By Todd Adkins
As you lead change in your church, you will grow tired of talking about change. You will grow tired of celebrating change. Your staff and leaders will approach you and say, “This is too much! People are tired of hearing us talk about this.” But, don’t let up!
You know the storyline of every monster movie for the last three decades, right? You think the creature is dead. There’s no way he could have survived, and he is quiet, not moving, and seemingly gone from the scene. But then he comes back to life when you least expect it. Change is transformation, not transaction. Change is a process, not an event. Continue to focus on the change, and keep turning over every rock until there is no longer any trace of the status quo.
This graphic illustrates how to keep a constant eye out for things may seem to come out of the sky and challenge your change process.
John Boyd was a World War II military strategist who said that during dogfights between fighter pilots, each pilot went through these four decision phases. Whoever did them quicker was the one that won out. Most of us aren’t locked in a life or death struggle while leading change, but these four phases are helpful in agile decision making.1
- Observe: What is going on around us? What is the situation?
- Orient: What do we need to orient to or adapt to what is going on? How do you need to change in light of your current reality?
- Decide: What do you have identified as an opportunity for change? What can you decide on that will actually help you move forward?
- Act: How can you see it through to completion? What will you do to observe the results?
Again, this assessment is one that is never truly done because one decision leads to another. This is a decision loop. It’s not a linear diagram, because even after you’ve made that action step, you are going to continually evaluate the decision and improve your system, which ultimately improves your leadership. The quicker you are at making solid decisions, the better leader you will become.
- Chet Richards, Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, 2004).
Adapted from Leading Change in Your Church. Download the FREE ebook here.