According to John Kotter there are four behaviors that commonly stop the launch of needed change. "The first is complacency, driven by false pride or arrogance. A second is immobilization, self-protection, a sort of hiding in the closet, driven by fear or panic. Another is you-can’t-make-me-move deviance, driven by anger. The last is a very pessimistic attitude that leads to constant hesitation (The Heart of Change, page 17)."
I’ve been thinking about New Orleans and Katrina this week. Who hasn’t? Among the things I’m wondering is how the officials, both local and national, could have watched the huricane coming and not been more proactive. What prevented them from acting? Were they motivated by false pride? I don’t think so. Maybe fear or panic? It doesn’t seem like that would motivate the officials. And I don’t think they were motivated by the you-can’t-make-me-move deviance. So what that leaves is a very pessimistic attitude that leads to constant hesitation. And I can buy that explanation. With all that they had to deal with, I can see how they were frozen with hesitation as the huricane began to cross the gulf. It’s unacceptable. But I can see how it must be the explanation.
Watching the video of the bus barn with hundreds of submerged yellow school busses I had to wonder what they were thinking when they didn’t have them gassed up and ready to roll…before the storm came? Really, the questions are too numerous to even list.
At the same time I’m thinking about New Orleans and Katrina as a metaphor for how it really is in the ministries and organizations we lead. If we were to fire up the storm watch tracking software right now, or even step outside onto the deck, we could see approaching storms. Actually, some of us are in the middle of the huricane coming ashore! The problem so often is that we’re too busy to push pause on what we’re wrapped up in and take a serious look at the radar. Whether it’s an outdated worship style that no longer connects or an ineffective program that needs to be eliminated, we’re often too busy debating the mundane while the storm of the century closes in on our shoreline.
And the question is, which of the behaviors that commonly stop the launch of needed change is keeping us from doing what we must do? I have an idea. Do you?