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

Leadership when change is dynamic and unpredictable.

Written by: on January 12, 2023

The covid19 pandemic was as brutal as it was merciless in forcing everyone across the globe to change. Life became unpredictable as people lived in fear and uncertainty, not having a clue of what to expect or do. If change management is leadership, then everyone was forcibly conscripted into leadership to manage the most unpredictable and fearful change. From confusion and extreme fear of the future, people soon realized that it was inevitable to adapt to the most unpredictable environment that the world was turned to be. Razzetti in his book Remote Not Distant explains the change that the pandemic has brought to the workplace culture in many organizations, which we have to accept as inevitable.[1] Razzetti is a researcher, author, consultant, and CEO & founder of Fearless Culture, a cultural design consultancy.

Leadership in any environment, calls for change management to use organizational strengths to minimize or eliminate external threats and address internal organizational weaknesses to maximizing on opportunities, in order to achieve the objectives of the organization. We operate in a very dynamic, volatile, and unpredictable world where change is a constant, and failure to manage change, in this case, the culture of the organization, is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of organizations, governments, families, and individuals. During the covid19 pandemic, there have been countless victims, who were destabilized or completely failed due to the challenges that came with covid19 but there were also countless success stories of organizations that not only survived the pandemic but thrived and have emerged stronger and more successful. As others gave up and gave in to fear and desperation, successful organizations were able to adapt to the new environment and creatively come up with strategies and tools to manage the challenges that change brought about. Razzetti who speaks in different business forums to many leaders has been advising business executives to embrace a pandemic-driven shift towards doing work outside of an office setting. One of the changes that are a consequence of the pandemic is a situation where employers have embraced the idea of people working from home, which used to be an exception. Things have turned around and working from the office which was the norm, is slowly turning out as the exception instead. The office work culture has changed and people are working both in the office and others from the comfort of their homes. As people were locked down at the onset of Covid19, hope was that this would only last a short period of time but days turned into weeks, weeks into months and people had to continue on with life. What started out as survival tactics of people working from home has now been embraced as a strategy by many organizations, facilitated by technology and strategic leaders have adapted to the new reality that Razzetti refers to as “Remote not distant.”

As a case in point, when the pandemic set in 2020, as an organization, our Christian schools for vulnerable children were closed by the government alongside all other schools across the country. We had to be creative to adapt to the new environment because we could not neglect these vulnerable children. Instead of burying our heads in the sand and neglecting the vulnerable children and their families, we opted to reach out and engage the students using technology. The engagement of the students by their teachers and social workers, with activities that kept the children busy, and thereby kept them away from risky behavior were very instrumental in saving from many risks. We were able to save many children from getting involved in antisocial activities that put their lives in danger.                                                                Change is quoted by Tod Bolsinger as the crucible upon which leadership is formed and strengthened to develop tempered resilience.[2] The change brought about by covid19 has definitely been the crucible upon which many leaders have had the opportunity to be “tempered” in their resilience. Adaptive leadership is the way to overcome rapid and unpredictable change as happened during the pandemic. The change affected both secular and religious organizations in equal measure. As Christian leaders, we also have to embrace change and creatively adapt to the new environment and respond creatively to minister to a bleeding society. The cases of depression, emotional instability and mental instability have increased during and after the pandemic and calls on the church to respond accordingly, in line with the missional obligation to “give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute,” (Psalms 82:3). We had to be adaptive in using technology to provide counseling sessions virtually. Many people resorted to buying things online that were delivered directly to people’s houses, and these new ways of doing things have now become the new normal, as people have become adaptive and achieved great success while others have failed for their failure to be adaptive to change. Most of the strategies and tools that we used at the onset of the pandemic and the ensuing period, have become our new normal and have helped the organization to make great progress.

Razzetti has encouraged businesses and other executives on embracing new ways of doing things. He particularly has an interest in the combination of both normal office working and remote working. He is full of praise for remote working, which he says if done well can lead to staff satisfaction and productivity while strengthening corporate teams and the company as a whole.

If it’s done thoughtfully and deliberately, he argues, remote work can increase employee satisfaction and productivity while also strengthening corporate teams and a company as a whole.  As I pursue my doctorate, I realize that I have to be adaptive to embrace change and and flexibility as I use different research methodologies in adaptive leadership approach.

[1] Razzetti, Gustavo. Remote Not Distant: Design a Company Culture that will help you Thrive in a Hybridge Workplace. (Bridgeport, Chicago, Illinois. Liberationist Press, 2022).

[2] Tod Bolsinger. Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed at the Crucible of Change. (Westmont, Illinois, USA. IVP, 2020).

About the Author


Mary Kamau

Christ follower, Mother of 3 Biological children and one Foster daughter, Wife, Pastor, Executive Director of Institutional Development and Strategy in Missions of Hope International, www.mohiafrica.org.

14 responses to “Leadership when change is dynamic and unpredictable.”

  1. mm Roy Gruber says:

    Mary, thank you for your post. I can only imagine how difficult it was for your organization and your leadership when Covid made meeting the needs of at-risk children difficult. What lasting changes did Covid have upon Missions of Hope International? What have been the biggest changes for you personally?

    • mm Mary Kamau says:

      Thank you Roy, there are several ways in which our adaptive leadership response to the pandemic challenges have helped us adapt new strategies and tools of work. We have embraced the use of virtual meetings in the organization and in engaging our ministry partners across the globe; we have continued to produce medical supplies within our production unit to generate income for the ministry which only started as a response to the pandemic needs; we have continued to use technology to engage our stakeholders through the social media, and continue to use the telephone and email lists that we put together for ease of communication. Personally, I must admit that my prayer life became more robust; I’m more flexible in the way I do things and work with others in teamwork; and I have become more focused on keeping our ministry partners more engaged and informed about our ministry.

  2. mm Andy Hale says:


    Since your work is so relational, how do you think you were able to maintain healthy relationships throughout the worst parts of the pandemic? At the same time, what aspects of relational connection were lost due to the limitations of meeting via technology?

  3. mm Mary Kamau says:

    Thank you Andy for your very good questions. I became adaptive to the changes that came with covid19 restrictions, and have to increase my budget for use of telephone and virtual meetings. We had to keep engaging our ministry partners virtually for them to continue supporting our ministry, especially because our target children and families at risk were more adversely affected by the pandemic, and we had to continue supporting them. Thankfully, our ministry partners were very responsive and supportive to our course.
    There were many aspects of relational connection that were lost like: the face-to-face meeting and the emotional connection that it provides; the opportunities to meet new individual partners after the physical meetings that we normally address in partnering churches, who would normally contact me after addressing the meetings; and the opportunity to connect with many people who did not have access to technology, especially among our vulnerable communities.

  4. mm Eric Basye says:

    Thank you for your post, Mary. In light of this book, Covid, and what sounds like change for you and Henry (possibly living part-time the US), what do you foresee as the greatest blessing (and challenges) by remote work with your ministry?

  5. mm Mary Kamau says:

    Thank you Eric, that’s a good question though I must say that I will probably give a better answer when I figure out more about my remote working situation. We have developed leaders in our Kenyan office and we also have some good staff members in our US office but I realize that we have to work hard and building a culture that will support our new working arrangement.

  6. Kayli Hillebrand says:

    Hi Mary – Razzetti provides several tools for leaders to use as they navigate connection through a virtual environment at the end of each chapter. Was there one or two that you could envision using with your staff or even children as you continue to navigate connection through technology?

    • mm Mary Kamau says:

      Thank you, Kayli, for this very good question, Razzetti suggestions for the right tools to facilitate virtual connections are eye-opening for me and our ministry organization. It’s hard to zero down on two because it felt like drinking from a hose pipe, his ideas are great and very practical for us, especially because we have 32 locations in Kenya and 2 new locations coming up in Liberia which adds to the complexity of our remote work stations. I will choose the two tools to enhance our feedback systems from annual performance to regular feedback; and use open discourse over private discourse to resolve conflicts.

  7. mm Jonathan Lee says:

    Hi Mary, Thank you for your post. In your opinion, how has Covid altered the leadership structures in Christian mission organizations and the relationship with one another now?

    • mm Mary Kamau says:

      Thank You Jonathan for your good question, one of the most significant changes in the leadership structure is the necessity to lead people in the office space and in remote locations where the traditional solution fit no longer applies and where control over people because of proximity is no longer the case. Leadership has changed from control to facilitating people; trust of employees to work remotely has taken a higher level; ensuring that no one is left behind in crucial conversations; and emphasis on communication and documentation over the use of bullet points, inference, and use of PowerPoint presentations, to reduce conflict. Additionally mission organizations have adapted to be more responsive to the physical needs of the local communities and have appointed leaders who focus on their corporate social responsibility.

  8. Elmarie Parker says:

    Hi Mary. Thank you so very much for your post and for sharing some of the challenging journey your organization experienced during the pandemic. I’m wondering, out of the 5 steps that Razzetti outlines, which do you think you will need to focus on as you make this shift to working from the USA and relate more regularly to your staff via zoom and whatsapp?
    1. Resetting culture
    2. Reimagining a shared future
    3. Reigniting belonging
    4. Rethinking collaboration
    5. Releasing agility

    • mm Mary Kamau says:

      Thank Elmarie for your question, for me in collaboration with other leaders I believe that Resetting culture will be my first focus. Razzetti says that intentional resetting or developing culture is important rather than leaving culture to chance, he says “the culture that got you here, cannot take you there” and the hybrid organization is here to stay. He states that there is a need for mindset change. The priority for me is thus to build the right culture as a first priority.

  9. mm Denise Johnson says:

    Hi Mary! Thank you for your post. I love how you tied in Bolsinger’s book. Now that your organization requires you to spend more and more time on the other side of the world from one or the other aspect. Were there any tips in Razzetti’s book that you think may help shorten the distance between your two roles and places?

  10. mm Mary Kamau says:

    Thank you, Denise, this is a timely book that I can say with certainty is God-sent, just being able o understand the hybrid organization and the need o embrace it as “here to stay” was like a breath of new air. There is a lot to learn and this book will be going o place for the next few months I will recommend it to my team of leaders to each buy a copy and read it.

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