Mar 14, 2008

The Bell Curve of Change

Still sick. Can't seem to kick whatever I have. Been resting a good deal.

Just finished the book, "Who Stole My Church?" by Gordon MacDonald. I highly recommend this book to any churches going through transition and change. It's an easy read and very practical.

In this book, MacDonald quotes from The Diffusion of Innovations, where he talks about the way people respond to change. The following is a summary from pages 174-177 of MacDonald's book.

First he says there are innovators - these people love, absolutely love change. They welcome risk, and they don't mind failing or being defeated occasionally. They have their eyes set on breakthrough success. And because of this innovators can live with ambiguity and uncertainty. These people represent about 2.5% of the people.

Second, there are the early adapters - these are trusted people of the community because they don't jump to conclusions, but they know a good thing when they see it. Others look to see how these early adapters feel and think about change and will follow suit. These people represent about 13.5% of the people.

Third, there are the early majority and the late majority- these people are deliberate. They like to watch, think, evaluate, and talk. Alexander Pope's description aptly fits these folks - "Be not the first by whom the new is tried, nor the last to lay the old aside." These people represent 68% of the people.

Fourth, there are the laggards - these people are bound by tradition. They're the last to change, if they ever change. If the innovators have their eyes fixed on the future, the laggards have their eyes glued to the past. It's not that these are bad people, but because they have been burned in the past by some terrible failure. These represent 16% of the people.

I find this helpful as we think about all the changes that are taking place at Trinity.

1 comment:

RMcKee said...

Sometimes it can seem a lot easier to go through life citing and relying on other people's perceptions, then you're not held to account for your own perceptions and beliefs. Seeing with your own eyes can be an act of moral courage.