Calculating Change

The decision for change in any organization involves the calculation of two costs:
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1.  The cost of change
2.  The cost of staying the same
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Sometimes these costs involve financial information.  In local churches, they more often include the cost of credibility, influence, stress, time, people, etc.  Unlike most calculations, these are very subjective, changing with each person’s perception of the organization’s context.  
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No organization will ever do different until the perceived cost of staying the same is great than the cost of change.  It just wouldn’t make sense.  (You would never pay $6k to repair a car worth $3k.)
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Too often, the case for change is made with pale attempts to decrease the cost of that change.
“We really don’t have to adjust that much.”
“It won’t require any additional effort.”
“Pushback will be controllable.”
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But increasing the second calculation is just as important, if not even more.
“If we don’t make this change, we are going to lose __________________.”  (And we’re probably not talking money.)
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We generally know and understand this cost intuitively, but less often do we think about clarifying and communicating it.  If you cannot express the cost of staying the same, you’re not ready to fight for change.
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Ryan Stigile

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