change

The Truth of Who You Really Are

The Truth of Who You Really Are

A new and improved “you” comes quickly when you accept who you are now.
It seems that many Christians have opted to climb aboard the “Discontentment Train". And as you know, once it gets going, it’s hard to stop a train. The most detrimental downside of our aspirations to become a better Christian is the disease of ignoring the value of who we are in Christ… right now.

The Divine Situation Analysis

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The  Lord be with you all.       - 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (ESV)

How do you meet the needs of your market?  What are the internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats impacting your business?

These questions are generally addressed in the section of your business plan called the situation analysis.  This section is also sometimes referred to as the situation assessment, market analysis, competitive analysis, or industry outlook.  It is the part of your business plan that includes your qualitative and quantitative research.

I have had the pleasure of conducting executive leadership programs for many Convene teams around the country and one of my most requested sessions is on the topic of “Market Analysis: Principles and Tools for Driving Business Results” where I share Biblical insights, practical tools, real-life business cases to help Convene members take their businesses to a Higher level of   excellence.

Keeping Performance Metrics in the Proper Perspective

Wall Street analysts, industry experts, business consultants, economic reports, market studies, information technology (IT) systems, and corporate decision-support models and systems serve as critical resources for business analysis and assessment.  They are all valid and extremely useful for supporting our business plans and positioning our companies for success. But they are inferior to God. They should be consulted as secondary resources that are to be leveraged after we have first consulted God for His divine insights into our careers and commercial endeavors.

Jesus reinforces the importance of this approach when He prays on our behalf to God:

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth  (John 17:15-17, NASB).

This means that you should not ignore the excellent resources and productive platforms and protocols of the business world, but you must realize that the truth of your current business situation must be revealed by God and your future business ventures must be sanctified by Him. Remember, as His ambassadors, our goal is to transcend from basic information to divine revelation and transformation.

Biblical Principles for Market Analysis

I encourage you to keep the following principles when focused on meeting market needs:

  • God is the Supreme Analyst and Sovereign Forecaster (Numbers 13:1-2)
  • God ordained seasons in business (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  • He may be doing a New Thing through you (Isaiah 43:19)
  • You have no real competitors (Isaiah 14:27; James 4:2)
  • The battle is not yours (2 Chronicles 20:15)

I go into much more detail in my book, Revelations in Business.  But know that God desires for us to seek Him, pray, study, and obey His Word using spiritual discernment first and conventional data sources secondarily as we seek to meet market needs.  By taking this approach, we are able to accurately evaluate and forecast our commercial endeavors because we are initiating the process by incorporating the perfect wisdom and guidance that come only from God.

While the Business World Is Ever Changing, God Remains the Same

As Christian business leaders, we have to remind ourselves that although the business world is ever changing, God and His Word are not. He remains the same and serves as the one constant in our constantly changing lives. God declares: “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6; Exodus 3:14).

Not only does God remain steady and stable for us, but so does His Son. Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV). Because God and His Son do not change, we must continually seek their wisdom and direction in planning for imminent marketplace changes.


Yellowstone & Business

At a recent One2One meeting with a long-time Convene member, Steve—a man with a great heart for God, family and business—shared about a recent vacation to Yellowstone National Park with his extended family (wife, 4 daughters with husbands, and grandchildren). He described the park as a sanctuary of geothermal activity, forests, mountains and wildlife in an ever-evolving landscape. Steve was evidently moved in spirit by this experience. Steve described Yellowstone in this way:

  • “The environment is constantly changing”
  • “Only the strong survive”
  • “God’s hand is so evident there”

My immediate reaction was to ask, “How is that like your business environment?”

For certain, in our information-deluged and technology-advancing world, the environment is constantly changing. How does your business keep up with the pace? Our Convene team has a saying, “What got you here, won’t take you there”.

For certain, in our still-precarious economic environment, the strong survive by great leadership and team building, innovation and operational efficiency. How do you hone your leadership skills?

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”—Proverbs 27:17.

For certain, God’s hand is active in your business. How do you stay focused on God’s intent for your company and your stewardship thereof? Convene helps to impel your decisions through the filters of Kingdom Purpose, Vision and Values.

Could your business have a legacy like Yellowstone?

Let us not give up meeting together…but continue to encourage one another”. Hebrews 10:25

Changing the Landscape

Recently driving to our family vacation in Colorado I was struck by a virtual sea of wind turbines that dotted the horizon for miles along the panhandle highways of Texas. Having grown up in Texas it occurred to me how much these three armed giants have changed our landscape! Traveling these highways as a boy we saw an occasion tumbleweed, some grazing cattle and a lot of nothing! What struck me as I marveled at the spinning rotors was the thought, isn’t that what we are called to do as Christian Leaders and that is to change the landscape? What was even more remarkable was that a cost of over $1,000,000 each, how many of them stood idol, not really doing what they were made for.

As Christian leaders we understand the ultimate price that Christ paid on the cross and that cannot be measured in dollars. Our calling is to make a difference in the market place, to make a difference….and change the landscape! Are you up to the call? How do you measure up?

As the parallels continued I thought about what these turbines are designed for and that is providing power to millions of households and business throughout the land. As Christian Leaders we are called to not only share the saving power of Jesus but be transformed!

Romans 12:2 NIV says….Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is ---his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So the question is, how are you changing the landscape? Are you empowered by the Holy Spirit and how is that power impacting your leadership? Here are 10 simple reminders:

  1. Share your vision
  2. Live your values
  3. Lead with compassion
  4. Do what right for your people
  5. Serve others
  6. Lead by example
  7. Develop others
  8. Invest in yourself
  9. Be Salt & Light
  10. Pray daily for your team

Keep in mind on a wind turbine that the rotors spin to produce the power. In your life your three sources of power are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt. May you lead in that power every day!

Organizational Change: Leadership Lessons from Rocky Balboa (Part 2)

Continued from Organizational Change: Leadership Lessons from Rocky Balboa (Part 1)

Change

Cognitive Restructuring

The recognition for the need to change only makes the change process possible. The “change” itself is yet another process. Schein calls the process “cognitive restructuring,” which may also be called “reframing” of the new information or new reality. He indicates that this process may result from 1) a re-definition of the environment or task or function that requires change; 2) a broadening of the change target under consideration; or 3) a changing of the standards on which performance may be measured.

In Rocky’s case his prior success was as a brawler not a boxer. His future success would require a redefinition of his role, which would be the subject of change. Rocky’s change would also require him to fundamentally adjust his overall strategy. Historically, Rocky’s success was a result of his sheer will and physical ability to “go the distance” of twelve full rounds. To be successful in recapturing the title, a new training approach and strategy would strive for effectiveness in six rounds or less, not his normal twelve. Finally, Rocky would have to redefine what a successful performance meant for him. In his first championship fight he was satisfied to “go the distance” whether he won or lost. When he lost his championship to Clubber Lang, in only three rounds, the loss devastated his self-esteem. Now, as the challenger, although winning back the championship was the goal, giving it his best shot, with no excuses and no setups, was his new measure of optimal performance. Schein suggests that this process of cognitive restructuring is fundamental to effecting change that lasts.

Identification with a role model

Schein states that the processing of this new information, which makes change possible, is the result of one of two processes: 1) learning through identification with some available positive or negative role model, or 2) trial and error process of scanning the environment for new concepts. Many organizations requiring change use a role model through the application of best practices, such as Value-based Management, Total Quality Management or Six-Sigma for example, or engage consultants experienced in the required field of expertise. The use of a role model can help walk an organization through the change process. Rocky, fortunately, had such a role model in Apollo Creed. Apollo was a boxer, not a brawler. He utilized finesse as opposed to sheer power. He knew how to train Rocky to effect “change” in his technique, strategy, conditioning, and mindset to defeat the physically stronger opponent and regain the title.

Scanning

An alternative to the use of the role model is environmental scanning in order to identify possible solutions to the organization’s problem. Schein suggests that possibly the best and most stable solutions for change may be those insights that are discovered or created by the organization’s members themselves. The use of role models may be more efficient, but internally generated change may provide more lasting results. Although Rocky had an appropriate role model in Apollo, Rocky’s training team reviewed films of Clubber Lang’s previous fights in search of any weaknesses or tendencies that would provide Rocky an opportunity for success. This scanning identified the fact that all of Lang’s victories were early knockouts resulting from his ferocious all-out physical attacks; he was never tested beyond three or four rounds. The necessary change would be to resist going toe-to-toe in a slugfest, as was Rocky’s typical approach, and instead defend Lang’s attack with finesse, letting the brawler expend his energy and strength.

Argryis’ Intervention Theory suggests a second requirement for change to be effective, that being free, informed choice. Rocky’s trainer, Apollo Creed, had intervened providing Rocky with valid and useful information needed to assess the probability of recapturing the title and the changes that Rocky would have to make. But, as Argyris’ theory points out, it is only with Rocky’s free, informed choice to do so can he initiate the required changes.

Refreeze

In Kurt Lewin’s model the final stage is “refreeze.” In this stage, the new reality has been accepted as a result of the unfreeze stage, change targets have been identified, and actions are initiated to make the changes and make them permanent. This stage cannot be successfully accomplished unless the organization has successfully and completely navigated the preceding two. Likewise, Argyris’ Intervention Theory suggests that for change to be successful and permanent the final requirement is total commitment to the new course of action. Once Rocky accepted his new reality and understood the need for and degree of change required, and felt psychologically safe in doing so, he was ready to freeze the required changes in place. He made the personal, total commitment to change.

To complete the “refreeze” stage Apollo took Rocky to the root of his own personal championship quest: the sweaty gym in east LA where fighters’ dreams were born. There Rocky’s trainers changed his training routine. Gone were the days of long endurance runs through the streets of Philly; replaced by laps in a pool and sprints in the sand. Gone were the power lifts and body-bag sessions; replaced with the speed-bag and sparring with welterweights. Rocky’s training and preparation for this new reality were completely different than that which he had ever employed before. When he entered the ring for his rematch with Clubber Lang to regain the heavyweight championship of the world, he was a completely different fighter. As the ringside commentator remarked, “he looks like a middleweight.” The 220 pound brawler, who previously relied on brute force and “going the distance” was now a 180 pound boxer relying on speed and finesse. The end result: a second round knockout and the regaining of his championship.

Organizational Change

Kurt Lewin’s unfreeze-change-refreeze model and Chris Argyris’ Intervention Theory provide organizations with not only a sound theoretical understanding of the change process, but practical models for change implementation. The stages are sequential and each is invaluable in effecting long-lived change. Many organizations today are experiencing the boxing equivalent to a standing eight count: they’ve been pummeled by the reality of a rapidly changing environment, yet they’re still on their feet, bloodied but still in the game. These organizations, and others that may be fortunate enough to recognize the need for change before the pain gets too great, are well advised to consider the actions of Rocky and his leadership team and make the necessary changes to regain the championship and dish out some pain of their own. For as Apollo Creed adroitly stated, “There is no tomorrow.”