Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Growing Pains – Changes Ahead

Written by: on May 10, 2018


Author Quinn seeks to help those affected by changes in their organization in his book, Deep Change Field Guide.   Many organizations that experience what he referred to as a ‘slow death’ will need to make changes to survive. (Quinn, 27) Leaders need to consider the reactions of those affected by the change, therefore they should present the change to generate or create a positive work environment and an effective working relationship when administering the changes.  In the book, Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, it stated that “The CEO has a good strategy brings clarity about what the organization will do. Goals go hand in hand.” [1]  When change is made, many times there is resistance from others to the change. The reasons are many, for example, it was not clearly or effectively presented, it did not clearly consider the effect on the those affected by the change, or it was a top down to the bottom change by those who are far removed from the field of action. Leaders making the decision many times have no knowledge of the current operations, culture, or relationships in their organization.

Quinn believes that change is inevitable, so one needs to understand that an adjustment in themselves may be required to accept the change. To be successful, he encourages on to make a change in themselves taking a timeout to self-reflect, self-assess, and self-change. (Quinn, 11) Everyone has something they need to change about themselves so that they can become or continue to be successful.  ‘Deep Change’ according to Quinn, requires those affected by or seeking to change is to develop new expectations, surrender control, and acknowledge that we are not superior in our thoughts. (Quinn, 9 & 10). These points are similar to God’s points on our character in ad relationship with Christ. Now, this is preaching material.  The scriptures said ‘In Christ, you are a new creature; old things are gone; all things are new. (2 Cor 5:17) Paul says we must die daily to ourselves. (1 Cor 15:31) God said his ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9).  I wonder did he use these scriptures as his reference.

To leaders implementing changes, you take a risk changing from how we always do it to new ways of doing things. Those affected may not be acceptable to the change. Deep changes are sometimes painful to accept and even handle. To process the change, one must interact with the change in order to embrace the change. For example, in the Christian community, the entrance of a new Senior Pastor can either build or destroy a church organization. It depends on how it’s handled. Some congregants just don’t like change. You can cuddle, massage, nurture and counsel them. Some will not move. Those individuals can destroy the spirit of the church and plant seeds of anger (thorns) in the church which could overcome the possibility of growth (new fruit). That’s a God situation to have the discernment to root out that thorn so that the church can be healthy. As one preacher said to keep praying and preaching the word. Mark 4 It’s the word that will change them.

After each chapter, Quinn would have questions to help you understand the process and dissect it in your own mind. Here is an example of a few of those questions:

__1. As people reach the midpoint in the deep change process, they feel as if they have strayed from their comfort zone. ___4. “I know it all happened because I confronted my own insecurity, selfishness, and lack of courage.” ___5. Self-interested exchange and lack of excellence are so common that we expect and accept them. ___6. Staying in our comfort zone means we can only imitate that which has been done in the past. ___7. Remaining in the normal state—refusing to change while the universe changes around us—is ultimate to choose slow death.  (Quinn,111)

When we fight against change based on our normal reaction toward it, it can lead to a slow death to progress, growth, sustainability, life, etc. of the church or organization. Quinn states that to avoid a slow death we must:

  • We Become Less Comfort-Centered, More Purpose-Centered
  • We Become Less Externally Directed, More Internally Directed
  • We Become Less Self-Focused, More Other-Focused
  • We Become Less Internally Closed, More Externally Open (Quinn, 102-104)

I agree with his view on these points. When it comes to Christian operations, I have learned to voice my concern and not become aggressive, pray over the situation, and for the leaders making those decisions. I often need to remind myself that God did not assign me as the leader of this church or organization, and I am not privy to God’s conversation with the leader. In my lifetime, I have witnessed the effective prayer of the righteous change things.

         [1] Nohria, Nitin, and Rakesh Khurana, Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, Boston: Harvard Business Press, 2010, Loc 5494, Kindle.

About the Author

Lynda Gittens

5 responses to “Growing Pains – Changes Ahead”

  1. Jim Sabella says:

    Thanks for a great post, Lynda. I’m glad that you highlighted the change component of leadership. You stated, “To process the change, one must interact with the change in order to embrace the change.” Some of the best leaders love change but they don’t always consider that others might not like change. That being said, though bringing or initiating change may be a part of the role of a leader, that’s probably the easier part of leadership. The much more difficult part is to help others process and embrace change. That may be the greatest leadership feat of all. I enjoyed your post. Thank you.

  2. Mary says:

    Amen! This is preaching material! I really turn to 2 Cor. 5:17 a lot lately. We have BEEN changed and we must continually work on our sanctification.
    I am not in a leadership position either, and like you I pray for my leaders. However, in this book as in some of our others, leadership is seen as influence also. Lynda, you have influence and you do think about others. You have taught me many things in your posts. Thank you.

  3. Katy Drage Lines says:

    Good reflections, Lynda. As someone who leads a nonprofit ministry, what are some ways you’ve found to be effective in helping enact change, and for those who are participating to embrace changes?

  4. Jennifer Dean-Hill says:

    So true Lynda: “Everyone has something they need to change about themselves so that they can become or continue to be successful.” Yet, we often find ourselves trying to pull the splinter out of everyone else’s eye before we are pulling the log out of our own eye. I am finding that humility is the key to experiencing growth and listening to yourself, the right people, and the Holy Spirit in your life that leads to deep change. How do you experience deep change?

  5. Stu Cocanougher says:

    “When we fight against change based on our normal reaction toward it, it can lead to a slow death to progress, growth, sustainability, life, etc. of the church or organization.”

    Most of the churches that I have served at had a very real propensity to avoid change. I have seen many ideas “shot down” because they were “too radical.”

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