The Art of Addition

Leaders are faced with unique challenges each time they begin a new position with a new ministry or organization.  They have to factor in crucial elements like the history of the organization, the make-up of the members and their personalities, the resources that are available or within reach, and the direction which they feel compelled to pursue with their team.

One of the guarantees that can be found in these situations is the prospect of change.  The very act of introducing a new leader is change in itself, especially if you’re hiring from outside instead of promoting within.  Nobody really likes change, I’ve mentioned that before.  We might say that we like change but actually we like change as long as it doesn’t affect things that are important to us.

That’s where the Art of Addition comes into place.  No leader should make changes by subtraction only; changes should be made by addition and then subtraction.  If you want to change an element of your organization you will need to do these things:

  1. Sell the idea to your team why the change is necessary and get their support.  The reasons for why you can’t live with the old have to be more compelling than the classic arguments of “But why can’t we stick with what’s already familiar and comfortable?”  Without your team’s support, specifically key members of your team, you will be hard-pressed to make the changes you suggested.
  2. Introduce a new element in place of the old that is better than its predecessor.  Show why it’s a better fit or solution than what’s already there.
  3. Open yourself up for any questions that your team members might want to ask and be willing to make time for them.  Be prepared for push-back and discussion.  By the way, if you find yourself quick to be defensive or searching for answers then you probably need to convince yourself first before you continue trying to sell the idea to your team.
  4. When it comes time to change, be prepared for a longer transition than you might expect.  Change takes time, that’s a fact of team building.

In change management the art of addition is one of the most important arts for long-term success throughout change.  Don’t short-cut the change just because you have an agenda to complete.  When it comes to change take your time and make change an art form that requires your best effort and focused attention.

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