有效地領導人們走過變遷

By Robert J. Tamasy

有些人不喜歡任何種類的改變。干擾他們的現狀使他們非常不安。對我而言,改變是好的--只要是照我的方式改。但就像許多人一樣,當我對改變的實施沒什麼影響力時,我就抗拒它。身為所謂「嬰兒潮」前段班的一員,目前社會變遷的腳步不斷地讓我感到驚奇。最近我在一家電子產品零售店觀察到科技如何影響音樂和影音媒體的行銷與販售。網路似乎已經改變了一切。

那只是一個小小的例子。實際上每個行業都感受到社會和科技變遷的影響力,從如何從事經營活動到如何作產品和服務的銷售展示。這造成領袖面對相當的挑戰,因為他必須確定即時且有效地作出必要的改變。

作家鮑伯.卜睿納和瑞恩.蒲瑞察(Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard)在他們合著《耶穌的領導學》一書中作了這樣的觀察:「領袖需要在舊的情境中了解新的事物…一個領袖必須知道什麼事情正在發生。他/她必須能夠清楚地說出為何新的方法比較好。真正能創新的領袖總是會被那些堅持用舊方法做事的人挑戰。」

我記得在80年代中期,一位好朋友艾博特送我一台桌上型電腦。他是一家電腦銷售公司的老闆,有一天問我:「鮑伯,你有沒有電腦?」當我告訴他我沒有時,我心裡想著:「我為什麼要一台電腦?我的電動打字機已經很完美了。」然而,我的朋友很堅持,就送了一台二手的麥金塔(Macintosh)電腦給我。與今天的電腦比起來,那台電腦簡直就像史前文物,但當時那台電腦使我在作者與編輯的工作上有了革命性的改變。它真是改變了我的生活。很感謝我的朋友說服我躍入電腦科技的新世界。

雖然聖經是經過幾千年才編纂而成,但它真是一本有關改變的書--不論是社會或靈性上的改變。以下是聖經談到面對改變的一些原則:

知道什麼事正在發生。一個真正的領袖不僅專注於現在和盈虧,也能預料將來會發生什麼事,並知道如何作出適當的回應。在非常不確定的時候,古代的以色列人能夠有「以薩迦支派,有二百族長都通達時務,知道以色列人所當行的」(歷代志上12章32節)。

立下值得別人效法的典範。幾年前我的一位主管常說:「我絕不會要求任何人去做我不願意做的事。」所以在接受改變時,當下屬看到他們的領袖也迎向改變的過程,他們就比較可能跟著做。「你們在我身上所學習的,所領受的,所聽見的,所看見的,這些事你們都要去行」(腓立比書4章9節)。

尋求回饋意見會使改革能有效地實施。被改變最直接影響的人常常最適合來決定如何作改變。不尋求建議和意見就逕行改革可能會造成災難--或者至少阻礙改革的過程。「無智謀,民就敗落;謀士多,人便安居」(箴言11章14節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。

省思 / 討論題目
你最近經歷過最重大的改變是什麼? 為何有時改變被視為一種威脅?你自己曾經這麼覺得嗎?若是,請描述那情況,以及你--或你的同事如何回應。 當重要的改變是必要的時候,你曾看過領袖們何執行改變?他們的領導對促進改變的程序是幫助或是阻礙? 在你看來,一個領袖在促進必需的改變時,最重要的步驟是什麼?若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份,請看以下經文:箴言12章15節,15章22節,19章20節,28章2節;馬太福音9章16-17節;哥林多後書5章17節;啟示錄21章5節

EFFECTIVELY LEADING THROUGH CHANGE
By Robert J. Tamasy

Some people dislike change of any kind. Disrupting their sense of the status quo is very unsettling. For me, change is good – as long as it happens on my terms. But like many people, I feel resistant toward change when I have little or no influence on its implementation. Being an older member of what is termed the “Baby Boomer generation,” the current pace of change in our society never ceases to amaze me. Recently I was in an electronics retail store and observed how much technology has affected how music and video media are marketed and sold. Online streaming seems to have changed everything.

That is just one small example. Virtually every business has felt the impact of both social and technological changes, ranging from how operational activities are conducted to how sales presentations are made to the kinds of products and services being offered. This creates considerable challenges for the leader who must ensure necessary changes are put in place in a timely and effective manner.

In their book, Leadership Lessons of Jesus, authors Bob Briner and Ray Pritchard made this observation: “Leadership requires an understanding of newness in the context of the old…a leader must know what is going on. He or she must also be able to articulate why the new way is better. Truly innovative leaders will always be challenged by those who protect the old ways of doing things.”

I remember in the mid-“80s when a good friend gave me my first desktop computer for work. The owner of a computer sales company, one day Albert asked, “Bob, do you have a computer?” When I told him I did not, I immediately thought to myself, “Why would I want a computer? My electric typewriter works perfectly well.” My friend insisted, however, and shipped a used Macintosh computer to me. That machine would seem hopelessly prehistoric compared to computers today, but at the time it revolutionized the way I worked as a writer and editor. It was life-changing. Thankfully, my friend persuaded me to make the leap into the then-new world of computer technology.

Despite being compiled over thousands of years, the Bible truly is a book about change – social as well as spiritual. Here are some principles it presents about dealing with change:

Know what is going on. A true leader focuses not only on the present and the bottom line, but also anticipates what may be happening in the future and how to respond accordingly. During a time of great uncertainty, the ancient Israelites were able to turn to “men from Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Set an example worth following. One supervisor I had years ago often said, “I will never ask anyone to do something I would not be willing to do.” So in accepting change, staff members are more likely to respond favorably when they see their leader navigating the change process as well. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Seek feedback to implement changes effectively. Often people most directly affected by changes are ideally suited for determining how best to implement them. To impose changes without asking for suggestions and comments can prove disastrous – or at least impede the change process. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What is the most significant change you have been experiencing of late? Why is change sometimes viewed as a threat? Have you ever felt that way yourself? If so, describe the circumstances and how you – or individuals you worked with – responded. When important changes are necessary, how have you seen leaders undertake the task of seeing those changes implemented? Has their leadership been helpful – or a hindrance – in advancing the change process? Explain your answer. In your opinion, what is the most important step a leader must take in facilitating needed changes?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions from the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 12:15, 15:22, 19:20, 28:2; Matthew 9:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5

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