Leading groups through times when change is required involves identifying the nature of the change required.
Often external changes that are applied when the change required is actually an internal one.
From Peter Steinke.
It is commonplace for systems to deal with both technical and adaptive problems. The latter will surely set in place high anxiety with reactive behaviours. Technical problems are external and subject to know-how; adaptive challenges are hard to define completely, and no one knows for sure how to address them. They are issues for which there has to be an internal change, such as what one values or what one expects. Without the willingness of the leader to challenge people’s ideas and behaviours, the leader will look for technical answers for adaptive issues.
Peter L. Steinke, Uproar – Calm Leadership In Anxious Times, Rowman and Littlefield, 2019, pgs 107-108.
The often used example of changing the deck chairs on the Titanic comes to mind.
Steinke provides an extended recounting of the historical situation of medical sciences resistance to the evidence that physicians washing their hands reduced the mortality rate of mothers who had just given birth. Medical science at the time resisted the adaptive challenge of admitting their previous knowledge was wrong, preferring to only countenance technical changes that allowed their existing understanding to remain in place.
Churches often think that using a data projector or choosing different songs will solve their problems without ever really engaging with the cultural ethos that has resulted in their current situation.
You get where you are because that’s the way you’ve been going, because its the way you’ve been choosing to go.
Culture change involves knowing why you’ve been making those choices, and what it will take to desire to make different ones.
Leadership can’t simply impose changes to practice without bringing the group to a self-understanding that is affirming of internal cultural and character change.