It’s been said that the only ones who love change are babies with dirty diapers.  While that may not always be true, we know that it is often the case. Granted, some people really like change. They move their furniture around, they change their hair and even trade in their cars regularly. But one area where almost all of us resist change is at work. If someone changes our job description or our direct reports or even who we report to it “moves our cheese” as Spencer Johnson wrote about in his management masterpiece “Who moved my cheese.”

We have 5 staff values for our campuses… and I’ve written about each of them.

We keep it real.

We work as a team.

We assume the best.

We take care of ourselves.

And then there is the final one… We are open to change.

This may be the toughest one for each of us.  And to be honest, whether you are on our staff or not… it can be tough for most of us.  So here are 3 questions to ask every time you face changes at work… that can help you go find your cheese when it’s been moved.

Why am I resistant?

Got to give credit to Larry Osborne for this one.  But what tends to happen is when we are faced with change, we get mad, we get defensive, and then we start throwing around strong terms – like “it’s sinful to do this” or “they have an ego trip” or “they don’t know what they are doing.”  I get it, I’ve been there. But… often the reason we are upset is feeling a loss. We’ve lost power, or position, or preference. Remember, anger is the second emotion. What is the first? And for me, it’s often a feeling of loss.

Take music in church.  Someone changes the music style and people claim the new music is sinful, evil, or not spiritual enough.  The real problem is someone lost their preference.

Think about the office.  You get a new boss and you get mad.  Why didn’t I get that job? Odds are you may not have wanted that job, but you think I should probably have it due to my age and stage of life.  You lost position.

Start by asking… why am I upset… really?  Often it is a loss. Once you identify that, then you are ready to move to the second question.

Who do I need to talk to?

Most of us when faced with a frustrating change we talk to everyone BUT the right person.  That is called gossip, slander or bitterness. The only person you should talk to is the person who can do something about it.  In other words, not your followers on Twitter.

If you’ve lost position, talk to the boss who made the decision.

If you’ve lost power, maybe you want to talk to a counselor or trusted friend about how to cope.

If you’ve lost preference, maybe you talk to God about him helping you see the good.

Once you’ve determined the person to talk to…. Now you’re ready for the final question.

Help me understand how this helps our mission?

Just saying “Help me understand” is often not enough.  That usually means we want to know how it helps ME… or hurts ME.  But when you ask “How does this help our mission” now we all have a common goal.  A follow up might be “when do expect to see results?” This can give you something to watch for and assist with.

As Andy Stanley says, “Loyalty publicly allows you to leverage privately.”  If you can find the good in a decision and you can support it publicly, you’ll be able to give feedback privately.  My experience in this is either I begin to support the change… or I help make a change.


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