I just returned from a week in Kenya where I greatly enjoyed a transformational time with 50 of our African staff – to help them learn new training paradigms and materials to use with their new staff. Men and women, grandparents and young singles, they came from all over the continent: Ghana, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Niger, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, and more… They spoke English and French, in addition to many national ethnic tongues. They had up to 20 years of training experience or none. They work with students, business professionals, families, athletes and rural communities.
How to help such a diverse group desire, understand and prepare for change? Change is hard. Change is powerful.
We began with vision. Vision for them. Vision for their work. Vision for the organization. Vision for the world. We talked about the value, privilege and responsibility we experience when we invest in others’ lives.
They studied the character of those who are willing to change – humble, teachable, life-long learners, innovators, team players – and evaluated their own…
Our Design Team demonstrated the power of teamwork, adult learning, creative teaching methods, coaching processes and coaching groups, shared leadership, freedom to fail, and growth in community.
We also discussed the challenges and the barriers to change – their own personal internal struggles and the organizational struggles: traditions, aligning others, resources.
We modeled, and then they practiced with new tools… teaching new lessons, coaching each other, leading interactive groups, giving and receiving feedback.
Everyone ate well and slept little; we drank lots of tea; we shared life stories and prayed for each other. We became friends.
Together they decided on action points and next steps.
Our staff have a long road ahead of them. Change does not happen overnight. It does not happen easily. They will face opposition, and they will get tired and frustrated and discouraged in the process.
But I have hope for them. They are deeply committed to their people and their purpose. They serve a great God. They will help each other in a learning community. Change is healthy and necessary for the future.
I feel honored to have been part of the time. I look forward to what will happen in the future.
How do you respond to change? How do you help your people prepare for change?