any given time. One person doesn’t have all the ideas or all the answers. Everyone has an equally important role to play, and while everyone knows what is expected of them, who is “in charge” is determined by what is being attempted at the time.

Leadership often depends on the task being performed. People lead based on their passions and gifting, more than because of their position, title or job description. In fact, those may change as needed to fit the current organizational challenges and opportunities.

(I often tell members on our teams that when they have a really big project or ministry – I work for them. Tell me what to do.)

There aren’t a lot of burdensome rules

Obviously we need structure. Rules have a place. But on healthy teams, rules are designed to enhance, not limit growth. The best rules empower people not control them – and likely there are fewer of them. Bureaucracy diminishes progress and frustrates the team.

Granted, this fuzziness can produce a lot of gray areas, which can even be messy at times. But removing hard lines around people promotes their individual creativity and encourages innovation for the team.

Some things are subject to change quickly

Certain things like vision and values are concrete. They aren’t changeable. In a healthy environment, however, methods of accomplishing the vision are always held loosely. There is no sense of ownership or entitlement to a way of doing things. As needs change, the team can quickly adapt without a ton of push back and resistance.

Admittedly, this can cause some uneasiness for those who favor structure. This is where fuzziness can get uncomfortable, but the team has an attitude of unity, so even people more resistant to change can embrace it.

I am certainly not promoting fuzziness. I would still aim for clarity – whenever possible. Even in times of uncertainty some things, such as the values which drive the team should be clear. But just as life is often full of unknowns – even messy – so is life on a healthy team. Figuring out how to navigate through these times and keep the team moving forward together is a part of good leadership.

Nate and I have finished our fall semester at the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. New episodes will begin in early 2021. Subscribe now so you don’t miss the next one.

7 Excuses “Leaders” Use for Not Leading Well

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In my experience in the business world and church, it seems we are desperate for good leadership. Organizations and teams thrive on good leadership. Yet, I’ve seen some leaders make excuses for not leading well.

As much as we need good leaders, it seems whenever I meet a leader struggling in their role, rather than admit it could be them, often I only hear excuses. It must be easier to pass blame than to own the problem as our own.

In full disclosure, I’ve probably been as guilty as anyone at times in my leadership career.

The excuses, however, are fairly common.

7 excuses I’ve heard – or used – for not leading well:

I don’t know how.

With each new season in leadership there will be a learning curve. If you’re leading, then your introducing change – you’re taking people somewhere they haven’t been before. This means there will be lots of unknowns in your world for a while. But, don’t use this as an excuse. Learn. Take a course. Get a mentor. Read some books. Ask better questions. Grow as a leader.

I can’t get people to follow my lead.

Well, we may have to check our leadership definition, but don’t give up. If God has called you to this – discover how to motivate people. Most people will follow someone if you’re taking them somewhere they need to go, but aren’t sure how to get there.

Make sure you have a vision worth following, learn to communicate well and do all you can to help people attain it. In terms of communicating well – I often tell pastors – you’re best “sermon” may be the one you give to motivate people towards the change or vision. Early in my leadership career I participated in an organization called Toastmasters to help train as a communicator.

I can’t keep up!

This can be a legitimate excuse at times – leadership can be overwhelming with the amount of change in our world, but we shouldn’t let it remain this way. Leaders have to learn to pace themselves. You have to surround yourself with others who can help carry the load. You can’t try to do everything or control every outcome. Learn delegation.

And don’t try to change everything at once. My rule of thumb is to be working on no more than 3 major changes at a time. This requires patience, because I may see 100 things which need to change. The only thing which works well though when I try to do too much at one time is I get to add to my excuses for not leading well.

No one taught me how to lead.

That might be true. I have found many leaders are terrible at reproducing leaders. We don’t apprentice well. So, what are you going to do about it? Leaders find solutions to problems. They don’t let problems become the excuse.

Learn from experience. It’s the best teacher anyway. Learn from trying. Learn from watching others. Just learn. It’s never too late to learn something new.

Times have changed.

This is true also. Times have changed. Cultures have changed. The workforce has changed. And they will keep changing – fast!

Good leaders adapt accordingly. They discover new approaches. They don’t make excuses.

I don’t have the right team.

Well, instead of using it as an excuse, you have a few options. Give them a better leader – you. Train and empower them. Figure out what’s keeping them from being the “right team”.

Or get a new team.

I’m suffering from burnout!

This excuse can be real. It happens to all of us at times – especially in a year like this. But don’t settle for this one. Get help. Heal. Rest. Renew. Regroup.

Get healthier so you can lead again. Sometimes stopping for a while is your best answer – even amidst the busiest times.

I’m not trying to be sarcastic, arrogant, or unsympathetic with this post. I realize each of these deserve their own post. I really do believe, however, good leadership is mostly finding a worthy vision, recruiting the right people and discovering ways to help people get there. And we get better the more we practice.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring a spiritual aspect into this – I am a pastor. My best leadership book is the Bible. My best leader example is Jesus. And I have learned when I am being obedient to Him I lead better naturally. It doesn’t mean everything falls into place beautifully – it does mean I have all I need to lead – even when everything around me is a mess.

Seriously, look over the list again. Are there any of them that can’t be overcome with a little determination?

Let’s stop the excuses and make better leaders!

Check out our new podcast where we unpack leadership issues in a applicable and practical way.

5 Stages All Organizations Experience

By | Change, Church, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership | One Comment

Every organization goes through life cycles. In fact, there are five stages all organizations experience.

(These are not my terms. I learned them years ago in a management class and can’t find where to attribute them. The explanation of terms and application is mine.)

I realize these are secular terms, and the church is not subject to the “rules” of a secular organization. At the same time, I have observed they are also true for most churches.

Leaders who recognize them and adapt to them can continue to experience health and growth in the organization. Two things to understand. First, each stage has overlap. Also, individual areas within the organization may also have similar life cycles.

5 life cycles of any organization:

Birth

This founding period usually involves a few people with a big vision. This is the initial stage where learning takes place and the organization begins to develop leaders – sometimes by trial and error. Everyone on the team at this point has the potential to become a leader.

Having planted a couple churches, we launched one with one staff member (me), my wife, and twenty or so people. The other was with three staff members, our wives, and eleven couples. Each member of both teams were forced to lead areas outside their comfort level. We gained some of our best leaders that way and several people found a passion they did not know they had. In both church plants, which grew quickly, this stage lasted less than one year.

Childhood 

A deepening and maturity process begins at this stage. The organization still has few policies and procedures in place and everything is still “fun”, with the excitement of still being a young vision. New leadership develops and responsibilities spread to new people within the organization. Mistakes are common as the organization figures out its identity. The DNA of the organization begins to form. In this stage, the organization begins to recognize its need for more structure.

This was a fun stage and time for both church plants. The normal for this stage appears to end in three to five years. For larger organizations, this could be a longer time frame.

Adolescence

Greater levels of responsibility are handed out to more people and the weight of responsibility spreads within the organization. The organization has had some success at this point and so it begins to take new risks and dream new and bigger dreams. This is a continued growth time and usually full of renewed energy.

If the organization is not careful some of the initial leaders of the organization can begin to experience burnout; and often a loss of power as new leaders emerge.

More developed structure becomes necessary at this point and the organization must begin to think about maintaining growth. Organizations are forced to “grow up” during this stage. It usually happens in the first ten years, but again, this may depend on the size of the organization.

Maturity

At this stage, the organization has many experiences of success and some failure. The organization must begin to think through continued growth and health as an organization. The organization needs constant renewal and regeneration to remain current and viable. Leadership has been developed, but the organization begins to plan out succession of leaders.

The structure of the organization is usually well established by this point, but must remain flexible enough to adapt to changes outside the organization. At some point all organizations enter this phase. The goal at this point needs to shift into breathing new life into the organization.

(A lot of churches reach this stage and cease to change and grow, often steeped in their own traditions, and this is where plateau begins.)

Renewal

It is sad, but this stage almost always has to be forced on an organization. Either by leadership or for survival purposes, something new must occur or the organization will eventually die or cease to be viable. This can be scary for people, but it does not mean the organization must leave its vision, traditions, or culture, but it must consider new ways of realizing its potential.

Some will say renewal comes at each stage of the organization’s life cycle. That may be true, but I contend there is a definite stage in a healthy life cycle where an organization improves and almost reinvents itself to continue to experience health and growth.

Another thing to remember is that the speed of an organization’s growth can cause life cycles to complete much quicker. Consider the child who has to face adult decisions early in life and is forced to “grow up fast”. A similar thing happens to organizations.

Check out our new podcast where we unpack leadership issues in a applicable and practical way.

7 Seasoned Tips to Better Lead Change

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You can have change without leadership. But I am not sure you can have leadership without change. In leading change for over 30 years, I have learned some things which may help you better lead change.

Change is all around us. As leaders, we are called to be agents of change. We are charged with taking people to places they may not be able to go on their own – or at least no one has taken the steps to get started. But you can’t take people someone new without change.

I talk some about change in my book The Mythical Leader. Here I want to share a few random tips I’ve learned about leading change which may help you better lead change.

7 tips to better lead change:

Be a proponent of the new more than an opponent of the old. 

Everything which happened in the past was not bad. In fact, something happened which has allowed you to be where you are today. When you bash prior days and leadership you push people into a defensive mode and alienate people who might otherwise support you.

Keep the “why” as simple and easy to understand as possible.

You will have to repeat it often – like continually – so, you want it to be sticky enough for people to quickly grasp. People aren’t as reluctant to the what the more clearly they understand the why.

Know the key stakeholders.

The number one component of change is always people. People matter. (People who don’t understand this aren’t leaders as much as they are tyrants.) Most people are looking for someone to help them – lead them.

And, because of that, there are always leaders in the room. They are not always the loudest voices, but they are the ones to whom people will listen. They may be adversaries or allies, but you simply have to know who they are if you want to lead change successfully.

Understand the real resistance.

It’s not always the obvious. Sometimes it’s a very minor issue, which can be resolved easily. And sometimes it’s simply change. Every change comes attached with emotions – a sense of loss. Knowing why people are resisting helps the leader walk people through change in a caring, less controlling way.

Timing is huge.

It’s difficult to know the perfect time to make a change, but doing the right thing at the wrong time can end up being the wrong thing – no matter how much change is needed.

The key is leaders must strategically plan out a timeline for change. When are key decisions going to be made? Who is told what and when? What are the steps which need to be taken before the change is made?

Identify critical wins and non-critical elements.

You may not get everything you want. It’s a pretty controlling leader who thinks they must. There need to be some collaboration and cooperation. It’s a healthy part of leading people – and it’s a necessary part of leading change. Identify what must take place to be successful. Use a team to help you with this if possible. Then hold everything else with open hands.

Develop a healthy rhythm of change.

Ultimately, you want the each new season of change to go easier than the last. This isn’t always possible, of course, simply because some change is more complex than others and seasons change for people, cultures and organizations. But great leaders become students of change. They learn as they go.

And, the way you handle change – things like the speed at which you change, the people you include in change, the rest and celebration in between change – helps develop the DNA of change in the organization. Change is never easy, but over time you become better at leading change and the organization becomes better at accepting change.

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