How To Keep COG Transition From Being Disruptive

Phil Cooke distills organizational transition lessons for us from Circuit City’s transition route. He relied on an article from the Wall Street Journal. They are noteworthy for where we are as an orgnization. His 5 notes were:

  • Listen to employees. The best strategies come from the bottom up, not the top down.
  • Refresh management. Different stages of a turnaround require different skill sets.
  • Embrace your heritage. Play to and upgrade your company’s historic strengths.
  • Protect the future. A CEO must make decisions that protect the comany after a turnaround.
  • Stay the course. There will be bumps along the way; stay focused on the big picture.

Read the original Wall Street article and Phil Cooke’s article tying it into church transition. Are these accurate? Is something missing? What would you add?

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2 Responses

  1. Great points here.. I think one of the biggest things missing in most organizations, and the COG is improving on this, is listening to employees.
    It’s an ego problem. Upper management thinks they have all the answers, but they don’t.
    If you leave that out, and only do the other four, you get maintenance mode.
    But even at that, listening to employees isn’t enough. They must be willing to act.

  2. I think the first two points: (1) Listening to employees and (2) Refresh Management are the two that need to be most addressed at this point.

    In regards to listening to employees I agree with Brandon’s assessment above. I would add that there is an inherent fear that keeps “upper management” from letting go. However, I think we are past the point of being able to wait on “upper management” to take the lead on this. I agree with Phil Cooke’s article that change will come from the bottom up, not the top down. If the “grassroots” will mobilize there comes a point where the “upper management” has no choice but to listen. I see signs of this happening already. In fact, this blog is a great encouragement to me that it is beginning to happen.

    In regards to “refreshing management,” I think this will require deep change. Our whole system encourages politics. In theory “the pastors” and “the members” get to decide. However, the reality is that there is only a small representation of our church at the General Assembly, and that group is somewhat “homogenous.” So, for example, we continue to vote for positions based on who’s popular among the group, and almost completely disregard “skill sets” that might make a person more or less qualified for a position. Similarly, we vote on policy decisions based on the same group. So, for example, we keep voting against letting women hold the highest level of ordination. In my opinion, but I have no proof, this does not represent the general consensus of the Church of God, but only represents the very slight majority of pastors who actually attend the G.A.

    I have been disappointed by this dynamic many times. However, there are a few small twinklings that give me reason to hope that we might change in the near future. I think that the diversification of the Council of Eighteen in recent years has been extremely positive. I think the conversation about “internationalization” (though it has gone nowhere for almost 20 years now) still holds the potential for VERY significant organizational changes.

    I’ll stop there. I think it’s a very helpful article.

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