Research Findings on Program Failure and Success (Part 3)
What It Will Take For a Men’s Discipleship Program To Succeed?
This is the last of a 3-part series on the factors that cause programs to succeed or fail. I’ve done this research because many of the leaders we work with say they have wasted 5, 10, or more years on programs that didn’t produce the fruit they expected. Unless we take a research-based approach to men’s discipleship, we may be betting the next 5 or 10 years of our ministry on a hunch. That doesn’t sound very smart.
To review, Part 1 explained that only 1/3 rd of change initiatives work. Part 2 presented reasons why programs succeed or fail. This final Part 3 answers the question, “What factors must be addressed to implement and sustain a men’s discipleship ministry program?” Okumus said,
One key reason why implementation fails is that practicing executives, managers and supervisors do not have practical, yet theoretically sound, models to guide their actions during implementation. Without adequate models, they try to implement strategies without a good understanding of the multiple factors that must be addressed, often simultaneously, to make implementation work. (Okumus, F. (2003). A framework to implement strategies in organizations. Management Decision, 41(9), 871-882. p. 871)
So, here are the “multiple factors” that need to be included in your men’s ministry “model”…
- A CHAMPION who builds support and assembles the necessary people, skills, training, and resources.
- A PLANNING PROCESS that involves the right people.
- CONTINUOUS PASTORAL SUPPORT which creates an adequate foundation of support and power to implement and sustain the proposed change.
- KEY SUPPORT. The champion gains the support of opinion leaders, top officials, groups likely to adopt. Innovators and early adopters support the program. This results in enough power to effect change.
- ORGANIZATIONAL CAPABILITIES. People, budget, time, and training are assembled to match the proposed change.
- RESISTANCE. Behavioral and systemic resistance is managed. Create climate and culture that overcomes organizational defense mechanisms. Leadership creates a psychologically safe environment for people to explore and learn.
- ADAPTATION. Early shortcomings are addressed, adjustments made.
- EFFICACY. The program works over time.
- SUSTAINABILITY. Program becomes self-sustaining, reaching critical mass by creating, capturing, and sustaining momentum. The program becomes sustained/normalized as part of the organization’s routines.
It’s unlikely any program model will be adequate to implement and sustain a successful men’s ministry unless each of these factors are addressed. For that reason, choose or construct your model carefully. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of years on a program that was never going to work in the first place.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,