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February 16, 2011

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Sometimes change and innovation are in opposition. The modern obsession with change has produced very short product cycles actually stymie innovation. Innovation has far more deep reaching implications on design, marketing, and manufacturing processes than the current product cycles allows and is far more risky.

An example of this is the mobile phone market; recent market leaders like Nokia etc with their rapid product cycles and focus on many different models (due to a fickle marketplace where it was difficult to predict consumer demand) suddenly found themselves out flanked by new-comer Apple with their iphone models. Apple (an outsider in this sector) took the time for deep innovation in their product design, development and marketing to leap frog far ahead of existing companies...

Another interesting tension is the tension between management and leadership.

True leaders want to push ahead, create change and tend to destabilise an organisation.

Managers on the other hand are keen to oil the machine as it is to, to follow current procedures and practises - keep alive the respected tradition.

Many churches (in my opinion) have leaders that are really managers. Being a faith based on history, traditions and the Bible (often misinterpreted and missapplied) tends to lend churches into appointing pastors who will protect the sacred ways and play it safe, and we wonder why young people leave church...

A good leader carefully balances an organisations need for change and stability so as to promote growth and renewal.

Very good comments, Peter. True, church communities can tend to fight and resist change more than most organisations. Of course, the goal is to do tow things (1) preserve the core AND (2) stimulate progress. Jim Collins in his classic book "Built to Last" highlights these two tasks and they need to be held in delicate tension. Not an easy thing to do!

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