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Three questions to prevent an uprising

September 4, 2016

    Remember “Qwikster”? No, probably not.

    In 2011, Netflix caught heat for its attempt to rebrand its DVD-by-mail service as Qwikster.

    The backlash by its customers was swift and merciless. People were not happy.

    Only a few weeks later, Netflix leaders announced the end of Qwikster.

    Have you ever made a decision or a change in your ministry and experienced backlash? I know I have.

    So, what can you do on the front end to mitigate that backlash?

    Here are three questions you must ask yourself in those circumstances:

    “Do they know that I love them?”

    The people you are leading and trying to align to a plan or program need to know that you love them.

    They need to know that you care about them and their welfare.

    If they don’t believe that, they may feel used and see your attempt at alignment as simply running them through the ministry machine.

    A friend of mine used to say, “People can accept anything from you as long as they know you love them.”

    This takes time. Time to create an atmosphere of grace and acceptance. Time to build trust and make relational deposits into people’s lives.

    Paul the Apostle said, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you…our lives because you had become so dear to us.” (1 Thes. 2:8)

    “Have I listened to them?”

    Hear them out. Listen to their wants and needs. Ask lots of questions about their life and ministry.

    If you’re feeling resistance to a new emphasis in your ministry, perhaps you need to spend more time listening to your people.

    This is Steven Covey’s “seek to understand before you’re understood” principle.

    If you are feeling resistance to a new emphasis in your ministry, perhaps you need to spend more time listening to your people.

    They will feel more comfortable with change if they know that you understand them and their concerns.

    In the case of Netflix, their VP of corporate communications admitted, “”It was a very bold move forward, without considering the effect on our members.”

    “Have I involved them?”

    Nothing creates buy-in more than involving people in the change process.

    As a campus leader this usually means involving our leadership students in our strategic planning sessions.

    A few years back, we were struggling with our weekly meeting space as we grew and could not find a room big enough to hold us.

    We got about 20 of our top leaders together and walked through a problem-solving process together. As a result, we were all on the same page as to the solution.

    That created way more buy-in than if our staff team had simply come up with a solution ourselves and told them about it. As the adage goes: “Involvement breeds commitment.”

    So, if you are experiencing alignment issues on campus, odds are the problem can be traced back to one of these three things.

    Maybe it’s time to step back and ask yourself: Do the people know that I love them? Have I listened to them? Have I involved them?