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The Art of Innovation. Start the Change

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author and professor Philip Auerswald made the audacious claim that: “If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably not innovating.”

Auerswald was right.

As creative leaders, we have a responsibility to identify and initiate change, development, and innovation in our organizations. This is a major task that can put us in very uncomfortable situations. The average person does not naturally embrace change. In order to destroy norms and cultivate cultures of innovation, we have to be willing to face some facts and be willing to be the igniters for change. Change helps cultivate the ground for innovation to excel. Being a “change maker” can sometimes be daunting:

It takes bravery to change things.

It’s not safe and really will “piss people off.” Thats okay. Our job is to grow and stretch our organization. We have the ability to usher in the next norm that will help our churches or organizations to grow exponentially. When we do this, people will fall in love with the results…which is about the time it takes to change things up again.

We will be wrong sometimes

Be prepared to fail. It will happen; it’s not an option, it’s a certainty. It takes failure to understand and appreciate success. Fail often and fail with grace. Just extend that grace to others when they fail.

Clearly Include Leadership

When you can sell change to leadership, it empowers you with the masses. Earn, build, and invest in relationships with leadership. When leaders know we have purpose behind change that will move our organizations forward, they will buy in. This may not happen right away, but thats okay.

Identify Data

Data is always greater than opinion. Data will clearly frame change and provide support for our emotions, feelings, hunches and instincts. Find data to help create passageways to change.

We have to make sure we clarify expectations.

Make them obvious. When they change, make sure to update everyone. Expectations left unclassified create problems and can destroy moral.

Have clear roles

Let people know who is doing what, when, where, how, and most importantly, why. This removes some of the sting of change and helps people know where they fit in the process.