Thoughts on Change

President of Community Banking, Neil Stanley, recently delivered a sermon at Prairie Lane Church in Omaha, NE. Neil has given a lot of presentations in his life but this was his first sermon. He understands that the purpose of every presentation, is to make life better in some way, to move forward and to grow. The sermon that Sunday centered on change.

A New Chapter
The message was “A New Chapter” in reference to how the church will be going through a significant change in identifying a new pastor. Neil read from Genesis 37 - Joseph’s Dreams during his sermon along with sharing lessons from his life and experience in the business world.

“We all experience new chapters, some more frequently. Some of us clearly embrace new chapters readily. Sometimes we don’t enter new chapters willingly. In fact, we can quite often resist new chapters with great rigor. Regardless of our typical posture about change we all experience some degree of anxiety about new things.” Stanley said.

Who Moved My Cheese
This is a popular modern fable written by Spencer Johnson in 1998. It addresses how life can be altered when the world changes around the characters within the story. The characters in Who Moved My Cheese were forced to adjust to their new circumstances as their security, sufficiency, and significance was impacted. The book presents the responses of little people, Hem and Haw as well as mice, Sniff and Scurry to new and unexpected dynamics. Some key observations and questions in the book – We keep doing the same things and keep expecting better results. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? When you change what you believe, you change what you do.

DiSC Profile
“I have observed that I personally have a profile that in many situations is often more conducive to change than many other people. God created a range among us regarding how we naturally respond to change. DiSC profiles are designed to interpret the ways in which we tend to encounter the interactions with people and events we experience in the world.” Stanley said.

  • D – Dominance – A person with this profile sees that there are things out there that need to be done
  • I – Influence – A person with this profile sees that there are people out there who need to be engaged
  • S – Steadiness – These people are seeking to maintain the status quo
  • C – Compliance – These people are seeking to observe and follow the rules

Neil explained that each of us have a profile. His DiSC profile shows that he has a relatively Dominant profile with abundance of Influence and moderate amount of Compliance and low amount of Steadiness.

Read Neil’s thoughts on his profile:
On the spectrum of adopting to change my profile is generally readier to change than most. That awareness enhances my compassion for others who are less ready to embrace change. When I assess my own resistance to change and recognize that generally I am more open to change than most people, it makes me appreciate how hard it must be for some to open new chapters. To be clear about this, even with a dominant profile that tends to be open to change, I have strong preferences about things.

Take for example when my wife, Fara suggested that my old briefcase was clearly worn out, my immediate reaction was to buy a new one exactly like the current one I have used for about 10 years. I was not interested in considering a change with something that had become a familiar part of my regular pattern. Fara had the audacity to suggest that a backpack would be a great solution. A backpack? I haven’t used a backpack since college. When I became a professional I abandoned my backpack for a briefcase. That is how it works Fara. She replied that may have been then, but not now. Today, professionals are using backpacks. Well today, after a fairly short introduction period I am getting comfortable with and confess today that I like my new “Backpack”. A relatively minor, but still significant next chapter that I am experiencing daily. My backpack has become an icon for change for me. What about you. Do you have any icons of change in your life? 

“I am sometimes asked what makes a good leader. My answer over the years has evolved into ‘someone who can assemble and inspire a team that effectively and efficiently engages people and events through all of these approaches.’”

When I hire people today, I am looking for people who:

  1. enjoy making a positive difference in the lives of others
  2. invest themselves in going beyond the normal
  3. enjoy working in teams

I agree with the often-quoted phrase that leadership is not a position, it is an attitude. A great leader inspires greatness from others in their presence and creates a sustainable impact beyond their presence. Grace is key to empowering, encouraging, and inspiring.

“We all encounter danger and experience fear and seek control over the danger and fear we encounter. We all need God’s power and presence and the influence of Godly people around us to encourage and inspire us.”

Neil ended with this...
“I observe that I most like to spend my time with people who have the audacity to believe that they can make a difference in this life and in the lives of people. Beyond belief they have the courage and wisdom to act on that audacious belief. I recall Kurt V. sent a message some years ago to our men’s group that he felt we should step out of our comfort zones. While I appreciated his vision, I clearly felt out of my comfort zone at the time and was looking for stability. In retrospect, we all need encouragement to enter new chapters and over time Kurt and so many of you here, have helped me and my family have the audacity to believe that we can make a difference in life and to seek to have the courage and wisdom to pursue those beliefs. There are many ways to trust God and step out of our comfort zone individually, as families, and as a group. I pray that each of us will experience the joy and hope that comes from trusting in a loving and omnipotent God.“

Thank you, Neil, for sharing this with us.

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