Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Change or die

At the present time the church I am serving as Vicar is struggling with the idea of change. I am trying to persuade them that it is change or die but there are more than a few die-hards who don't seem convinced even given the rather disturbing figures released recently which speak of a decline in membership from 156,000 in 1959 to just 59,000 in 2011. that's why I was very interested to read the following following the collapse of Kodak:

"The recent announcement of Kodak’s bankruptcy  is a sad ending to the story of a once great company.  Kodak, the innovators responsible for all the bad pictures that your parents showed your high school girlfriends, has gotten to the point where they need to sell off patents in order to stay solvent over the next few months.

While it is easy for people to shake their heads, point fingers, and snicker at this “old fashioned” company, I think we need to take a closer look at what is going on in our own organizations and learn from Kodak… before the same thing happens to us.

Several months ago I was at the Cultivate Conference… a gathering of church leaders aimed at walking through new media and communication.  One quote were shared during that conference that I think are highly applicable here:

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.
General Eric Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, U. S. Army

Add to that a recent post by Seth Godin :

"It’s painful, expensive, time-consuming, stressful and ultimately pointless to work overtime to preserve your dying business model. All the lobbying, the lawsuits, the ad campaigns and most of all, the hand-wringing, aren’t going to change anything at all. In fact, instead of postponing the outcome you fear, they probably accelerate it."

While many of us will read this and nod our heads in approval, how is it that so often companies, non-profits, and churches miss this… and ultimate die rather than change?  How is it that so many organizations, rather than embracing new realities, new technologies, and new paradigms redouble their efforts to make the old way of doing things work?"

As Albert Einstein once wrote: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Is that what Kodak did or tried to do? Certainly many - if not most - of the churches in Wales seem to be treading the same road to insanity and it isn't working. If the recent figures quoted above won't convince anyone then I don't know what will. 

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