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Wisdom In The Timing And Implementation Of Change In An Established Church (via Ron Edmondson)

In a church plant (and, in a more limited way in a revitalisation) the leader has a considerable degree of discretion and control about how things are done.
With an established church, particularly those of smaller to medium size, people have a sense of ownership and partnership that means the introduction of change needs to be processed with wisdom and patience.

In concluding a post on the subject, Ron Edmondson says:

Be strategic in the implementation.

Take your time. Establish trust. Build consensus. Talk to the right people. Even compromise on minor details if necessary. Accommodate special requests if possible and if it doesn’t affect the outcome. Be political if needed.
It’s part of the process, especially in a highly structured environment. (Does that describe any churches you know?)
Structured environments shouldn’t keep you from making the right decisions involving change. They just alter the implementation process.
Knowing this difference provides freedom to visionary pastors and leaders in highly structured environments. You can make the change. You can. You’ll just have to be smarter about how and when you make them.

The only thing I’d add is don’t simply bank up trust and never get around to spending it on needed change.
Sometimes that time of patience can become the status quo that you never emerge from.

Read the whole post at Ron Edmondson.


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Patiently Nurturing Culture Change (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson offers five observations regarding culture change in a local church:
They’re pretty sensible, but can be overlooked because of enthusiasm or over-confidence.
Taking the time to get to know the church and its existing culture (in contrast to its behaviour; trying to understand why people are doing what they’re doing) is necessary and respectful.
It also provides insight that enables adaptions that help changes to be specifically suited to the location rather than just being imported because they worked somewhere else.
Edmondson’s first four:

Figure out where the culture most needs to be changed.
Figure out what is working that you can build upon.
Begin to get a vision for the future. What does it look like?
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

And his final point:

Steadfastly work the plan.
It will take longer than most leaders hope it will. The longer the present culture has been engrained the longer it will take to change it. Protect your soul during the process, take frequent periods of rest, surround yourself with some encouragers, but stick with it.
The process to get there won’t be easy, but when the culture is improved you can really start having fun again.

Read the whole post here.


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Seven Leadership Pitfalls (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson looks to his own experience and provides seven warnings for aspiring leaders.
These are all ongoing to leadership life. There’s never a time when they don’t apply.

From Edmondson’s post.

What you “settle for” eventually becomes the culture. And, then it is much more difficult to change. In fact, you’re probably settling because you’re fighting against culture now. Leadership involves challenging people beyond their current comfort level.
Mediocrity isn’t created. It’s accepted. Oh, how I’ve learned this one the hard way. People will be average if you allow them to be. It’s easier. In most jobs, they get paid the same. That’s not even to say it’s what they prefer. Most people prefer excellence, but it often takes leadership – or coaching – to pull out the best in people.
Your actions determine other people’s reactions. During stressful times the leader’s response dictates the level of stress on the team. When it’s time to celebrate, the team will seldom celebrate more than the leader. The leader sets the bar of expectations in how the team reacts to life as a team.
Don’t assume they agree because they haven’t said anything. I actually wrote about a whole chapter about this one in my book The Mythical Leader. But, silence doesn’t equate to agreement.
You’ll never get there just “thinking about it”. And, we do more of that as a team sometimes – it seems – than we do getting work done. Every good idea isn’t even something the team should do. But, if it is, there needs to be a plan. Who’s in charge? When are we doing it? And, how will we know when we are successful?
If you’re the leader, they are likely waiting on you to lead or release the right to lead. People seldom take initiative unless you lead – or unless you create the culture which gives them permission, freedom and encouragement to do so.
What the team values becomes apparent by your actions, more than your words. And, it doesn’t matter how well spoken you might be. People follow what the leader does.

Read the whole post here.


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Seven Classic New Leader Mistakes (via Ron Edmondson)

These seven classic new leader mistakes from Ron Edmondson are not about youth or age. They speak to the need for leadership growing from a relationship, and how certain aspects of being new can lead to mistaken assumptions about preparedness for change.

Here are the seven. Read the post for the explanations.
Assuming people trust you before they really do.
Bashing the past while attempting to get to the future.
Assuming nothing good was done before you got there.
Having the “they need me” complex.
Ignoring unwritten rules.
Not understanding the real power structure.
Not testing the waters before making major change.


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Leader Or Manager? (via Ron Edmondson)

Short post by Ron Edmondson on the differences between leaders and managers, the need for both, and the strain when someone naturally inclined toward one area ends up functioning in the other.

His thoughts are prompted by a book “Reviewing Leadership”, particularly this quote:

“Leadership and management are two distinct yet related systems of action. They are similar in that each involves influence as a way to move ideas forward, and both involve working with people. Both are also concerned with end results. Yet the overriding functions of leadership and management are distinct. Management is about coping with complexity – it is responsive. Leadership is about coping with change – it too is responsive, but mostly it is proactive. More chaos demands more management, and more change always demands more leadership. In general, the purpose of management is to provide order and consistency to organizations, while the primary function of leadership is to produce change and movement.”

Edmondson:

Too many times we ask good managers to be great leaders or good leaders to be great managers. The problem with being in the wrong fit is we tend to burn out more quickly when we are not able to live out our giftedness. In addition, we frustrate the people we are supposed to be leading or managing and ultimately we keep the organization from being the best it can be.

Read his whole post here.


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Aspiring To Effectiveness In Leadership (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson lists seven characteristics of growing and effective leaders.
The mission Jesus has given us demands leaders strive into all these areas.

The list.

  1. Humility. Great leaders are willing to surrender “their” way when it’s not the best way. They realize and appreciate the strength of a team.
  2. Intentionality. Great leaders continue to learn. They have mentors. They read. They continue their education through conferences or school. They know they can’t help others grow if they aren’t personally growing.
  3. Compassion. Great leaders consider the needs of others ahead of their own. They care about people beyond what people can do for them personally.
  4. Integrity. Great leaders never separate character from their definition of quality or success. They know there can be nothing of real value if those who are trying to follow can’t give their respect to the leader.
  5. Passion. Great leaders have the ability to rally a team and articulate the path to victory. They can communicate to spur momentum and garner support.
  6. Vision. Great leaders see things others can’t see or, for whatever reason failed to pursue. They take people where they need to go, but may be afraid to go on their own.
  7. Strength. Great leaders have the discipline to follow through on commitments. They weather the storms of time. They are still standing firm when others are dropping out of the race.

Source.


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Caged Momentum (via Ron Edmondson)

Ron Edmondson writes about developing skill in timing the commencement of new initiatives, finding the sweet spot between moving too soon and not having enough momentum (or preparation/support) and moving too late and losing an opportunity.
He calls this process of discernment, preparing and acting ‘caged momentum’.

That’s the power of caged momentum.
This doesn’t mean you always make people wait simply to build momentum, but you shouldn’t be afraid to either. The reality is we are often quick to rush decisions. We move quickly when we have an idea. We don’t always take time to prepare for the change, bring people along, and ideally build the momentum we need before launching something new.
Since learning this principle I have intentionally used it to build momentum in our church.
Of course, there is always the balance between waiting too long you lose opportunity (which is called opportunity cost) and moving too fast you don’t build enough momentum.

Read more here.