We’re talking about change this week on the blog. Yesterday we talked about the need to transfer the tension you feel to others if you hope to bring about change. And one of the best ways to bring about change is to raise people’s discontent with the status quo.
But how do you do that? How do you transfer the tension? How do you raise the level of discontent in others with the status quo.
A natural way to do that is to make statements.
Things need to change.
No one should accept things the way they are.
This is unacceptable.
We should really be open to X.
Statements have a role to play, and they work if there’s a crisis everyone can see. The problem is as a leader that often you’re one of the few that perceives a crisis. Many others don’t. And when they don’t statements can backfire.
No one like to be told what to do. We resist being told how to think.
So if you want to raise the level of discontent with the status quo, how do you do it in a way that facilitates buy-in, not push-back?
Ask more questions, and make fewer statements.
Instead of telling people what you think in every conversation or telling them what they should think, try asking questions.
What do you think the opportunities are to reach people in our community?
If we kept going this way, what do you think might happen in five years?
What do you think might happen to our kids if we’re not open to change?
What can we learn from other churches that are making an impact in their community?
What would happen if we started rethinking some of our assumptions?
When you start asking more questions, a few things happen:
- People buy in faster.
- They become more engaged in the conversation.
- They ‘own’ the answer.
- They might even come to think that the change was their idea.
And suddenly, something that was your idea becomes shared. A tension you felt over your discontent with the status quo becomes shared by others. And you are a few steps further down the road toward change.
What have you learned about asking questions?