6. In the Wilderness: Change is Hard, Even if it's the Promised Land

5 balls on strings, 4 sad and stationary, 1 happy and ready to swing down to hit the other 4

In order for congregations to thrive, they must be responsive to a changing world and resilient in the face of such change. Here are some tools and sensibilities for leaders to help their congregations be adaptable to change.

Download the Syllabus (PDF) to keep track of your progress!

Emotional Responses to Change

One key insight for leaders is to understanding how responses to change are not just intellectual, but emotional. This presentation provides a mental model using a rollercoaster to help you lead through change.

The Roller Coaster of Change

Resistance to Change

Organizations, like all systems seek a well-ordered status. If a congregation is thrown out of balance by the prospect of change, it will seek to restore order. If there is too much anxiety, conflict can flare up. But leaders can help create a culture that learns to welcome resistance.

Overcoming the Resistance to Change

Technical vs. Adaptive Challenges

As leaders, sometimes we encounter problems that happen where the solution is not a technical fix. This story will help you to identify such "adaptive" challenges!

More about Adaptive Challenges

Adaptive Challenges

What do you do when a challenge is so new or puzzling that your experienced leaders are stumped and there are no “best practices” to turn to? Instead, help your congregation work together to find a solution. This resource (part of the UU Leadership Institute course "Adaptive Leadership 401") gives you the basic framework for thinking adaptively.

6 Key Concepts of Adaptive Leadership

About the Author

UUA Congregational Life Staff Group

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the...

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