Today I want to talk to you about the art and science of leading change. Now there’s a Robert Frost poem that describes being a swinger of birches. Don’t worry, we’re not going to get too high brow today. I grew up in rural Kentucky, and we called this skinning the cat. That’s also not what you think either. Let’s take a look.
We would find a tall skinny tree. And we would climb almost to the top of that tree. At which point you had to choose a time to commit. And you effectively swing out and jump out from the tree while still holding on to the branches. Now, the tree bends toward the ground and few things are more satisfying in life than getting it right. You bend all the way down to the ground and you feel almost weightless.
Now, I can also tell you, that you quickly learn to judge a tree: the time of year, the weather conditions, the science part of this – how high you need to climb. If you climb when it’s too dry, the tree is going to break and you are going to end up on the ground. If you climb up too high, you are also going to end up on the ground. But if you climb not high enough, you’re left hanging. I can personally tell you from experience, each scenario has its own issues.
But let’s talk about skinning the cat in the church. Like skinning the cat, leading change in a church is both an art and a science. You have to understand the conditions. You have to have a plan. But we all know that we can have a great plan, and still be left hanging 10 feet off the ground. Because we’ve been there.
The truth is, every tree is different. And even the same tree, or even the same church, will react differently to different changes at different seasons in different times of the year. So, you have to feel out the change as you go. And we often spend most of our time on the science part, the planning part and we fail to recognize the art of feeling through the implementation process. And that mostly involves people. So be sure that you are paying attention to both the art and the science. And also, be sure you don’t let go until the change has been all the way implemented and you know that you are through.
Now that you understand skinning the cat, and both the art and science of change, what are you going to do about it?
Want to learn more about change? Download our FREE ebook Leading Change in Your Church here.