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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Buckle

Leaders create chaos

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over the next month or so I’m going to be thinking through change.  How change happens in our lives, how to catalyze change in a community or an organization.

The two most common notions about change are that people only ever change – ever – if:

  1. The pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.

  2. The image of the preferred future is so great that it renders the thought of staying the same unpalatable.

It’s the principle of sticks and carrots.

One of 2 things will move me.

  1. A stick, where I’m stuck

  2. A carrot, when I’m hungry

So when the Doctor tells you that you need to loose 50 lbs or you’re probably going to die, you have a decision to make.  Is the pain of death greater than the pain of diet and exercise?

When you’re walking downtown and you turn a corner and instantly are hit by a smell lofting through the air.  It’s the smell of your favourite hotdog stand.  You have a decision to make.  Is the smell of that hotdog significantly alluring enough to warrant a change in your direction to go and get one when you’re already in a hurry to get to your next appointment.

Sticks and carrots.

Pain and hunger.

Am I over simplifying this? Yes!  But air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of relative lower pressure.  That’s just how wind works.  Pressure makes things move.

I heard a talk about momentum where the speaker introduced the idea that “Leaders create chaos”.

Where there is no pain and no hunger nothing changes so Leaders create chaos.  They disrupt equilibrium.  Sometimes they create chaos by stirring up an insatiable hunger for something better.  Sometimes they create chaos by introducing variables that create discomfort or pain in order to shake people loose from where they are stuck.

Leaders create chaos – because change never happens without discomfort.

Careful now.  I see where you’re going there…  It’s tempting to fear or paint negatively someone who would create discomfort where there previously had been comfort.  I mean, what kind of jerk would do that?

OK, I’ll give you that one.  There are a lot of jerks out there.  But great leaders are so moved by the image of a preferred future that they’ll enter or even engage any challenge to get to that shore.

And if you’re honest, I bet you would too.

In fact, I think sometimes God creates chaos to get his people moving.

What hunger for something better has been filling your senses lately?

Where are the places in your life where you have started to recognize discomfort or even pain?

Who do you have in your life that could help you figure out how to take a step in a new direction? – Don’t look for someone who is comfortable, safe, calming, steadying.  Look for someone who knows how to shake things up!


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