4 Ways to Successfully Navigate Change

4 Ways to Successfully Navigate Change

Great leaders manage change well. Great pastors also manage change well. But it’s not easy. In research for my book, Brain-Savvy Leaders: the Science of Significant Ministry, I learned that brain insight can help us navigate change successfully. Consider these 4 ways to successfully navigate a change you’re facing.

  1.  Keep others informed about your progress and welcome their input.

Build into your change plan specific dates when you will communicate progress. Tell your team how you will evaluate progress and when you will report it. Be thorough in your assessments. If the change is not going as planned, be honest yet focus on solutions, not problems. Give hope. Psalm 39:7 says, “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

Elicit feedback from several sources, not just from those at the top of your organizational chart. The more collaborative your evaluation process, the more successful the change (London & Smither, 1995). When others feel that they contributed to the evaluation process, they sense more freedom and thus more ownership.

2. Continue to acknowledge that change is scary.

When you talk about the progress you’re making, continue to verbalize that you understand how difficult and scary change can be. Be sure that you don’t speak in a patronizing way that implies that it’s difficult for your team and not for you. Let them know that it’s scary for you as well. It’s another way to build empathy, an important leadership competency. Help your team realize that it’s normal to feel unsettled during change and that it will pass. 

3. Tell stories of people who are navigating the change well.

Narrative persuasion is a technique that uses indirect communication through story and example. Often we try to persuade others with a direct approach that communicates just the facts, like, “We are going to make a change, and here are the reasons why.” The direct approach often is not effective.

Jesus was a storyteller. Through the use of parables, Jesus was able to share truth with those He encountered. Storytelling helps others “see” through the eyes of another. As you solicit feedback, look for stories of people who are managing the change well. Tell their stories as you give updates about your progress. When your team members can see successful responses to change through the stories of others, it will help them navigate the change better.

Change will bring detractors to the surface, as the Bible often shows.

4. Stay reasonably connected to your biggest resisters.

Change will bring detractors to the surface, as the Bible often shows. Moses sent Joshua and the spies to scout out the Promised Land. Even though they returned with glowing reports about the opportunity before them, many people resisted the change by spreading a bad report. “And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.” (Numbers 13:32) Stay connected to your detractors, but don’t become their punching bag. Rather, if you stay calmly connected to them, you can help calm their emotionality.

What has helped you navigate change well in your church or organization?

Your Gift Makes This Work Possible

Are you finding value in the Lead Like Jesus devotionals, blogs and podcasts? If your answer is yes, would you consider a financial gift to help us continue to produce this valuable content? Your donation of $10, $15 or $20 will make a difference! Thank you!

Share

More

Charles Stone

Both my wife Sherryl and I have a heart for pastors and pastors’ wives. We’ve taught hundreds of pastors and their wives in the United States, Canada, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico.

I earned an engineering degree from Georgia Tech, a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’m completing another masters degree in neuroleadership. I’m also an avid Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket fan.

I’ve been professionally trained in these areas by these organizations:

Life Coaching through the Professional Christian Coaching Institute
Strategic Planning through Ministry Advantage (certified)
Vision Clarity through the Church Unique Process (certified)
Conflict Management through Peacemakers
I’m the author of 4 books – Daughters Gone Wild – Dads Gone Crazy (Thomas Nelson, 2007), 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them (Bethany House Publishers, 2010), People Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership (Inter-Varsity Press, January 2014), and my brand new book, Brain-Savvy Leadership: the Science of Significant Ministry (Abingdon, 2015).

Do you have a leadership question for the Lead Like Jesus team? Please submit below:

 
1 Start 2 Complete