When I think of transitions, both personal and corporate, I can’t help but to think of Joshua’s great task of transitioning a large community from a desert experience into the Promised Land; a land flowing with “milk and honey”. Individuals as well as organizations can learn three simple principles of corporate transition from Joshua’s example. This experience demanded three indispensable ingredients from Joshua. They are:
1. Courage (Mental Fortitude)
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. (Joshua 1:6, 7 NIV)
Courage is a prerequisite for corporate transitions. We commonly refer to this type of change as reorganization or organizational reinvention. Change is not always easy to implement for any leader since it challenges the status quo culture. “Status quo” thinking is embedded in our human nature; we like to keep things the same because change is too costly and demands too much from us. Courage is simply having the mental fortitude to do the right thing, which is to redirect the organization, regardless of the criticism and the obstacles encountered along the way. Corporate leaders leading change must be ready to encounter resistance from all levels. Therefore, mental fortitude to inspire, supervise, collaborate and lead any change effort is required from leaders.
2. Community (Engaging People through Vision and Responsibility)
So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’” (Joshua 1:10, 11 NIV)
Corporate change must involve the whole community under your care. When you prepare people for change, transitions become, well almost seamless. A leader starts preparing people for change by assessing current and critical resources for the change effort, and establishing timelines for task completion. In other words, what is needed for the journey of change, and how long will it take? From the passage above, the people gathered supplies (resources) for their journey, and set a timeline of three days to accomplish corporate consolidation of these vital resources. The ability to acquire and maintain resources is critical for any change effort. You must know what you have, so you can determine what else you need for the journey. Some things must be eliminated, while new resources and people will emerge to help you with the change process. Effective change occurs when leaders engage their team members through vision and responsibility.
2. Consecration (Personal and Corporate Cleansing)
Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’” (Joshua 2:5 NIV)
The most critical element of change is preparing and aligning people with the right attitude for change. This starts with a good communication strategy. Communicating change must permeate the entire organization, every individual must understand his or her particular role in the change effort. Emotions run high during times of transition since the culture is shifting such as positions, responsibilities, position, and new expectations, etc. Therefore, consecration is essential if a team is going to advance with minimal problems. In this process people have to let go of the past by putting petty differences aside.
Consecration is simply looking within for the purpose of critically examining self to remove personal obstacles that will get in the way of change, even admitting our current condition is insufficient for entering the next phase. We must let go of the old paradigms, and find new ways of thinking. Personal and leadership reinvention may be required from you as well. The right attitude for change must be adopted, encouraged and cultivated among all team members from top to bottom.
The community under Joshua’s care was required to prepare and cleanse themselves for transition. Those who cleanse themselves have a higher probability of moving forward while those who don’t may just fall on the way side, meaning the makeup of your team may change. Personal and corporate cleansing is required for transitioning into new beginnings.
What other principles are involved in corporate change?