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Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Blog |

The Other Side of Change

The Other Side of Change

My last post discussed a common approach to change and innovation that involves trying to shove new models and methods of doing things into the middle of old ones without reviewing the assumptions and circumstances the old models were built upon.  The result is often frustration for the leadership and dissatisfaction on opposite ends of the adoption curve.

To be fair, there is opposite, yet equally dangerous approach to implementing change and innovation that can produce comparable levels of frustration and malcontent.  In a rush to adopt the latest model, leap into the latest trend, or seize the most promising opportunity, some individuals and organizations bypass critical thinking and place themselves in a position that just doesn’t fit.  Either they neglect to take the culture of their organization (or their ‘target audience’) into account, fail to consider whether the resources at hand are adequate, or refuse to see the ripple effect the new changes will have throughout the organization.  The result is unsatisfying at best and devastating at worst.

At the most recent Leadership Network Innovation Lab I facilitated, one of the participating teams shared a strategic decision that illustrates my point.  As a part of plans to expand the internet ministry for this church, senior leadership decided to run banner ads on adult sites to try and reach users struggling with porn addiction.  The ads were surprisingly effective.  However, what the ministry leaders quickly discovered was this type of outreach was incongruent with the overall culture of their church.  It wasn’t that they viewed this as an unimportant outreach effort, but the church as a whole lacked the resources and experience to help those they were connecting with.  Funds were ill-spent, human resources were misallocated, and opportunities were being wasted.  The idea was good (after all, this is what other churches were doing with their internet ministries), but it didn’t fit their overall culture.

Have you or your organization “outrun your coverage” by rushing to implement change?  What was the impact?  How did you correct it?  What safeguards do you have in place to ensure potential change follows good process?