The danger and lure of change is that it become the thing in itself.
There is much written about change, from "managing change" to "surviving change" to differentiating types of change (technical, adaptive, etc...). And all of that language can be helpful! But it can also imply that change is our savior. Rather, I have found that even the best teaching about change is better understood as descriptive (here's how one person/group/institution navigated change) than as prescriptive: "Here's what you must do."
Said another way, it is vital to distinguish between authentic change (what is needed) and imitative change (what worked for someone else).
To be sure, people and institutions facing change (precipitated, voluntary, unexpected, or other) are well-advised to know enough about change to board the bus in the first place. But to over-focus on the change process MAY leave some folks an expert on how to ride the bus, yet no clear indication of where they are headed or if they are even on the right bus.
I've heard it said that "leaders lead" - in other words, they know where they are headed, whether by bus, car, foot, or windswept night. All things being equal, they will do well to have "exact change," but that ends up not being the most important thing.
I keep coming back to the conviction that there are deeper and more important questions at stake, questions that do not dismiss the change process or diminish their value, but questions which ultimately tell us more about where we are and where we are heading. Again, from the "Change is Death" post:
As those created, loved, redeemed, called, and sent by God in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit...
- Who are we?
- Why are we here?
- What are we doing and why?
- To whom is our allegiance?
Change is important, to be sure. Some days it can feel like death and other days it can feel like life. But at the end of the day, change is just what you need to ride a Scottish bus. :)
The metaphor has been rolling around in my head all night since I wrote the post yesterday and it also strikes me, in the language of the metaphor, that change is what it takes to get where we are going... no more and no less. That's another way of saying what I'm trying to say: it's important, but it's not the thing itself.
- Change is Death
- Change is Life
- Can You Spare Some Change?
- Jan Edmiston: We Can Tell When You're Desperate - good description and example of authentic change vs. imitative change