Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ancient-Future: Ron Martoia, "Leading Change"

Wow-- mind blowing talk from Ron Martoia in the point leader breakout Leading Change.

“The biggest barrier to progress in human history has not been ignorance, but the illusion of knowing.” (Daniel Boorstin, former Librarian of Congress and author)

This idea that “we’ve got everything figured out” is incredibly dangerous. We’ve got to open to the idea that there might be ways of doing churches, ministry, and discipleship that no one has thought of yet. Most of us think that we have it all figured out. That idea causes us to have deep reservoirs of resistance to everything. (Changes to service times, what seats people are sitting in)

Enormous shifts in the church today- theological, organizational, etc.

Evolutionary Change tends to be what we think is incremental, step by step and what new change is made is somehow connected to and organically tied to what has gone before it…in other words this is change based upon the past.

Revolutionary Change is change that I will argue isn’t built on incremental changes from the past, may appear discontinuous with the past, and almost always leads to something that looks quite different from anything in yesterday…it is change from the future brought to the present.

What we think about leadership will greatly determine what we think about how to implement change

In other words, a better model of change will required an augmented view of leadership.

Different process and different endpoint will require a different kind of leader.

The Old Model of Change:

Identify and Call Out the Destination—strategically plan and cast the vision

Find the Process to Transport the Troops- get on the diffusion of innovation curve

Work the Process- slowly slug it out till you take the summit

Most people don’t want the cake baked, decorated, and delivered to them. Most people want to bring an ingredient and help you make the cake.

What kind of model of leadership does this indicate? Powerful communication, charismatic leadership, persuasion, CEO model of leadership, vision casting. Puts a ton of pressure on the leader and a lot of pressure on the people. If there’s not a lot of buy-in, there is discord among the troops.

Blind Spot in Our Leadershhip

Think about a painter….

Painting- final canvas with paint

Process- oil with palette knife or watercolor board with wet on wet technique

Source- from where does process choice and final picture emerge?

We talk a lot about the painting and the process, but we rarely talk about the source. It’s the blindspot of our leadership. If we want to see a new model of change happen, we need to talk about the source from which these things arise. And talk about them from the context of an organism of community. When asked about the source, we give the “right” religious answers: prayer, God, etc. But how do we mine that source. “Be still and know that I am God.” But what exactly does David mean, and how do we execute that? Does it mean don’t talk, stop all thoughts, etc?

Most of us have been caught in building on incremental changes from the past. That is in our blind spot. What we don’t realize is we operate within the box of yesterday because we don’t know how to do it any other way. We rarely stray very far from what we know.

How do we let people help us bake the cake, bring them into the process, and keep moving forward?

One size does not fit all. We have to become experts at context.

The blind spot is place within or around us where our intention and attention originates. It is the place from where we operate when we do something. The reason it is blind is because it is an invisible dimension of our social field of everyday experience and interactions.

When we operate from this place where the past informs and guides the next steps this is what is referred to as downloading and it is the primary way we have been taught to learn. Many of our changes in our churches then originate from downloading.

Reactive learning—when we hear something new, we first try to find our cubby-holes to fit the new information into. If what we hear doesn’t have a cubby hole, then we either open our minds to something new or immediately begin to construct our rebuttal.

These changes are therefore often 1) programmatic and therefore often unsubstantial and shallow, and 2) lack mental models

Programmatic Change? What is the alternative?

Strategies- Actions- Results

When we don’t see the results we want, then we spend a ton of time trying to tweak and adjust the strategies. However, we are finding that more strategies are NOT fixing things.

What we think about “church” is in drastic flux.

We need to discover the Hidden “P.”

Paradigm- Strategies- Actions- Results

We have a paradigm of attraction, so self-preservation keeps us adjusting strategies. What if we killed this paradigm of attraction and changed to a paradigm of incarnational? Are we about self-preservation or are we about changing the world and making disciples?

Mental Models? What are those?

The way we think things should be done. It is our view of the world run rightly. We do reactive learning the older we get so we can confirm our mental models. It is harder to adjust mental models as we get older.

What are our options?

A new definition of leadership. Let’s move away from “leadership is influence. “

The Indo-European root for lead is “leith.” The word leith literally means “the crossing of a threshold.” The crossing of a threshold most commonly associated with death.

We need a model of leadership that creates the conditions of letting go of what is back there (acknowledging its value then and honoring the role it played in God’s plan at one time) and helping people cross the threshold to a new place, new time, anew thing potentially a whole new world. We have to help things die a graceful death. We have to let go of one trapeze bar before we take hold of the other—and that is scary.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Our identity is rooted in our remembrance. By going over and over the story of their history, they had boxed God into Red Seas and manna.

If you are being constrained and contained by the way it was done yesterday, then you could be camping at an old place for a long time.

“There are ways of doing small group ministry that we have not dreamed up yet.” That must become a part of our DNA.

Our goal is to meet the future as God brings it fort and for us as leaders to start from the quiet center space that enables that direction to emerge in us first then through us and the team or congregation we are working with.

Our previous change management models have focused on the painting and the paint process but have strangely omitted the source from which the painter decided what process to use for the painting or why the image painted was the image selected.


At 7:26 PM, Blogger Elaine said...

Yeah, ron martoia is pretty mind-blowing stuff. I've sat in on 2 of his seminars and he transformed the way I view evangelism. He's got a course called 3Text. I couldn't take it the last 2 times it's been offered but I'm determined to take it next time - you should consider it - all online discussion and reading!

At 9:08 AM, Blogger ron said...

Heather a very thorough note-taking my friend. Thanks for your kind words and observations.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Thanks for the amazing talk, Ron! Really appreciated it, and I'm still trying to process it!

At 7:13 PM, Blogger JoelLewicki said...

Wow, that's a "little" bit better than the notes I took :)

I agree that the kind of change Ron is talking about is needed, I'm still trying to figure out if he's spot on with his assessment of how we get there. (the actual steps we need to take to make it happen).

Thanks for blogging this Heather!


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