I changed my mind today on something. I recently agreed to start teaching a new class for a small group at my church beginning July 1. I met with one of our pastors, talked about how to proceed, and agreed on a fairly short-term plan for getting ready and announcing the decision to others. I accepted the fact that I’d be leaving a great class I’ve been blessed to attend for several years.
Sunday morning the decision was announced to those most affected by the decision and the result wasn’t good. A friend discovered through conversation with them afterward that a majority disagreed with the plan. Others whose opinion and judgment I’ve trusted since serving as their teacher while they were in college were not happy with what was announced, either.
Today it dawned on me that we didn’t do anything by the book on how to start new classes, and it came back to bite us. We didn’t involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process; a decision was made by a couple of people and then announced. We didn’t work through one-on-one conversation to get buy-in from a core group who would make up the class; we just tried to force a group into it whether they wanted to be or not. We didn’t think through how the announcement might be perceived by those most affected, and the result was some good folks being hurt.
We blew it. For someone with a seminary degree in religious education (me), I should slap myself for abandoning over the last few weeks everything I ever learned through experience and academics about how to start new classes. I know better.
So it’s time to hit the pause button, think this through, and come up with a plan that makes sense, involves others along the way, gets buy-in from stakeholders, and begins at the right time in the right manner. That is a lesson businesses would also do well to learn when they find themselves driven more by arbitrary project deadlines than by what it takes to have the right strategy and implementation.
Leap year lesson #167 is It’s OK to change your mind in order to make a better decision.