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Leadership

Let Change Change You and Your Organization

Good or bad, change happens. But when it happens, it will always provide the opportunity for you and your organization to change, grow, and transform!

Change

...For the Better

Change happens; it’s the new rule in town. Sometimes we welcome it; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, we have some control over it; sometimes, we don’t. But when change happens, it will always provide the opportunity for you and your organization to change, grow, and transform.

Change can occur in various ways, at different levels, and with different responses or
reactions.

For example:

  1. The famous Kubler-Ross Change Curve identifies the seven stages of change: shock,
    denial, frustration, depression, experiment, decision, and integration;
  2. Depending on who you read, several types of changes typically occur within a range or
    spectrum, from simple to complex, incremental to transformational, remedial to strategic,
    and personal to organizational;
  3. There are numerous models and ways to deal with and facilitate change, from the
    ADKAR model to the Leading Change/Accelerate/SurviveToThrive processes by John
    Kotter.
  4. The classic Change Adoption Curve states that 2.5% will be the innovators who
    introduce (or welcome) the change, followed by the early adopters (13.5%), early
    majority (34%), late majority (34%), laggards (13.5%), and resistors (2.5%).

What I want to address in this article is that if we want to harness, leverage, or take advantage of change, whatever it may be, and however it may come, to learn and grow from it, we need to accept the reality that on the other side of change (if we embrace it positively), we will have in fact changed ourselves. There is no going back to the way it was, or more specifically, who you were. Suppose X represents your current reality (i.e., stability), and Y represents the change you experience; the goal is not to return to X. In that case, it’s to emerge and evolve to a new stability, Z. That’s why so many people would say as we all journeyed through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not returning to normal; we are going to a “new” normal - a different version.

Here is an excellent excerpt from Master of Change (2023) by Brad Stulberg concerning this:

In the late 1980s, two researchers—one a neuroscientist, physiologist, and professor of
medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the other an interdisciplinary scholar with a
focus on biology and stress—observed an interesting phenomenon. In the vast majority of
situations, healthy systems do not rigidly resist change; rather, they adapt to it, moving forward
with grace and grit. This observation is true whether it is an entire species responding to a shift
in its habitat, an organization responding to a change in its industry, or a single individual
responding to a disorder event in her life or an ongoing process such as aging. Following
disorder, living systems crave stability, but they achieve that stability somewhere new. Peter
Sterling (the neuroscientist) and Joseph Eyer (the biologist) coined the term allostasis to describe this process. Allostasis comes from the Greek allo, which means “variable,” and stasis,
which, as you learned earlier, means “standing.” Sterling and Eyer defined allostasis as “stability
through change.”

We may be familiar with the term homeostasis. It can be defined as “the tendency of living systems to resist change in order to maintain stable, relatively constant internal environments.” If change happens, the goal of homeostasis is to return to stability, back to order - the exact order it had before (i.e., X goes through Y but goes back to X). Regarding change, we would prefer to go the homeostasis way instead of the allostasis way.  However, with many of the latest findings in the fields of psychology, biology, philosophy, and neurology, the way forward is allostasis. 

Here are some practical steps you and your team can take to develop an approach toward
change that changes you and your organization for the better.

  1. Develop an attitude and an approach to life that embraces a progress-over-order orientation. There is a place for stability and order, but by themselves, they will not bring about innovation and growth. Change is a catalyst to facilitate the progress necessary to embrace and embody. According to some research, most problems and difficulties come about as a result of resisting change. A great analogy here is that of a seed. A seed is protected by its shell, but eventually, that protection needs to be removed so that progression toward a growing plant/flower can take place; 
  2. Yes, some change that comes upon us can be downright cruel and unfortunate. Getting a cancer diagnosis or due to market dynamics, you need to cut 15% of your workforce, which neither is not pleasant at all! Yet, this happens. In situations like this, it’s all about cultivating both grace and tenacity, empathy and endurance. Pain and suffering are part of life’s journey, and as the sacred Scriptures state, “suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope - and a hope that does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:3-5); 
  3. Changes can be volatile and disruptive, and amid those changes, some degree of anchoring needs to take place. This is where your core values come into play. Having values that keep you anchored in your identity, purpose, and overall mission is critical in this journey. Without them, you will be tossed here and there by the winds and waves of changes you experience. Have you identified and established values that anchor you and yet allow for the flexibility and plasticity required to both engage and embrace change? 
  4. The 4 Ps approach distilled in Mastering Change, is a beneficial model for working with and through change:
    • Pause by labeling your emotions;
    • Process by practicing non-identification, viewing your situation with remove;
    •  Plan by self-distancing and gaining even greater perspective as you evaluate
      your options;
    • Proceed by taking micro-steps, treating each as an experiment, and adjusting as you go.

At the end of the day, it is always beneficial to consider and pray the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change the
things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

If I can be of help to you and your team to process and work through change dynamics, please
reach out to me. I would love to connect with you.

Dr. Allan Love

Dr. Allan Love

Allan has been involved in church ministry for the past 25 years in a variety of roles and settings: church planter, Pastor of Disciple Making and Adult Ministries, Executive Pastor and Coach/Consultant. Allan has experienced many transitions in ministry from a variety of different perspectives. He understands that as painful and stressful transitions can be, they have the potential to transform you more than most things can! Allan, along with his wife of 33 years, Gloria, young adult daughter, and Luna (family Lhasa Apso), lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His son serves as a pastor in Virginia Beach with his wife and daughter. Allan and his family are originally from Canada, where he earned his Master’s in Biblical Studies (Regent College) and Doctorate in Missional Leadership (Carey). Additionally, he is certified as an MBTI, CPI 260 and StratOp Practitioner, and as a Church Unique and God Dreams Navigator. He is an avid runner who loves to hang out with family and friends and is committed to serving pastors and local churches to help them to live out their unique calling.

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