Leading In Transition

A very wise man once said to me, “The only constant in our lives is change.” 

His words came at an opportune time during the midst of a transition in my department at work. I’m still fairly new to my position, and as soon as I began to feel settled, I will now need to adjust to a new system, ultimately one that would lead to a great new season for our  team. 

In addition to this, I had just moved to an entirely unfamiliar neighborhood to be closer to work. To be honest, my life felt a little displaced. This meant that everything had to take on some form of change. Even the lifegroup that I was leading would need to change meeting locations, and as a result, some people would probably stop attending. 

All this talk of change reminds me that settled times are always great. They provide a sort of shelter from constant change. These times give us a chance to catch our breath. They were never meant to be permanent, however. 

In the Psalm 84, we find this wisdom:

 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka (tears),

    they make it a place of springs;

    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,

    till each appears before God in Zion.

"When we know that change is an inevitable part of everything we devote ourselves to, we can navigate it well."

The Psalmist says that we are blessed when we set our hearts on pilgrimage. When we know that change is an inevitable part of everything we devote ourselves to, we can navigate it well. This perspective also help us lead others through change too. When leading through a transition or a time of change, here’s a couple important things to remember: 

Hold tightly to values, hold loosely to methods

In times of change, it can be disorienting on a professional and personal level. Things that worked great for a long time may need to be go out to make way for the new. When how you do things is changing, hold tightly to the why, not the how. What is most important to you? What do you seek to accomplish, not matter what it takes? 

Keep communication constant and open.

At the onset of change, it can be easy to want to scatter. A new lifegroup leader might make those attending want to look elsewhere. It might make people want to hold dearly onto what used to be. Talking with your team or group will help keep everyone tracking together, as well as minimize anxiety caused by unknowns.

Focus on people, not systems.

Change can involve a lot of gutting out old systems, old ways of doing things, and rebuilding. Sometimes in the midst of transition, people get lost in the shuffle. Take time to make sure those you are leading aren’t falling in between the cracks. After all, these will be the ones responsible for implementing and living in the new on the other side of the change. 

Know who your real Constant is.

Just like Psalm 84 says, those who find strength in the Lord are to be considered blessed. Even if our world is flipped on its head, there is always one who is always consistent, and a constant source of strength. While people may come and go, and structures fall and rebuild again and again, God is always faithful, always near, and a constant reliable guide through any transition life can throw at you.