There are many businesses, organizations and church congregations that are like a balloon without air. They simply cannot get off the ground. They are satisfied with the way things are, even though they are sinking like a bottomless boat. What causes an organization or group of people to behave this way? Why will they not do something about their organization’s condition even as they sense disaster around the corner?
Devotion to a Dead System
What may have worked ten years ago may not work today. This is a tough pill for some people to swallow. Their comfort with the old way of doing things simply will not allow a new idea to take hold.
According to John P. Kotter in his book Leading Change, a significance amount of waste and anguish have been witnessed in many organizations in the past ten years that could have been avoided. Many “errors” have been made.
Error #1: Allowing Too Much Complacency
Error #2: Failing to Create a Sufficiently Powerful Leadership Team
Error #3: Underestimating the Power of Vision
Error #4: Failure to Communicate the Vision
Error #5: Permitting Obstacles to Block the New Vision
Error #6: Failing to Create Short-Term Wins
Error #7: Declaring Victory Too Soon
Error #8: Neglecting to Anchor Changes Firmly for Future Goals
When devotion to an “old system” is the practice of a team, this group will fail to realize that stability is not the norm of today’s culture.
Fear of Change
Life is forever changing around us. It is changing with such speed and evolution that many are having a problem keeping up.
Devotion to a dead system will kill any organization and team effort if that system is unwilling to adjust to cultural changes. This does not mean that moral convictions, beliefs, opinions, views, thoughts, persuasions, ideas, positions, stance, and articles of faith are to be thrown in the wastebasket. However, it does mean that understanding the present culture and the character of those who make up that culture are absolutely necessary.
There can be little doubt that some systems, ideas, strategies and plans are simply dead, like some languages of the paste. But for some, holding on to the past feels better than adjusting to the present even if it means death.
There are many who find more comfort in hanging on to a dead way of doing things than they do to change. C.S. Lewis put it this way,
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Change is necessary for any organization to succeed however; the loyalty to the old system is hard for some to break away from.
How can you lead a team through healthy change? This question will need to be asked many times as a group is trying to become a healthy team.