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Leading Change in the Church - Lesson 14

Change and Refreeze

This lesson focuses on empowering broad-based action by removing obstacles to the future and generating short-term wins. Leaders must identify structures, policies, and processes that block change and encourage new ideas and risk-taking. A learning environment should be created from failures, and 90% involvement should be aimed for in problem-solving. Appropriate authority, resources, information, and accountability should be provided. 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.

Rick Sessoms
Leading Change in the Church
Lesson 14
Watching Now
Change and Refreeze

Change and Refreeze

I. Remove Obstacles to the Future

A. Identify Structures, Policies, and Processes That Block Change

B. Encourage New Ideas and Risk-Taking

C. Create a Learning Environment from Failures

D. Aim for 90% Involvement in Problem-Solving

E. Provide Appropriate Authority, Resources, Information, and Accountability

II. Generate Short-Term Wins

A. Plan for Visible Improvements

B. Celebrate Progress and Reward Those Involved

III. Refreeze Change

A. Consolidate Gains and Change Policies and Structures

B. Promote and Develop People Who Can Implement the Vision

C. Reinvigorate the Process with New Projects

D. Anchor New Approaches in the Church Culture


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  • 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
mc612-14
Change and Refreeze
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] The next is to empower broad based action. Now, what do we mean by that? Remove the obstacles to the future. State as best you can. Structures, policies, processes that tend to block the the change the preferred future. Think carefully about structures and policies and processes. I give as much freedom as possible to make it work. Encourage new ideas and risk taking. Whenever change is upon us. That willingness to try things even if they don't work the first time through, create a learning environment. What we mean by that is it's it's okay to risk. It's even okay to fail. But let's learn from our failures, not just continue to repeat the failures, but to learn from them. I think that's a healthy risk taking environment. Aim at 90% involvement to solve problems. In other words, the the the the leadership doesn't have to come out with all the solutions. The problems that you face. Put these out before people. Encourage them to take ownership and to figure out how we're going to work through these things together. It just simply it simply means that we we want to involve as many people in solving the problems, in as many people as as as we can, rather than holding this and controlling it so close to a small group of people enable everyone to act by providing remember the the aria appropriate authority, appropriate resources. Appropriate information. And appropriate accountability. As we enable others, as we empower this broad based action, this change, this preferred state, begins to filter its way through the church. One thing I also might say at this point when you're talking about risk taking, is the principle is leadership takes the blame. Others get credit. Very important principle as we're going through change.

[00:02:34] Leadership takes the blame. Others get credit. Now we're still in a change state here. Four or five and six, remember, are when we've the system's unfrozen and now we're changing. Number six, it generates short term wins. Firstly plan for visible improvements, improvements that people can see, you see they can feel they can touch, They, you know, sometimes change initiatives are hard, they're difficult. People need to see those goal posts along the way so that we can we can get there together. And and there need to be public times of celebration even in the process. So plan for and find visible improvements things that you can brag about, create the improvements, recognize the reward and and reward those involved with the improvements. In other words, create opportunities for for people to win during during this process. So generates short term wins. It's it's as I said sometimes the goal is is long term so we want to make these goalpost along the way so that people can enjoy the the gains that we're making and see those milestones along the way. Some some churches call those spiritual markers. And I think that's a that's a helpful church language that that we can arrive at together along the way. Now we're talking. Once we've changed, now we want to proactively be involved with rephrasing. Now, again, remember Lewin's theory that it's going to naturally refreeze, but there are some things that we can do to ensure that this refreezes in the right form, if you will. The first is consolidate our gains. Use credibility from your wins. In other words, those mom, those markers along the way use those credibility to change policies and structures that don't fit the future. Now, was there going to be some things that people are going to resist changing in terms of process? Remember, processes are less flexible and and as you start going through these changes, use those opportunities, use the wins to buy capital, if you will, within the church in order to to do the necessary policy changes and structure changes that don't fit that future state.

[00:05:16] Promote and develop people who can implement the vision or implement the future state. This goes back to our culture discussion. We want to reward the kind of behavior that's going to to underline the kind of culture that that that God is calling us to create. So promote and develop people who can implement this vision. It's interesting. This is an important one. Reinvigorate the process with new projects. Uh, it's it's it's kind of interesting when you start a change initiative. Sometimes if. If we stay too long in one space, people put all their energy into that one space. And one of the one of the devices that can be used is create new spaces so that it it continues to keep people moving and gives people the the the assurance that we're going to get there. Um, sometimes we we make the step of stopping because we, we sometimes get that that feeling all we we just don't have this quite right. And in the change initiative sometimes it's important to initiate new projects, even if the, if the one that we're working on isn't shored up imperfect altogether yet. And then finally anchor new approaches in the culture, institutionalize the connections between you of new behaviors and church effectiveness. And the the way we do that is by the people that we choose to develop as leaders and to carry the the this the church into the future. That's the major way is identifying leaders who can carry the church into the future under that under that change initiative. That's how we anchor the new approaches and and remember the five mechanisms, five primary mechanisms for organizational culture. If you remember these I don't know if you can remember what we measure, how we respond to crisis.

[00:07:26] Remember, these are what we tend to reward, how we use our resources and what we model and teach. So if you go back to your study on organizational culture, those devices, those those mechanisms, those handles, if you will, are the key handles to anchor these new approaches within the church culture. And the studies would suggest that people become more open to change as change is handled well through these kinds of processes. If it's handled poorly, people tend to resist it the next time it comes around. So again, it's important to establish this kind of an approach that that really lends itself to to more effective. There's no guarantees. I want to I want to just conclude here by stating that there are. Having said all this, there are probably in rare occasions times in which. Leaders are called to bring about change. When all the odds are against them. And I think of Jesus himself. He instituted change, but he ended up going to the cross and it looked for all the world as if he had failed. But it's about what happened after the cross that made the difference. There are there are great stories about people tackling change, knowing full well that perhaps their change, if all is equal, if the human factors are lined up, and that the odds are just not very good that these things are going to happen. But they did them anyhow because they believed with all of their hearts before God that this was the right thing to do, recognizing that probably they will pay a huge price and a penalty for that. There are the rare, rare occasions where that is is the the calling of individuals. So I just want to say that as a as a final statement, because having said all this, this is hopefully a helpful way in in most change initiatives to walk a collective through it in a God honoring way.

[00:10:10] But there there may be times when God is honored by taking the road less traveled and the path that that is unpopular. I approached a memorial service, a friend of mine, and he was determined to be an advocate of the truth. And I said I said at his funeral that he lived by the words, You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. But he was also quite aware of what Flannery O'Connor was said to have added. You will know the truth and the truth will make you OD. And he was very aware of the fact and was ready to face the fact when his opinions and his initiatives in life were not popular. So there is that place in which we recognize the need and take the courage and and face whatever consequences are before us trust God. So I just wanted to to state that as we are closing this section. I have a for you, which we're not going to work through, but it's a it's a it's a case study called Drifting on the Winds of the Wave of Change. And I offer it to you and those of you that are on line taking this on. I want to ask you to. To work through this and work through the questions at the end. And I think carefully about what what the ramifications are and these this unfreeze change, refreeze process and and how that might work out in this scenario. But let me just close our session tonight with a couple of couple of final thoughts. One is there there are some simple realities about change initiatives. They usually have three phases. And the one the first phase is this is never going to work. In the second phase, it costs too much, both in people and resources and everything.

[00:12:19] And the final phase is I knew it was a good idea. And that's kind of the process that people tend to go through. The ultimate reality is that Steve Jobs made this statement and Steve Jobs had his own problems, of course, but he talked about putting a dent in the universe. As leaders, we we have this potential. And through change initiatives that are handled in a godly way. And our only way we we all have a potential to put a dent in the universe. So it's personal. Are we willing to be used to the Lord to bring about a healthy change and to do that kind of sacrifice? And that is necessary to make that happen. And so we end where we begin. Change really begins with us. And as we are new creations and Christ, old things passed away, all things become new. It really is about me. And as as we seek him in in humility, we we learn along the way. We apply these processes and we trust him for the future.

 

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