Sometimes the hardest time, and yet perhaps the most important time, to make a change is when you are starting to feel really comfortable. Your team is firmly in place, you are making progress in extending your mission reach . . . sure you have the typical day-to-day drama, but overall it feels like pretty smooth sailing . . . why in the world would you want to change that?
Quite simply, because change is inevitable. Either you make it, or someone else will make it for you. Somehow over the years, change has gotten a bad rap. Sure it is uncomfortable for a period of time, but if you as a leader have focused your energy on building a clear vision and strong organizational capacity, change is what will lead your organization to exciting new chapters.
Over the course of the last year, we have had several mid and senior level leaders move on to other pursuits, or shift their roles within the agency. Some had the opportunity to fulfill long-term ambitions . . . going into full-time ministry, moving across the country to be closer to family, taking early retirement . . . others were asked to take on a new challenge within the organization to maximize their gifts and graces and further extend our mission reach. In talking to one of these individuals, she captured what I think at least some of our staff were feeling when she said, “It feels like a page is turning for the organization.” She is right, and that’s not a bad thing. The only way to move through a story is to turn the page. No matter how good one particular passage feels, the story ends if you aren’t willing to look towards what comes next.
The amazing thing is, the next page may be even better. Just as a plotline builds over time, I believe our success today is a result of the solid foundation set by those who came before us. And when you turn the page, the “characters” you have been developing have the chance to grow and expand their impact in new and exciting ways. You will never know what these emerging leaders could bring to your organization if they aren’t given the room to blossom.
Will their story line look exactly like the leaders several pages back? Of course not. But the challenges — the twists and turns in the plot — you face today may require a different type of leader than was needed in the last chapter. Not better or worse, just different.
There’s an incredible story waiting to unfold, but it only happens when you aren’t afraid to turn the page.