CHANGE & A Case Study of a Change That Divided a Church

by Bob Whitesel, 3/25/15.

I study how churches become divided over a change … and what can be done instead. Research shows that change often goes awry because a person in leadership inadvertently gives the “green light” to someone pushing for change (i.e. the change proponent). The change proponent then pushes ahead too fast, eventually alienating the “status quo” who blame the leader for giving the “green light.”

The leader’s action is called a “negative legitimizing event” because they inadvertently “legitimized” the new idea.  And, the result was “negative” because the change proponent ran too fast with the new idea.

However, research shows that division can be avoided if the leader:

  1. Slows down the change proponent (the person pushing for change)
  2. And helps the change proponent build consensus before moving forward.

Read about this research in my books: Bob Whitesel, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change What You Can Do About It (Abingdon Press, 2003) or in my book, Preparing for Change Reaction: How To Introduce Change in Your Church (Wesleyan Publishing House, 2007).

Often I ask my students for “case studies” that depict a “negative legitimizing event.”  And I get some painfully humorous examples.  Here is one from my student, shared anonymously and by permission:

Negative Legitimizing Event:  A few years ago, we decided it was time to take the organ off of the stage.  The start of the conversation happened within the context of the worship team, who felt like they needed more space on the platform for musicians.  The organ was sizable and took up a chunk of stage real estate, and we had no organist in the church.  At most, the organ was used one time a year.  I was probably guilty of legitimizing this and launching into a situation where change happened too soon.

The next body involved was the administrative board.  We talked at length about this at one board meeting before it was decided to remove the organ and begin to seek how we could donate the instrument to another church.  Within two weeks of that meeting, the organ had been taken down.

What we did not realize (and would have if we had taken more time) is that our oldest member of the church (104 years old at the time this happened – she’s still alive at 108!) had donated money to purchase the first organ the church ever owned… and the money came from her deceased husband’s memorial money.  Even though that organ was long gone, this member felt deeply attached to whatever organ was on the stage.  Soon, the pushback began to happen quickly.

We ended up losing about six people as a result of this decision and created some distrust with a few remaining members who are still extremely cautious about change today.”

CHANGE & The 4 Forces That Control Church Change #BobWhitesel #ChurchExecutiveMagazine

by Bob Whitesel Ph.D., Church Executive Magazine, March 2010, pp. 21-22.

(Download the original article here:  ARTICLE_Four Forces-Whitesel (Church Executive Article)

CE Four Force Model p. 1Changing a Church is Challenging!

As a writer and professor of church management and growth, I have found that managing change is a daunting task for church leaders. Regrettably, in most seminaries, managing change is not taught. I thus began to plumb the depths of the mysterious workings of change in churches, and surprisingly I discovered that the process is not so mysterious nor unexamined.

A primary culprit for the failure of church change is because there are more forces pushing for change than church leaders usually recognize.   As a result most church change strategies are to narrow, because leaders usually address only one or two of the up to four forces that may be present.

Where did the Four Force Model come from?

Andrew Van de Ven and Marshall Poole are management researchers that have compiled an exhaustive study of organizational change (Poole and Van de Ven 2004). Based upon an analysis of hundreds of articles in prestigious management magazines and journals, they discovered that change theories revolve four forces that push or generate change (Poole and Van de Ven 1995).

These change forces are sometimes called “four basic motors of change” because they push an organization into change (Poole and Van de Ven 2004:6). Sometimes only one force is pushing for change, but often two, three or four forces combine to simultaneously push an organization through change. While Van de Ven and Poole noted the effect of the four forces upon theories of change, I have observed in my practice that these forces also give us clues to the tools that are necessary to help a church change.

Why are the four forces of change important?

If an organization, such as a church, is only addressing one or two forces pushing for change (the usual church strategy) and more forces are pushing for change (up to four), I believe that the change will be unsatisfying and incomplete. If not all of the forces pushing for change are addressed congregants can feel the change did not go far enough or address their concerns. Thus, church change is often inadvertently too narrow and rejected by congregants who feel there are other forces pushing for change. In my consulting practice, I have found that successful change strategies first discover how many forces are pushing your church toward change, and then use the appropriate tools to control each force that is present.

What are the four forces of change?

If we are to bring about healthy and unifying church change then all the forces pushing for change must be addressed. – Bob Whitesel

Van de Ven and Poole assigned technical names to these forces, which I have simplified for retention. I will first briefly describe each change force and then follow with examples of tools to control each.

Life Cycle Forces defined.

Life cycle forces are motors pushing for change because an organization is at a crisis point in its life cycle. This could be a church that has an aging congregation or a facility with a different ethnicity moving into the neighborhood. Churches that feel this force are often older congregants who are concerned that the church is not adequately reaching out to other cultures or generations. If a change strategy does not address their concerns about the longevity of the organization, they will not support the change for it does not address the force they feel pushing most robustly upon them.

Life Cycle Forces tools.

Tools to address life cycle forces usually involve crafting long-term plans for growth. This often begins with the “visioning” process. Subsequent tools include starting new services or ministries to reach new generations or cultures. This may require hiring staff from this new culture to help the church make the transformation into a new cultural life-cycle. Many church growth strategies address such life cycle forces.

Goal-oriented Forces defined.

Goal-orientated forces are powers that push for change because a goal has been created for the organization. This may be an attendance goal imposed upon the congregation by a denomination and/or the church leadership. BHAGS are management gurus Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’ way of fostering change with “Big Harry Audacious Goals” (Collins and Porras 2004).   Such goals often motivate leaders who see the bigger picture better than they see the mechanics of getting there. And, these forces may be generated by a personal vision or a biblical mandate (such as the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19). Goal-orientated forces are often associated with churches that are struggling to survive, mega churches or newly planted churches. While this force is often felt most acutely by top-level leadership, attendees often have trouble appreciating this force. This is because for many attendees there are other forces (such as life-cycle forces described above or dialectic forces below) that are more powerful.

Goal-oriented Forces tools.

Tools to address goal-orientated forces usually revolve around measurement and research. Donald McGavran, the father of the Church Growth Movement, said there is a “universal fog” in our churches that masks our appreciation for measurement (McGavran 1970). He also pointed out that there is no such reticence in the Bible. Thus, evaluation becomes an important tool for measuring goal-orientated progress and/or when a goal needs to be revamped. Though reaching goals is an important force pushing for change in churches, it is not the only force present. If leadership tries to motivate an entire congregation by goals alone, many congregants who are feeling the push of other change forces will deem the change insufficient and/or inauthentic.

Conflict-oriented Forces defined.

Conflict-orientated forces push a church toward change because there are opposing viewpoints in the congregation. Often this occurs when new concepts are introduced and they appear to conflict with previously held ideas. Needless to say many churches suffer from this. While churches comprehend that this is a widespread problem, my experience is that conflict resolution is poorly addressed in many congregations. My Ph.D. research revealed that conflict-resolution is even a weak area in church leadership writings. This omission may be because congregants feel that the church should be a peaceful place, and thus they often avoid conflict. But conflict is a powerful motor for those that feel conflicted or at odds with other attendees, and thus it too must be addressed.

Conflict-oriented Forces tools.

Tools to address conflict will be found in books and programs that foster conflict resolution. Compromise is the goal of these resources, but first each side must understand the other before they can find middle ground. Research has also shown that it is critical that church leaders go slow when introducing change until widespread clarity and some compromise has been accomplished (Starke and Dyck 1996; Dyck and Starke 1999). I have written an entire book on the six-steps of church compromise and how going too fast with new ideas usually dooms creative ideas (Whitesel 2003).

Trend-orientated Forces defined.

The reader must remember that most change is being pushed along by multiple motors at the same time, and thus an effective change strategy must be a collage of the tools listed. – Bob Whitesel

A final force often concurrently pushing for change is the trend-orientated force. This is a motor that drives change because some congregants want change because a new “trend” has evolved and appears to be working in other churches. Change proponents often push enthusiastically and unrelentingly for popular new ideas to be implemented. Often they do so without addressing the change forces pushing upon others (such as life-cycle or conflict-orientated forces). Thus, trend-orientated leaders are seen as dividing the congregation and/or not sensitive to the church’s unity and health.

Trend-orientated Forces tools.

The primary tools used to handle trend-orientated forces is to help all factions see that a popular program or strategy will only fix part of the problem, and that a successful approach must address all forces pushing for change.

Fashionable programs are usually beneficial, but are perceived by life-cycle and conflict-oriented leaders as incomplete or inauthentic. Another tool is to examine the trend carefully and adapt it to the local situation. Thus, leaders must slowly foster compromise, show how their strategy addresses the church life-cycle as well as demonstrates how a strategy can be measurable.

A collage of tools to address your four forces

There are three steps in holistic change. Step one is to determine which forces are pushing for change in your church. This inaugural steps means studying the above definitions with your leaders, reading appropriate books (see the endnotes) and using round-table discussions to create a list of the change forces evident in your church.

The second step is to list the change

Controlling Change

Step 1

Determine which of the four forces are pushing for change in your church.

Step 2

List the change forces by their relative strength.

Step 3

Create a collage of tools (from the lists in this article) to control all of the four forces pushing for change.

forces by their relative strength. Some forces will be pushing more forcefully, while others may be present but diminutive. The ranking is subjective, and thus it is important to get as many segments of the church involved as possible. Remember, some congregants may be ostracized or excluded from the leadership process, and yet they may be feeling the push of other forces. Thus, bring as many segments of the church as possible into this listing to ensure all forces pushing for change are identified and ranked.

Finally in step 3 create a collage of tools from the above lists to control change. Organization theorist Mary Jo Hatch believes most effective theories are “collages” or a patchwork of tactics (Hatch 1997). This is required because each local church is unique and the most effective strategies will be those adapted to all the forces present on the local level.

The future of changing churches: four force models.

Many books today are focused on encouraging church change. But few actually address how to do it. Yet, in my consulting practice I have noticed that it is not a desire to change that is missing, buy that most church leaders just don’t know “how” to create positive change. Understanding that there are often four forces pushing for change simultaneously, discovering the relative strength of each, and then combining tools to create a collage tactic are the first steps toward long-term and effective church change.

(The above was reprinted with permission from Church Executive Magazine.  Download the original article here:  ARTICLE_Four Forces-Whitesel (Church Executive Article)

Works Cited

Collins, Jim, and Jerry I. Porras. 2004. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. New York, NY: Collins Business.

Dyck, Bruno, and Frederick A. Starke. 1999. The Formation of Breakaway Organizations: Observations and a Process Model. Administrative Science Quarterly 44:792-822.

Hatch, Mary Jo. 1997. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McGavran, Donald A. 1970. Understanding Church Growth. rev. ed., 1980 ed. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Poole, Marshall Scott, and Andrew H. Van de Ven. 1995. Explaining Development and Change in Organizations. Academy of Management Review (20):510-540.

———, eds. 2004. Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Starke, Frederick A., and Bruno Dyck. 1996. Upheavals in Congregations: The Causes and Outcomes of Splits. Review of Religious Research 38:159-174.

Whitesel, Bob. 2003. Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change (And What You Can Do About It). Nashville: Abingdon Press.

CHURCH PLANTING & How Conflict Avoidance Often Leads to Church Planting

by Bob Whitesel, 3/10/15.

The following are notes gleaned from my consultative work, where I have found avoidance of conflict to be one of the main struggles among pastors of churches that are stalled in growth in the medium and large size ranges.  Interviewing staff, key volunteers and board members I have noticed the following five (5) results often emerge when leaders avoid conflict.

Outcomes when senior leadership avoids conflict:

1.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to burnout in the leader. This is because the repression of stress creates internal turmoil in the leader which does not get resolved. It usually simmers under the surface until an alarm event (Whitesel, 2002, p. 94ff) pushes it to the front. The leader has repressed it so long the leader will often overact and congregants/staff will wonder why the leader is so upset. The level of irritation is often so great that sides will be formed (Whitesel, 2002, p. 109ff).

2.)  Conflict avoidance often leads to a great deal of external church planting (you will see shortly that because conflict avoidance is the rationale, these plants aren’t often given a healthy start). The senior leader avoids conflict for so long, that staff who are in conflict with him/her wind up leaving the church to plant another church. The planting of the church is actually a conflict avoidance behavior by the senior leader and planter, for in the name of multiplication this tactic distances discordant and innovative ideas from the mother church. The result is that churches become mono-cultural congregations, while at the same time feeling self-satisfied that they are planting churches (Whitesel, 2011, p. 61ff).  But, often the plant becomes mono-cultural too because the avoidance of conflict is a behavior the planted pastor has seen modeled for her/him and often adopts as a coping mechanism as well (Whitesel, 2007).

3)  Conflict avoidance often creates an uncomfortable staff relationship with the senior shepherd, because they don’t know how or when to address conflict. Often the senior leader will cancel or postpone meetings with staff, if the leader perceives it might involve conflict. Inside the leader may be thinking, “If I cancel this meeting the conflict will get resolved after the person has had time to think about it.” As a result, the staff will feel at the best disregarded and as the worst detached. The result is turnover among staff who are innovators and entrepreneurs.

4)  Conflict avoidance results in the staff who remain in the conflict avoidance environment are often those who are accommodators, usually with a high degree of tactical or operational leadership style. The strategic leaders, who are usually those that help churches grow and help the church diversify by reaching out to varying cultures, will go elsewhere. The result is that churches have only a few strategic thinkers, are more mono-cultural and are not able to diversify by reaching multiple cultures at the same time.

5)  Finally conflict avoidance often leads to a less innovative and cohesive personality for the organization.  Outsiders get the impression that change proponents leave that church and entrepreneurs are stifled there.

But, in most of the circumstances above the senior leader is well liked. In my case study research, the more a leader is liked, the more apt that leader is to be a conflict-avoider.  Subsequently, they may be popular among other leaders and asked to share their insights into church growth.  Most of that insight will have to do with planting churches.  But, if you talk to the pastors of many of those plants, as I have, you will find that they feel leaving the mother church was the best way to avoid an awkward situation where conflict was avoided.

Thus,

>  His/her avoidance of conflict creates an “uncomfortable” and “awkward” feeling among the staff when they are in conflict with the leader’s ideas.

> So, because the senior shepherd is well liked, the creative person will usually try to graciously distance themselves by going elsewhere.

> And, a new plant is launched – but with a wrong motivation and the wrong coping-mechanisms for handing conflict.

Thus, we can see from such case studies, that conflict avoidance can lead to a proliferation of small/weak daughter churches, less diverse mother churches and less satisfied work environments.

FOR FURTHER READING:

Whitesel, B. (2002). Staying power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

__________ (2007). Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in your church. Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House.

__________ (2011). ORGANIX: Signs of leadership in a changing church. Nashville: Abingdon Press.

FACILITIES & The 7 Don’ts & 7 Do’s of Building

by Bob Whitesel. (Download the chapter HERE: BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – GROWTH BY ACCIDENT Missteps with New Facilities 2. If you like the insights please support publisher and author by buying a copy here. Excerpted from Growth by Accident – Death by Planning: How Not to Kill a Growing Church, Abingdon Press, 2004, pp. 76-80.)

1.  Don’t build too soon. Oftentimes a rented or paid-for facility will be less expensive to operate than a new facility. Though architects often laud cost savings of new facilities, they may require large unforeseen expenditures. Repairing a boiler in an existing facility might cost $8,000 to $10,000. But in a new facility, the same size of congregation might have to pay twice to three times that amount. And though a builder/architect may suggest that this would not happen for years, it happened with in the first five years at Mt Sinai. Thus, building cautiously and patiently can help generate a fiscal reserve.

2.  Don’t build too big. Under advice of their architect/builder, and based upon their own overly optimistic projections, the church leaders built a facility that was oversized for their congregation, and their budget. We saw in Chapter 2 how multiple weekend celebrations can give the church more options for attracting community residents. And the four Sunday services at Mt. Sinai provided this benefit. Yet naively, the leaders decided to hold one large combined church service in the new facility. Thus, robbing the Sunday services of their flexibility and convenience, they undermined their attendance. “We all agreed we wanted everyone together, and only one service was the way to do it,” recollected Tim. “But we didn’t expect such a drop-off in attendance.”

3. Don’t build without flexibility. Renovated and rented facilities had given Mt. Zion Church needed flexibility. If they needed to change their usage or space requirements, a different site could be rented. And due to the cramped facilities, multi-functional areas were mandated. But when the new facility was built, many ministries were segregated into activity-specific spaces. Immovable pews were installed in the auditorium, small classrooms were designed, separated by load-bearing cement walls. Since church members were tired of years of cramped and communal space, they tried to give everyone their own area in the new facility. “Everyone was going to have their own rooms at last,” mused Tim. But creating these private enclaves weakened the flexibility that had contributed to growth.

4. Don’t use a plateaued church for your model. Mt. Zion’s leaders had visited several seemingly successful churches in the region. Unfortunately, they did not ask if these churches were plateaued or declining. Of the five churches they visited, two were declining and two were plateaued. But their impressive facilities kept Mt. Zion’s leaders from looking closer. The architect/builder who had designed the lone growing church was rejected in Tim’s words as “too wild for us, it looks like a mall.”

5. Don’t build in a detached location. The building site was an area where many of the leaders would have liked to live and worship. But unlike their first facility (and the rented spaces downtown) it lacked visibility. “It was on a moderately traveled road,” suggested Tim. “But it was across town from the main highway. I really wish we had built adjacent to Route 20.” Visibility is one of the keys to outreach. But unfortunately, churches often link their destiny to a parcel of land that is convenient for current attendees, but in a detached location that slows or undercuts growth.

6. Don’t forget to get information from the right experts. Church leaders thought they were getting the best advice available when they hired the architect/builder of another large and prestigious church. In fact, he had built dozens of churches. But because most of the churches in America are declining or plateaued, the architect/builder was inadvertently experienced in building facilities that contributed to church plateaus and/or declinations.

7. Don’t expect new facilities to increase the church’s attendance. Related to errors two and six above, this must be mentioned again because it is so prevalent in the sales pitch of many architects/builders. As I noted earlier Christians are an optimistic lot. And in my experience architect/builders succumb to this malady just as easily. Together they can give overly aggressive projections. “The architect advised us on church growth projections. He said a new facility would increase our attendance by 10-15 percent,” recalled Tim. “He said they were based on his company’s history. But now I question his figures.” While architects and builders are experts in legal codes, and civil engineering; few are acquainted with the principles and strategies of church growth.

Seven Do’s When Building a Facility

Each of the above Seven Errors have a positive alternative. I have labeled these corrective steps the “Seven Dos When Building a Facility.”

Corrective Step 1. Do wait longer than you think you should before you build. This may require restraint, but waiting can help you further define your needs and objectives. Patience also allows fiscal swings to moderate and more precise financial projections to be created. More money can be set aside for savings as well. Finally, cautious and unhurried behavior allows you to plan your future more precisely.

Corrective Step 2.  Do build a smaller sized auditorium, leaving room for expansion. Creating spaces where everyone can worship simultaneously may not be needed (combined “unity” gatherings can be held in rented facilities[i]), nor wise (we saw in Chapter 2 that multiple celebration options allow us to reach a greater percentage of a community).

Corrective Step 3.  Do create flexibility in your facility, to compensate for the smaller size. Though a smaller facility can cause tension and minor friction, it can lead to creativity. And, sharing facilities forces an expanding congregation to interact and work out this conflict, thus creating interaction between potentially divisive groups.[ii] Designing flexible spaces also provides adaptability for future programming.

Corrective Step 4.  Do use a larger, but growing church as your model. Don’t let impressive facilities and/or reputations dissuade you from discovering if your model church is growing. Ask yourself, does the architect/builder build growing churches or plateaued/declining ones? In addition, ask the architect/builder for references and interview former clients. Ask the references if they feel the facilities have hindered growth to any degree.

Corrective Step 5.  Do build in a visible location. For unchurched and dechurched people accessibility is essential. Robert Schuller tells how fellow clergypersons extended to him their condolences when he could find no other facility to rent other than a drive-in theatre. “Don’t feel sorry for me,” Schuller replied. “The Orange Drive-In Theatre is right on the Santa Ana Freeway, and that’s the heaviest traveled road in the State of California. … Nobody has a better road leading up to their front door than I do! And you have to have a road leading up to your front door before you need a building.”[iii]

Corrective Step 6.  Do get advice from the right experts. Seek out architect/builders who build malls, theatres, and colleges rather than churches. Churches are often designed with a formulaic look and inadequate flexibility. Here I cannot fault architect/builders too much. Most of their church building experience revolves around aging congregations, who are building smaller facilities or merging. As such, these architects have little experience with facilities that foster connectedness and growth. Today, the architects of malls and shopping centers are becoming the designers of connectedness in America. Malls have replaced the streets of small town America as the venue for meeting people and relationship building. One young teenager confided, “It’s at the mall where I feel at home with my friends. There’s a coffee bar, comfortable couches, TVs, a fountain, and lots of people hanging out. It sure beats church.” Unfortunately, the church is being beat by the sense of community created by many of these retail environments. Where once it was said, “I met my spouse at church,” too often today it is heard, “I met my spouse at the mall.”

Corrective Step 7.  Do plan on the size of your church to plateau or even decline moderately after a building project. Change always brings about tension, and as a result polarization between the status quo and change proponents often erupts. In the second book of this series, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change and What You Can Do About It [iv] I explained how you can avoid the polarization that often arises between these groups. But because change is unavoidable, tension will be encountered. Therefore the tension involved in moving into new facilities does not usually grow a church. And because some people find this change especially jarring, they look for a congregation more in keeping with their former church experience. Thus, a decline should be anticipated in budget and usage projections. Hiring an expert in church growth can be expeditious for realistic planning. The American Society for Church Growth (www.ascg.org) lists dozens of church growth consultants trained and skilled in helping churches navigate the precipitous waters of growth, change, and facility expansion.

Read more in Growth by Accident – Death by Planning: How Not to Kill a Growing Church

[i] For ideas on “unity celebrations” that can unify churches with multiple weekend worship options, see “Unity Building Exercises” in A House Divided, p. 187.

[ii] See the second book in this series, Staying Power: Why People Leave the Church Over Change and What You Can Do About It, to discover how to keep your people from coalescing into factions.

[iii] Robert H. Schuller, Your Church Has A Fantastic Future (Ventura, Calif.” Regal Books, 1986), p. 286.

[iv] Bob Whitesel, Staying Power, op. cit.

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.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/getting-people-to-believe-in-something-they-cant-yet-imagine/

CHURH PLANTING & Church Starting, So What’s the Difference? Good explanation from #EdStetzer

Church Planting or Church Starting?

by Ed Stetzer, 6/20/13

When we talk about church planting it can be a little different than church starting. What’s the difference? Well, I think church starting happens a lot of ways. The most popular church starting strategy involves a group of people getting mad, leaving their home church, and starting another church. In most cases I wouldn’t advise this strategy.

Church planting, on the other hand, involves an individual, mother church, and/or a group of people going out to start a church for the purpose of engaging a community through gospel proclamation and demonstration.

Church planting, unlike church starting, should/must be mission driven.

Church planting grows in the soil of lostness (hence “planting”) where men and women far from God are challenged with the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ by a group of intentional believers…

Read more at … http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/june/how-does-church-planting-relate-to-gods-mission.html?paging=off

TEAMWORK & Make Your Team Feel Powerful #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Researchers at the University of Illinois found that top-down driven organizations make employees less productive. Employees in such scenarios feel that they have little input and new ideas are thrust down on them by management. Find out how researchers say you can prevent this in two easy steps in my books, ‘Staying power’ (2003) and ‘Preparing for change reaction’ (2011).”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/05/make-your-team-feel-powerful/

TACTICAL OR STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP & Are You a Holistic or a Specific Thinker?

Are You a Holistic or a Specific Thinker?
by Erin Meyer, Harvard Business Review

What you see in this picture can tell you if you are a holistic (strategic) or specific (tactical) thinker:

FIGURE STO Fish http-:blogs.hbr.org:2014:04:are-you-a-holistic-or-a-specific-thinker

“Psychologists Richard E. Nisbett and Takahiko Masuda wrote about this cultural difference in a famous study. As an experiment they presented 20-second animated videos of underwater scenes to Japanese and American participants. Afterward, participants were asked what they had seen… While the Americans mentioned larger, faster-moving, brightly-colored objects in the foreground (such as the big fish), the Japanese spoke more about what was going on in the background (for example, the small frog bottom left). The Japanese also talked twice as often as the Americans about the interdependencies between the objects up front and the objects in the background.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/are-you-a-holistic-or-a-specific-thinker/

CHANGE & Regression

When Your Team Reverts to the Old Strategy
by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review

An important overview of John Kotter’s change principles to:

1)  Go slow,
2)  Build consensus
3)  And succeed.

This supports these lessons in my books: “Staying Power: Why people leave the church over change and what you can do about it” (2003) and “Preparing for change reaction: How to introduce change in your church” (2010).

In this very helpful overview by Gallo of Kotter’s work, you will learn how to create teamwork that prevents the team-killing rise of “choosers” and “choiceless doers.”

http://blogs.hbr.org/2010/08/when-your-team-reverts-to-the/