Many years ago I had the great fortune of pastoring a new church in North Carolina. As the church expanded and grew I also had the opportunity to meet many new, intelligent and progressive thinkers. During that journey I was introduced to a gentleman who began his career working with a company called Sky City. Sky City was a store chain that is no longer around.
Wikipedia tells us this about Sky City:
“Sky City was a discount store chain based in Asheville, North Carolina. In the early 1990s, Sky City took a huge plummet when Wal-Mart started moving into the areas of North Carolina where there had previously been no competition except for Rose’s Department Store. In 1991 Interco, Inc. sold Sky City Stores, Inc. to a group of investors, headed by Harvey Yellen, Sky City Stores’ chief executive officer, for an undisclosed figure. The investment group formed a new company, Sky City Holding Corp….In early 1992 the chain closed for good.”
My friend, who I mentioned above, told me his story about his time at Sky City. He was attending a meeting with several of the key leaders of the company and during this meeting he made a few suggestions about how the company would benefit by making a “few changes.” He felt that to compete with companies like Wal-Mart, change was absolutely necessary. His ideas were not accepted and the decision of the leadership of the company was to “keep things just the way they are.” This young visionary saw the writing on the wall. Things were not looking good so he resigned from the company, took a loan out on his only automobile, and began a chain of convenience stores. Today my friend is doing well, Sky City went belly up and it was all about “change” or the “lack of change.”
Change is not easy but there are a few things that every organization should consider when this subject arises. Change is not only productive for businesses; it is also needed for charity organization, volunteer groups and churches. Here are a few thoughts about the nature of change:
- Change can improve and solve a problem.
- Change can release the skills and talents of those sitting on the bench.
- Change may produce confrontation but remember confrontation is no bad; it can be a catalyst for new ideas.
- Change opens up the window of new perspectives.
- Change creates a broader vision.
- Change introduces new theories.
- Change can create productive new models for any team.
If these statements are true then why do so many people find change to be difficult?
Resistance to change is created when there is an overpowering expert mentality. Few experts in any field are willing to believe that anyone else has the “smarts” that they do.
Very few leaders in many organizations are willing to ask an opinion or input until their plan is finished. Afterall, collaborative planning is costly, irritating, frustrating and consumes too much time. However, resistance to work together will lead to certain failure. Lack of collaboration will breed conflict. When team members are ignored and brushed aside get ready for things to blow apart.
Stated simply, change is good. It is not easy, but it can be very productive!