The Hardest Work There Is

It’s the work of making far-reaching change in long-established organizations.

One of my dream jobs would be a change architect. I’ve been fortunate to be able to practice change in several different venues – from family life to church staff positions to my current consultant role. Each one brings something different to the table, and each one has been instructive for the next one.

As I’ve often said to churches I work with, change is a constant reality. It’s not meant to be an oxymoron, but some would see it that way. Change is a matter of life – biological (while you are reading this tens of thousands of cells have been created in your body) to our physical world (the season of fall is here) to organizational (restructuring, new plans, etc).

We are constantly undergoing transformation in all areas of our existence.  To that end, a few comments from William Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of the book “Practically Radical” are worth repeating.

Five Truths of Organizational Transformation

  1. Most organizations in most fields suffer from a kind of tunnel vision, which makes it hard to envision a more positive future. The first challenge of change is originality – for leaders to see their organization and its problems as if they’ve never seen them before. with new eyes, to develop a distinctive point of view on how to solve them.
  2. Most leaders see things the same way everyone else sees them because they look for ideas in the same places everyone else looks for them. Why do you want to look at your competition and develop benchmarks for comparison? Instead, learn from innovators outside your field as a way to shake things up.
  3. In troubled organizations rich with tradition and success, history can be a curse – and a blessing. The challenge is to break from the past without disavowing it. The most effective leaders don’t disavow the past – they reinterpret what’s come before to develop a line of sight into what comes next.
  4. The job of the change agent is not just to surface high-minded ideas. It is to summon a sense of urgency inside and outside the organization, and to turn that urgency into action. The opposite of urgency is complacency, and complacent individuals, unfortunately, see themselves as behaving quite rationally.
  5. In an environment that never stops changing, change agents can never stop learning. The best leaders, regardless of their field, experience, or personal style, are insatiable learners.

Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.

 – Albert Einstein

If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you’ve every got.

– Unknown Texas Genius

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves for the hard work of change in front of you?


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