Implementing a Men’s Discipleship Program: Nine Themes
For many years I have been studying the question, “Why do some men’s discipleship programs succeed while others languish or fail?”
Over the last two years I have read the most relevant and current academic journals on implementing organizational change (especially new programs) looking for clues.
Apparently the problem isn’t limited to men’s discipleship programs. Despite a rich and diverse literature about organizational change, it may be safe to say that only about one-third of organizational change initiatives survive beyond initial implementation (e.g., Beer, 2003; Kotter, 1995; Miller, 2002; Senge, 1999; Yin, 1978).
Nevertheless, the literature identifies several dozen implementation factors that can be grouped under nine major themes. Starting with the next Weekly Briefing, I will give you the Clif Notes on what I’ve been finding—one theme and related factors each week for the next nine weeks.
These themes and factors can be applied broadly to implementing any program or initiative for organizational change—not just men’s discipleship programs (e.g., your business, your church, or even your family). In the meantime, here is an Executive Summary of the whole thing…
Theme One: Leadership
- Commitment to long term results
- Transformational style
- Involvement in the change initiative
- Support from the CEO, the senior or top management, the implementation team, the champion, and the implementing managers.
Theme Two: People
- Expertise: Tasking capable, committed people who understand what is expected from them.
- Training: Those people must be trained with the skills required to implement the change.
- Culture: Creating a culture that offers psychological safety for people to dialogue about their reservations is a key factor of implementation success
Theme Three: The Right Idea
- Gathering and analyzing information
- Creating a clear and compelling vision
- Creating a sense of urgency for change
- Introducing an initiative that works and is perceived to wor
Theme Four: Planning
- Making the adoption decision
- Formulating strategy
- Developing concrete plans
Theme Five: Resources
- Creating structures
- Building in enough time
- Allocating budget
- Assigning staff with needed expertise
- Training those who need it
- Providing rewards and incentives
Theme Six: Execution
- Conducting pilot projects
- Implementing the change
- Getting feedback
- Making adjustments
- A contingency for taking too much time
- Obtaining systematic feedback to evaluate results
Theme Seven: Communication Plan
- Publicize the benefits of change
- Publicize short term successes
Theme Eight: Resistance
- Mechanisms to identify resistance
- Processes to deal with behavioral and systemic resistance
Theme Nine: Sustainability
- Enfold the initiative into the routines of the organization
Beer, M. (2003). Why total quality management programs do not persist: the role of management quality and implications for leading a TQM transformation. Decision Sciences, 34(4), 623-642.
Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Miller, D. (2002). Successful change leaders: what makes them? what do they do that is different? Journal of Change Management, 2(4), 359-368.
Senge, P. (1999). The dance of change. New York: Currency Doubleday.
Yin, R. (1978). Changing urban bureaucracies: how new practices become routinized. Santa Monica: The Rand Corportation
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,