Leading Change in the Church - Lesson 11

Force Field Analysis

This lesson explains how organizations and churches resist change through structural inertia, group inertia, power relationships, and established resource allocations. People tend to use their relationships and influence to block change and hold onto their resources, while those lacking resources are more accepting of change. Existing expertise tends to resist learning new skills or capacities. Churches have natural systems and processes that support stability, such as selecting leaders that fit the motif.

Rick Sessoms
Leading Change in the Church
Lesson 11
Watching Now
Force Field Analysis

Lesson: Force Field Analysis

I. Understanding Resistance to Change

A. Structural Inertia

B. Group Inertia and Threats to Membership

C. Power Relationships

D. Established Resource Allocations

II. The Nature of People and Change

A. People with Access to Resources are Unlikely to Give Them Up

B. Those with Existing Expertise Tend to Resist Change

III. Natural Systems and Processes in Organizations and Churches

A. Selection of Leaders

B. Support for Stability

Class Resources
  • In Dynamics of Change, the speaker discusses the importance of leading change in the church and emphasizes the need to understand the dynamics of change and its effect on people, as well as the uniqueness of the church in this process, before delving into change strategies.
  • Leadership is about catalyzing change as organizations face an ever-increasing rate of change, requiring strategic leaders who can challenge, mobilize, and motivate people in a rapidly changing cultural climate; change is a function of leadership as it involves fundamentally changing the mind, and progress is impossible without change.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature of change, the reasons why it is needed in the church, strategies for overcoming resistance to change, the leader's role in change, and the process of leading change, including creating and communicating a vision for change, implementing and sustaining change, and celebrating success and learning from failure.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the impact of change on individuals through an exercise where you will think about the most significant change you have experienced in the past ten years and how it made you feel. The lesson will sensitize you to the effects of change and explore the dynamics of change and its impact on individuals before discussing change strategies.
  • You will gain insights into the challenges faced by a fictional family company, Johnson's Shoes, based in Boise, Idaho, and the strategies it must employ to overcome these challenges, including diversification of its product line, development of new technology, and introduction of new management techniques, and learn about the positive and negative outcomes of these strategies, and the lessons that can be learned from this case study.
  • Learn how to manage reactions to change in a church setting, understanding the role of the grapevine in communication, and effectively implementing strategies to help others cope, such as consistent messaging, providing details, and supporting healthy behaviors.
  • Gain insights into challenges faced by churches coping with change, including the movement of American culture towards post-Christianity and lack of common values, and explore questions to consider to help churches face 21st-century challenges.
  • This lesson teaches you about the challenges of leading in a chaotic context, the process of change according to Kurt Lewin's theory, and the importance of overcoming resistance. You will understand the limitations of the 20th-century rational change process model and the unique challenges faced by leaders in the 21st century.
  • ou will learn about the characteristics of effective change agents in the church, including humility, patience, sacrifice, self-control, and courage, as well as change management strategies like overcoming resistance to change and sustaining change through embedding change in culture and systems and continuously monitoring and improving.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights on discerning God's purpose in weathering change, learning to ask critical questions to determine if the change is appropriate, and understanding the characteristics of a change that glorifies God, ultimately leading to a stronger church community.
  • You will learn about the various ways that organizations and churches resist change, including through structural and group inertia, power relationships, and resource allocations. You will also understand how people with access to resources tend to resist change, while those without resources are more accepting. The lesson explains how expertise can also play a role in resistance to change, and how churches have natural systems that promote stability.
  • Gain insight into life cycles and resistance to change within organizations, including the church, and how changing leaders can help an organization change the spiral towards decline or irrelevancy by speaking to people's emotions, not just thought.
  • You will learn about creating a guiding coalition to lead the change in the unfreezing stage of change. This involves assembling a group of opinion shapers who can envision the preferred future state and developing them into a team by understanding team skills, defining purpose, roles, and process, and establishing effective leadership and communication.
  • You will learn how to empower broad-based action by removing obstacles to the future and generating short-term wins. This involves identifying structures, policies, and processes that block change, encouraging new ideas and risk-taking, creating a learning environment from failures, aiming for 90% involvement in problem-solving, and providing appropriate authority, resources, information, and accountability. Short-term wins should be planned for, visible improvements should be celebrated, and those involved should be rewarded. Change should be refrozen by consolidating gains, changing policies and structures, promoting and developing people who can implement the vision, reinvigorating the process with new projects, and anchoring new approaches in the church culture.

The dynamics, effects, and strategies for change in the church.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Change in the Church
Force Field Analysis
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] The second thing to look at is what we call a force field analysis. And this goes back to Lewin. I said to you that organizations actively resist change through several means. And churches do, too. They resist things through structural inertia, through group inertia and threats to membership expertise, power relationships, established resource allocations. And I could go into each one of those. But but what that means in in in simple language is that people will use their relationships and their clout to block change. If if they have access to resources, they are more unlikely to give up those resources. The people that lack the resources in the church tend to be more accepting of change than those that currently have the resources. I mean, that's just the nature of people. We we tend to the people with the expertise, with the existing expertise tend to tend to resist change that would ask them to learn a new set of skills or a new set of capacities, competencies in order to go forward. So organizations have all of these natural built in mechanisms. Churches have these natural systems, these natural processes, these these this stuff to produce stability. And that's natural in and in, for instance, they they systematically select people and they put people in positions of leadership and they put other certain people out of leadership that fit that motif. And it supports that that process for for making sure that that that that system is stable. When the organization then is confronted with change, this inertia acts as a balance, as a counterbalance, in fact, to to to to sustain stability. So if anything comes in to threaten the stability of the church, all these things tend to serve as a counterbalance. Now, we got to stay stable here, and that is true of any living system and is true of the church as well.

[00:02:30] Now, what do you hear me saying? Have you seen that? I mean, is it is it is it true in your experience? When change is introduced. There are systems and there are processes and there is experience and there's clout that serves, that tends particularly those that have it. The ones the the ones that are the holders of the keys tend to resist that kind of change initially. Have you do you experience that your church? Yes or no? Maybe I'm talking to those people. I don't know. Those who feel they're best fed are the ones who want to go to a different field or a different area to get fed. I'm happy right here. So, I mean, people might be I mean, here's an animal analogy and there's limited resources and people are feeling really sure that they they are open to that change. But those who are getting the lion's share of the grass, so to speak. I want to move. I'm happy right here. So, yeah, I see. I've seen this, you know. So I can't I can't emphasize enough that all theories of change are really about theories of stability, that there is a that there is a bias towards stability of all living systems, including the church. There's a bias toward not changing. And so this this establishing this sense of urgency through something like a SWOT analysis and then a force field analysis, which we'll get into a little bit more, is really critical. Uh. Because even if individuals want to change the group norms act as this constraint within within your system, any redistribution of decision making as a result of change threatens the long established power relationships in any collective. That's a sociological reality. Groups in the organization that control sizable resources I've said often see change as a threat.

[00:04:58] Whatever those resources happen to be, those that benefit from current allocation of resources feel threatened by changes that may affect future allocations. So this resistance to change can be overt or it can be implicit. It can be covered, it can be immediate or it can be deferred, frankly. If it's more immediate, it's easier to deal with and if it's deferred. It's easier to deal with if it's if it's if it's right now in your face. If it's later on, you say, Oh, here comes the wave. And it's it's. I thought everything was going great. It's this this this stability, this this bias toward homeostasis that we've been talking about is good since it provides a degree of stability within within the church. And it also provides predictability in our behavior. Without resistance, organizational behavior would just fly into total chaos without any basis for being able to live and exist and function together. So we're not against stability. We're just saying that when change takes place, we've got to study that bias toward what what is the weighted wildness towards stability as opposed to change questions about that. But in question statement, there's different kinds of change. You can have to think about. The prodigal son, father. He did not change. He was in some ways, but he let his son go. And so that that can seem like a change. But then as the son went through that, the path that he went through and where he returned, there was the father to you. If we have to be careful in saying that changing some aspects is not changing the underlying of who we are. Absolutely. And and that's a difficult thing. That's a great point. I really like that underlying theme that's changing as part of the like the particular deliverables.

[00:07:05] And I'll say yes and underline right. So when Paul says I have become all things to all people so that by all means I might save some. What was he saying? Is there a relationship between that and what you're what you're stating? It sounds it seems to me you're saying that that there's some grounding foundations that need to stay the same. Paul was not saying that in that statement that his grounding is going to shift. But he's saying that the means may change that that process by which that that approach by which I'm going to reach out and have this kind of kingdom impact on others may change profile over time. But the ground to put on which I stand, which is Jesus my savior and Lord, is is solid. I think that's what he was trying to say. I think that's kind of where you were going with that. Is that correct? Yes. Is that because it holds to the norm and releases the form he holds to the norm and releases the form? That's a great way of saying, can I can I borrow that or steal it or. That's good. That's good. So this force field analysis is important because the reality is, is that is that we have to know what we're dealing with in terms of the collective. What are some of the things that create a. Two two, for lack of a better word, power within the church. What are what are some of the things that create power? Personal power. Collective power. What? What kind of things in the church? Create that. What different kinds of power in the church. There's positional power. Okay. Is positional power elder or pastor or Sunday school teacher or whatever? There. There is positional power.

[00:09:07] What else? Historical. Okay. What do you mean by historical power? I just been around a long time. That what you mean around a long time. And you had people listen to you and say, okay, did you know that people have followed you before? Okay, I would I would add to that that historical power also means that I have I have some degree of power if I really know the story. And you don't. You know what I'm saying? Well, for example, there are in you know, some denominations have a long history. Those that that really know that history can pull the trump card with a newbie if if, if if they're in discussion, somebody says, well, you don't even know what happened in 64. At that conference we were at. How can you possibly know? I mean, we've been down this road before. You know that that's the historical power that I'm referring to. You've you kind of been there, right? So what other kinds of power exist in the church? The resources that a person has. Absolutely. When you say resources, what do you are you talking kind of resources you're referring might be in terms of the amount of money or time or space or privilege or recognition? Most. Yeah, I would imagine that in a church like Chapel Hill Bible Church, that someone with not a high school education may feel that you guys may not may not be trying to project this, but I would imagine a person like that may feel that they don't have the kind of power that a bunch of PhDs have. It's just simple. Right. So that's a resource power. Right. It's there's expertise. Power. If I know the book of Joel better than you do, that that is going to is going to help me.

[00:11:13] And in the process of expertise power. What are some of the other kinds of power? There's one out of this, really 2 to 2. They're really critical. Yeah. Contrast contrasted with positional power, which we talk about is personal power. Okay. Okay. All right. Personal enough. We could call that social capital. Right? Or, you know, if you've got if you've got relationships that you can move groups of people or, you know, they're there sometimes in churches, whenever I'm looking to work with a retreat, I always ask the leader, Can I have the people around the table who are the opinion shapers? I'm more interested in having those people than the formal leaders, quite frankly, because those are the people that are going to that have the social capital to move or not move a group of people. Whereas another one that hasn't been mentioned here. Now, you mentioned money. Spiritual power. Now, when I say spiritual power, you make it like this. What I'm talking about is perceived spiritual power. Now that that may be an illusion, it may be real, but there is a real sense that in churches, when somebody has that sense, when others sense that that person has this spirituality, this connection, if you will, there comes with that and whoever that may be, it may be the 90 year old matriarch. It can be the pastor, it could be somebody else. But the reality is when a person has that perceived spiritual power, they carry with them a lot of weight. So we've talked about some of the ways. So as we think about forceful analysis, we think about those kinds of questions and how we're going to move forward in that kind of an arena. Because, again, there's a bias towards stability.

[00:13:15] And the analysis would suggest that that in the force field and we're mostly talking about people here, we're asking the question in this force field, are we ready for is this group ready to move? Because if that force field strongly suggest that the people with the power, if you will. I know that's a that's a crass word in the church, but it's that what we're talking about here. Those people, if they are, are have this bias towards stability. You still got some work to do before we begin to push this forward. Does that make sense? Tammy, you're smiling. You mean been there, done that, right. One of the things to keep in mind when we're dealing with with. I'm going to just give these you define your future desired district. In other words, with as you're going through this, what would this future state look like? And this is not something you announced, but just in conceptually speaking, you identify your driving and restraining forces, stakeholders, internal systems, external environment. You assess the strength and driving restraint and restraining forces. You figure out, as you would if the image of a pendulum and you assess that and and through that process, you determine where you are at this point in time in terms of is there a decided bias toward change? Yes, that was an important statement. There needs to be a decided bias toward change. If there's not that decided bias, remember the tendency, the the the the the bias will be towards stability. And that was if it's if it looks even it's not time. There needs to be a decided bias toward change in the force field before we're ready. So to predict which interventions will reduce or remove the restraining forces, that's the next step.

[00:15:33] And what we're not what we're talking about here is not going out and shooting somebody. But it there's a process by which we need to continue to talk about this, this sense of urgency and a number of ways to to accomplish that. Questions about those. I believe you said that in the force field analysis, not all of this has to be done publicly or announced, but it should not be done publicly or announced. And I'll get to that. That's a critical point. This is your leadership. This is your leadership. Yeah. And it should be it should be limited to a relatively small group of people. Now, that doesn't mean that they are this leadership. It needs to be tasked with collecting intelligence. So this is not we're the only ones in the room. We're going to think about this. We. That's right. We need to. We need to. We need to go out in the byways and highways and collect good, factual, reality based information. But the kind of discussions we have about this desired future state are as a small group at this point. And we look at these this forcefield as a small group.


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