“So, what do you guys think?”
Every leader has faced the silence after that question, followed by the barrage of reasons why the new idea, plan, or initiative won’t work. Whether it’s with volunteers or paid staff members, leaders engaged in organizational transformation regularly encounter doubt, fear, and resistance to the new idea.
Parts One and Two of the Blog introduced the first four principles:
Try to Understand the Opposition
Incorporate Valid Objections
Do the Right Thing and Expect Good Things to Happen
Flip the Script
As you attempt to surface doubts and get to the issues behind the issues, flipping the script is a helpful technique to employ as you talk with people. After listening to the other person’s objections, simply ask, “What would you do to solve the problem?” Don’t ask it in a snarky or condescending tone, but in a way that genuinely desires input. This question drives home the point that doing nothing is not an option, but reinforces the idea that we have to work together to find a solution.
One of the greatest issues facing pastors is the challenge of integrating multiple generations into the same church. Once a long-term member of a church I led was telling me how the “old timers” were feeling pushed aside in a youth movement. Much of his anecdotal stories were based on the narrative they had constructed, rather than the facts. Instead of arguing about each of the incidents he described, I simply flipped the script and asked a question. I asked him, “How would you go about getting the older members to be willing to make sacrifices to reach a new generation? After all, if there’s nobody to pass the baton to, we’ve wasted all of our effort.” He didn’t have an answer. But, I invited him to work together with me to find the solution. And, he said he would.
Be Willing to Take a Loss
Pastors love people. And, we want everyone to go with us to the vision that God has put in our hearts. But, put simply, not everyone is up for the trip.
David Grissom, chairman of Mayfair Capital said this, “You owe it to the organization to always listen to those people and to their point of view, because guess what? They may be right. So you can’t be dismissive of that. But what I’ve found is that there tends to be a pattern. The naysayers tend to be the naysayers, and pretty soon you say to yourself as you’re coming up with anew initiative, ‘I know Ted’s not going to like this.’ You can debate it and have an open and clear discussion, but at the end of the day, a decision has to be made. And when you finally make a decision, you say to the naysayers, ‘The train is getting ready to leave the station and I really hope you’re on it.’ Now, what’s left unsaid is, if they’re not on it, they might be happier somewhere else.”
There are times when the leader must be willing to lose a team member or a congregational member to move in the new direction, but if you walk through the first steps, the last step won’t be taken nearly as often.
For additional redemptive leadership resources, CLICK HERE.