Blog
March 22, 2017

Three C’s of Change


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On this Whiteboard Wednesday, Dan Ackerman, Executive Leader for the Zeeland Classis of the RCA, discusses the 3 C’s for leading effective change in your congregation.

Change is part of life and we all should recognize this reality. So, the important question becomes: How do we lead that change effectively and not just let it happen to us?

The answer is to focus on three C’s:

The first C is competence. Whenever you begin to face change, whatever that change might be, as a leader it’s really important to establish what it looks like to be competent. One part of competence is having a plan. Another part of competence is understanding as much as you can about the change you are trying to lead your congregation through. Some changes are big, and other changes are small. Here is a thought to consider: Imagine you’re going on a journey, maybe a backpacking trip, and you have not backpacked before. Competence is not having a guide who’s been through the entire trail. Instead it is a person who has the skills for first aid and has some sense of how to survive in the outdoors. It feels a lot better to a first time hiker who signed up for this 4 day/40 mile hike to have someone who has that kind of experience and background.

The second C is care. Care is crucial in the sense that as we head off in our imaginary and proverbial hike, one of the things that’s going to happen is that he will face a person who is at the back of the pack. Specifically, this person may have trouble with their backpack or hasn’t hiked much. Then this person in the back may begin to disconnect and believe that this was not a good idea. But all of a sudden the competent leader shows up at their side and says, “Hey, how’s it going? What are you seeing? How’s that pack? Let me see if I can adjust that for you a bit.” And walks with the person for a while. Suddenly care becomes a key component of making it through change.

Finally there is communication. Communication is the idea that you don’t just start at the beginning and say, “Hey we are going to go for these 40 miles/4 days” and say nothing else. Instead we’re going to have a conversation as we go. We’re going to stop at an open meadows and say, “How’s it going? What are we learning? What are we seeing?” as we move on this trip together in our proverbial hike. The competent leader is the one who engages care and communication, which enhances their competency.

When we are leading effective change, it is important to understand the dynamics of the three C’s. Leading change is never easy but it will get better if you focus on the three C’s of competence, care, and communication.

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