Friday, February 1, 2013

Laggards in churches and ministry organizations

Laggards, those who will resist change of any kind are found in every congregation and every organization. They are highly resistant to change (they are traditional - they like the way it is and always has been). My friend Larry Osborne from North Coast Church in Vista, California calls these folks "squeaky wheels."

Laggards are usually a small minority (perhaps 16 percent) that cause a whole lot of heartburn for leaders for one reason: They can have very loud voices and cannot be convinced.

They are the individuals who speak the most and the loudest and are often the most negative. Because they are loud, others in your congregation or organization may wrongly assume that their view is held by many.

Leaders often spend an inordinate amount of time trying to placate the squeaky wheels. Someone has said that 80 percent of our time is often spent trying to keep 20 percent of our organization happy. It is not a wise use of our energy.

Think about that! No matter how much time you spend trying to convince the squeaky wheels, you will not be successful. They are deeply change resistant. You are wasting your time, because they will always find something to squeak about. They are not bad folks, they are simply wired to resist change.

We would be better off allowing squeaky wheels to squeak and work to convince the other folks in the organization who can be moved, than to waste precious time and energy trying to convince folks who will not be convinced. Love them, listen to them, and don't assume that they speak for the majority. Usually they do not.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about the simple fact that people that challenge a movement, change, or ideas are being responsible. Sometimes those that don't challenge or respond to the ideas of others and instead just follow the crowd....these can be called lemmings. Strong leaders and good decision makers usually embrace discourse. It provides them an opportunity to engage in deeper dialogue. It is my opinion that the tendency to appeal to the widest audience has translated into the oversimplification of complex ideas. Perhaps embracing your brothers and sisters that feel differently than you is the answer. You just might learn something!!

T.J. Addington said...

Either my friend did not read the post carefully or just proved my point. The blog was not about the inability to disagree but how people respond to change. Those who resist change at all costs are indeed laggards on the change scale. T.J.