The Neglected Step in Leading Change

ChangeOne of the most neglected steps in leading change is communicating why the change is being made. In unpacking how to address this mistake, I’m using KevinWilson360 as an example.

Verifying the Assertion

It doesn’t take too deep of reflection to see leaders do neglect this step. We can hear the echoes of church members asking similar questions over and over again…

  • Why did we change the worship service times?
  • Why are we constructing this building addition?
  • Why are we re-writing the Constitution and Bylaws?
  • Why did we put up the plasma screen in the sanctuary?
  • Why did we call a new associate pastor?

Leaders already knew the answers to these questions. Where is the disconnect with members?

Why Leaders Neglect to Share Why

The most common reason leaders neglect share “why” is group dynamics. Leaders process potential changes before making decisions. They examine their motives for the change. They consider why the congregation should go through the change. The look for unintended consequences that could result from the change.

As they implement the change, the leaders communicate on what is changing and when it change. Note, leaders are not sharing why the change is being made. This is because, in their minds, “why” was a question in the process of discerning whether to make the change. They answered “why.” No need to consider it further.

Some leaders will try communicate why change is occurring, but do not do so well. For example, they will communicate about why in only one media. Or they will communicate why the change is being made in singular context, such as a congregational meeting or announcements in worship.

Along these same lines, leaders will stop communicating “why” far too early. If a church is engaging in a building project, leaders need to keep sharing “why” at least six months after the space is occupied. Too often, leaders stop communicating “why” before the building’s foundation is laid.

The Solution

For once, the solution for this leadership issue is simple. Leaders develop the discipline of sharing “why” change is being made every time they communicate “what” is changing. It only takes a couple more sentences. Leaders learn the discipline quickly because of the repetition.

Leaders should also intentionally share “why” through as many mediums as possible. Verbal announcements. Written blurbs in the worship folder notes. Videos on the church’s social media. Sending leaders to share the changes with groups.

Changes at KevinWilson360

As was noted in the lead paragraph, I’m modeling this practice in this post. For the next few months, we’re testing three changes for KW360.

  • KW360 will become mixed-media. It’s time to test videos.
  • The number of posts will be reduced from three to two most weeks.
  • The “KW360 Digest” will have less content, but the content will be more accessible.

Why Test These Changes?

KW360 exists to support and sustain leaders who want their churches to thrive through more intentional mission and ministry. For a small but committed cadre of leaders, we’re fulfilling this purpose.

We’re making the changes to better serve this group of leaders as well as expand the community. We want to see if including more congregational leaders will deepen our community.

  • As for the specific changes, the evidence is overwhelming that video attracts more and different. Testing this possible change is actually past due.
  • We’re shifting to two posts a week (Sunday and Wednesday) because of feedback that the three posts in the email box every week can be too much. Furthermore, we were starting to repeat themes and topics on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • By whittling down the “KW360 Digest,” the content will be more accessible.

What lessons have you learned about leading change? Share your learnings in the comments or shoot me an email.

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