Change only occurs when someone, somewhere takes responsibility for a situation. Kurt Lewin, the father of organizational change theories, pointed out more than fifty years ago that the first stage in change involved “induced anxiety or guilt – a realization that I am in some way responsible.” Instead of externalizing blame onto other people, they realize that they are in some way responsible and that they can do something about it. Perhaps then I should not be so surprised that the Organizational Development (OD) exercise that has had the biggest impact on the organizations I work with is simply when I stop and ask people to answer:
- How have I contributed to this situation which I complain about?
I tend to send people
away on their own to prayerfully listen to God about how they have contributed
to a situation. In dealing with hurt and frustrations it is important to get
people out of a “blamestorming” attitude. It allows God to bring conviction,
not people to condemn each other. I have often found that changing people’s
physical environment helps in this, suggesting they listen to God while going
for a walk or sitting outside. The key is to create a safe space to consider
the question in a meaningful way.
- If we look at our own lives, where are we blaming others for a situation?
- Let’s stop and ask ourselves: “How have I contributed to this?”