Monday, November 13, 2006

every right idea is eventually the wrong idea

Jonny Baker has a post that i resonate with:

i love books and ideas on creative thinking. years ago in a training session someone (roy) recommended a book called a whack on the side of the head by roger von oech. it came at a great time for me and changed the way the team i was part of then approached planning and ideas. we used to talk of being 'whacked' inspired by this little book. other writers at the time who also got us thinking in different directions were edward de bono and tom peters.

well the world has changed and i have discovered that roger von oech is now blogging (and has published several other books or card sets since - i think i'll order a card set - looks like fun for planning meetings) as is tom peters. so if you like that sort of thing keep an eye on their blogs (i have added them to my blog list)...

i liked the idea that every right idea is eventually the wrong idea. it applies in lots of areas of life, culture and change. (it reminds me of the title of a chapter by maggi dawn many years back in the post evangelical debate called you have to change in order to stay the same which is a similar idea (in reverse)). anyway this sentence got me thinking...

It's an interesting idea every right idea is eventually the wrong idea. We're not talking here about truth [either upper or lower case "t"] but about how we put these things into practice. Things that work well at one stage of life or in one era do not work in a different stage or era.

Roger von Oech gives this example:
For example, it's said that the Prussian King Frederick the Great (1712-1786) lost the Battle of Jena even though it was fought in 1806. This means that for twenty years after his death, the Prussian army perpetuated his successful organization instead of adapting to meet the changes in the art of war. Had his generals questioned Frederick's military tenets, they might have fared better against Napoleon.
I wonder how many good ideas we have had in the church [and they have been good ideas] but they are now the wrong idea. Something worth thinking about.


Roger von Oech said...

Hi Pastor Mike,

Thanks for mentioning my blog at your site. The net is pretty amazing!

You might also like this post: which is called: "You Are Not God"

Best wishes to you and your readers!

Roger von Oech

Anonymous said...

"I wonder how many good ideas we have had in the church [and they have been good ideas] but they are now the wrong idea. Something worth thinking about."

No question, we don't have too look back very far in church history, to see the good ideas which became the wrong ideas. But we have to be just as willing to realize that our "new" good ideas today will be the wrong ideas in time. Infact, some of the most forward thinking people have been so intent on their "new" way that it is already getting "old". There are many books on the topic of change and it is facinating.

Wrong ideas have their origin in successful right ideas - the friction comes when people try to hold on to their "old" right idea, because it worked soooo well. And also when the "new" right idea people try to force it in, often prematurely, sometimes the "new" right idea people don't even have a "new" idea, they just know the idea has become old (which is not a bad thing, but only a beginning).

Leaders sometimes take months or years praying about, studying and developing a "new" idea, and now they JUST GET IT - they don't understand why EVERYONE ELSE CAN'T - and if the rest of the church doesn't buy their book and impliment it the next Sunday they are not relevant. They are so excited about their "new" idea, but have not gained trust. People ask "how do we know if we buy into this, it won't become your "old" idea, just because you are bored". People are smart, they know that change is hard, - they know that the "innovators" are often more interested in the "change" and are probably writing the book on the next best way to do it before the ink dries on the first. People get tired. How many authors are content to write a book on change, and let people absorb it, give it the test of time, work it out? There is no time, there are deadlines to meet, profits too be made.

Another book I have read from a business perspective is "Leading Strategic Change - Breaking Through the BRAIN BARRIER" by J. Stewart Black & Hal B Gregersen. It says that the right "thing" eventually becomes the wrong "thing". Which I like because "idea" can almost mean that it is just a thought, a concept that has not been implimented. The effort comes with figuring out what the NEW right thing is and learning to do it well, Once again, recognizing when it becomes the wrong thing etc. However it is not as cut and dry in the church as it is in business. The CHURCH is not a business. Business has some concepts that are fabulous and can be gleaned from to a point. The bottom line in a business is financial. The church should be Kingdom Building. You don't slash jobs, downsize - You can't offer bonuses or rewards (unless you can focus on eternal value). It is not that easy to fire the CEO.

But you can bring people along. Help them to see how/why the old right thing is now the wrong thing. That there actually IS a NEW right thing - if you DO NOT have a clear NEW right thing then don't just complain about the old right thing. And if you have a new right thing, then tell them about it. Be specific, be clear. As I said the problem is not that people are dumb it is that they are smart. If you say, "the old right thing is wrong - we need to do the new right thing, I don't know what it is, it is very foggy and unclear - but give up what you know and are doing well to follow my vagueness, why would they? Tell them how they can get there, tell them you believe they can get there. Make sure they understand the new right thing. Let them ask you questions to clarify that they understand, that they feel competant. Give them the resources and training and time that they will need to be good at the new right thing.

The right leader may also become the wrong leader. What then?

Something else worth thinking about."