VISION & Getting People to Believe in Something They Can’t Yet Imagine in 4 Steps

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Traditional, and increasingly less effective change theory, says you “invoke authority” to bring about change (see Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: the psychology of persuasion (2006). However recent research has shown that this does not work today (ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in the changing church, 2010). Harvard Business Review research suggests four elements for bringing about change without having to ‘invoke authority’.”

1) Incremental improvement which can be easily grasped, it is not is threatening. So start with small changes.

2) Give a demonstration on a small scale, so people can see firsthand the benefits.

3) Do a pilot project. Even though the change may need to be permanent, doing a small pilot project with an end date can help people understand it’s value.

4) Inevitability. If the change is inevitable then consistently yet slowly make this argument. See my book Staying power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it (2002) and Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in a church (2009) for research that shows you must still go slow and gain consensus.

But if you go slow and gain consensus – the above four ideas can help you bring about change in an organization where your social capital is still emerging.”

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