Controlling the Temperature of Change

•May 20, 2010 5:36 am • Leave a Comment

“If you try to stimulate deep change within an organization, you have to control the temperature. There are really two tasks here. The first is to raise the heat enough that people sit up, pay attention, and deal with the real threats and challenges facing them. Without some distress, there is no incentive for them to change anything. The second is to lower the temperature when necessary to reduce a counterproductive level of tension. Any community can take only so much pressure before it becomes either immobilized or spins out of control. The heat must stay withing a tolerable range–not so high that people demand it be turned off, and not so low that they are lulled into inaction.”

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. pp 107-108.

Casualites and Commitment

•May 18, 2010 5:32 am • Leave a Comment

“If people simply cannot adapt, the reality is that they will be left behind. They become casualties. This is virtually inevitable when organizations and communities go through significant change. Some people simply cannot or will not go along. You have to choose between keeping them and making progress.  For people who find taking casualties extremely painful, almost too painful to endure, this part of leadership presents a special dilemma. But it often goes with the territory.

Accepting casualties signals your commitment. If you signal that you are unwilling to take casualties, you present an invitation to the people who are uncommitted to push your perspectives aside. Without the pinch of reality, why should they make sacrifices and change their ways of doing business? Your ability to accept the harsh reality of losses sends a clear message about your courage and commitment to seeing the adaptive change through.

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. p 99.

Sloppy Wet Kiss

•May 17, 2010 1:32 pm • Leave a Comment

My buddy Matt introduced me to this song, “How He Loves” a week or two ago during our Sunday gathering for 2 Pillars Church.  This morning he sent me this video that provides the story behind the song.  This is what I long to see captured through music at 2 Pillars.  May we wrestle with God and sing about it.

[Click through to Vimeo]

Leadership is an Improv Art

•May 13, 2010 5:27 am • Leave a Comment

“Leadership is an improvisational art. You may have an overarching vision, clear, orienting values, and even a strategic plan, but what you actually do from moment to moment cannot be scripted.  To be effective, you must respond to what is happening…[Y]ou have to move back and forth from the balcony to the dance floor, over and over again throughout the day, week, month, and year.  You take action, step back and assess the results of the action, reassess the plan, then go to the dance floor and make the next move.  You have to maintain a diagnostic mindset on a changing reality.

…Sustaining your leadership, then, requires first and foremost the capacity to see what is happening to you and your initiative, as it is happening.  This takes discipline and flexibility, and it is hard to do.”

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. p 73.

Reverence for the Pains of Change

•May 11, 2010 5:21 am • Leave a Comment

“Seduction, marginalization, diversion, and attack all serve a function.  They reduce the disequilibrium that would be generated were people to address the issues that are taken off the table.  They serve to maintain the familiar, restore order, and protect people from the pains of adaptive work.  It would be wonderful if adaptive work did not involve hard transitions, adjustments, and loss in people’s lives.  Because it does, it usually produces resistance.  Being aware of the likelihood of receiving opposition in some form is critical to managing it when it arrives. Leadership, then, requires not only reverence for the pains of change and recognition of the manifestations of danger, but also the skill to respond.”

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. p 48.

Leadership and Change

•May 6, 2010 5:12 am • Leave a Comment

“Asking an entire community to change its ways…is dangerous. If leadership were about giving people good news, the job would be easy….People do not resist change per se. People resist loss.”

“The sustainability of change depends on having the people with the problem internalize the change itself.”

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. pp 11 & 13.

Identity and Change

•May 4, 2010 5:00 am • Leave a Comment

I recently read an excellent book on leadership that I found continually overlapping onto the task of church planting.  We’re currently in a phase with our church plant in which I’m calling people to commit to the mission and vision that we’re embarking on.  The following passage from Leadership on the Line deeply resonated with me with respect to what we’re trying to do right now:

“To persuade people to give up the love they know for a love they’ve never experienced means convincing them to take a leap of faith in themselves and in life. They must experience the loss of a relationship that, despite its problems, provides satisfaction and familiarity, and they will suffer the discomfort of sustained uncertainty about what will replace it. In breaking with the past, there will be historical losses to contend with, too, particularly the feelings of disloyalty to the sources of the values that kept the relationship together….Moreover, change challenges a person’s sense of competence….

…Habits, values, and attitudes, even dysfunctional ones, are a part of one’s identity.  To change the way people see and do things is to challenge how they define themselves.”

-Heifetz and Linsky, Leadership on the Line. pp 26-27