In a recent blog entry, Will Mancini shares an insightful discussion of leading change in your church: “If you want to lead change, change the common denominator first. Think of the common denominator as the most likely, most common, source of meaning for people every day. The common denominator in your organization today is most likely ‘the how.’ By ‘the how’ I mean how I, as an individual, get things done, and how we, as an organization, get things done.
“The immediate challenge presented with this source of meaning is that ‘the how’ must change to stay viable. Therefore, we want to anchor meaning in something deeper than the ‘how.’ There are at least three alternatives: what, why and where. (What are we ultimately doing? Why do we do what we do? Where is God taking us?) Properly understood and articulated, these can and will sustain a timeless sense of shared meaning…
“Ultimately, meaning is waiting to be discovered, found, nourished and celebrated in the what, the why and the where of the organization, not the how. Make no mistake, when vision is clear, people are usually more than glad to change ‘the how.’
“At the peak, Kodak had 82,000 people in Rochester and had 85 percent of the world market share in film-based photographic imaging products. Now it has 7,000 people in the city and less the 20 percent of the market share. The simple reason boils down to the problem of ‘the how’ as the common denominator. Ironically, it was the one to invent and patent digital-based photography methods; but the sheer momentum and hubris of ‘the how’– that is, making images using film–eclipsed the future of making images any other way. Rather than inventing and then leading the new day of photography, Kodak invented it, only to let others to develop the future.
“What if Kodak employees had been reminded every day:
1. Our ‘what’ or our big idea is capturing image (and nothing else).
2. Our ‘why’ is beauty, cherishing human memories and making image-capture accessible to all.
3. Our ‘where’ is doing whatever it takes in innovation and research to lead the world’s ability to capture images.”