A man celebrating his hundredth birthday was interviewed by a reporter. The reporter said, “I bet you have seen a lot of change in your life!“The man replied, “Yes, and I have been against everyone of them!”
In the cartoon above, could the people be resisting the change simply because they do not understand the purpose of the wheel or perhaps because they were not involved in the process or could it be that they like things just the way they were? Perhaps the answer is all three or even more. Either way change has got to be managed but before doing so it’s important to understand ‘why’ people resist change in order to develop a strategy that help people in the process of change.
John Maxwell identified nine reasons people use to resist change
- Misunderstanding. When people do not understand why they should change, they will work to oppose it.
- Lack of ownership. Church members who are not involved in the change process, they resist any new thing being pushed on them.
- Habit patterns. Routine makes people comfortable. Since many people are habit prone anything that threatens their habits, they resist.
- Change is not worth the price. Change is often costly. People often want to get something in exchange for their sacrifice. The reward for changing may appear too small in comparison.
- Losing security, money or control. People resist change when they are threatened with he loss of something that is valuable to them.
- Satisfaction factor. People are simply satisfied with the old ways and don’t want to change.
- Negative attitude toward change in general. Some people’s thought process is based on the idea that NOTHING should be changed.
- Lack of respect for leader. Unless followers trust the leaders, they will feel uncomfortable with change and will fight against it.
- Tradition. People’s attitude is, “We’ve never done it that way before.”
As you read the above reasons why people resist change, can you now understand how one might go about devising a strategy for change? Not managing change effectively will lead to undo stress and unhappy people and certainly delayed projects.
As you look to introducing new ideas in your church consider this list before introducing your new concept or idea. For some of the items, they will be harder to manage such as #’s 6, 7, & 9; however others are more manageable.. According to John Maxwell, it takes more than a good attitude and desire to effect change. There MUST be a good strategy for change.
What are some of the strategies you use in managing change as you introduce new ideas in your church?