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Feature Article: Leading and Managing through Change with Grace

Suzanne Recommends:

Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Wednesday, May 21, 7 pm EST

  • Leading and Managing through Change with Grace, Wed, May 21, 7 pm EST

Leading and Managing through Change with Grace

I'm sure you've had unexpected changes that came into your life over the years, some which were good, while others were not so good. As you face these changes, some of which may have felt forced upon you, you're left with the process of adjusting to each of these new changes. And if you're a leader, you face the task of helping those you lead adjust to their new circumstances - some of which may be very different than what they had hoped.

Change is nothing new, and something that is an ongoing part of our lives. Scripture records in Exodus 1 a story of how the nation of Israel faced some very unexpected and negative changes. The Pharaoh who had known Joseph and had been kind to his people was now dead, and a new ruler had been installed. This new ruler felt no obligation to Joseph or his people and chose to treat the Israelites cruelly as slaves for his nation.

Like the nation of Israel, you may have faced some unexpected or negative changes in some area of your life. Perhaps your situation was exactly the same - with a new leader installed who didn't know your past contributions or care about your welfare or future. This very situation happens all too often these days with corporate mergers, church reorganizations, and subsequent family impacts brought about by these changes.

As I reflected on this challenge you'll face, I wanted to share principles that have been helpful to me over the years related to leading and managing through change with grace and some keys to victory to help you begin or continue to do this.

  1. First, you'll need to recognize that with every change, you'll go through a grieving process.

    You'll recognize that with every change, you're entering into a new season of your life. Perhaps you're marrying at a later age, becoming a parent, moving to a new location, going back to school, becoming an empty-nester, or retiring. Each of these life events brings tremendous lifestyle changes, which are often positive, yet simultaneously difficult.

    Particularly when changes are positive, it seems odd to say that you would grieve over changes. Yet even with positive changes, you're often leaving many things - you may be leaving relationships, a job you enjoyed, a dream behind, the single life of freedom for a married life of commitment - are all examples of this leaving process.

    And when changes are negative, it goes without saying that you will be struggling to adjust to the losses entailed in the change and grief you experience.

    It's important to recognize that there are stages of grief, including shock/denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and finally, forgiveness and acceptance. Give yourself room and time to process the changes you face, and go through each of these stages until you are fully able to "let go of the old, and embrace the new."

  1. Sometimes the timing of a change can feel forced upon you, or happen so fast that you don't feel you have time to adjust.

    This phenomenon can happen often to us - perhaps it's an organizational or leadership change we weren't expecting that impacts us negatively (this was the illustration that happened to the nation of Israel above and still happens to countless employees of corporations daily), it may be a job loss, or a move, or an illness, or even the joy of an unplanned-for child. Each of these circumstances brings great change, for which you'll need to adjust your entire lifestyle to manage in a healthy way.

    Yet part of finding this balance and making the needed adjustments to the changes includes having the correct perspective on change. And what is that perspective?

  1. Realize God is sovereign over the events of your life and promises to work even the most difficult events for your good if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.

    Proverbs 16 has several passages which reminds you and me that it is truly God who is in charge, not us. Verse 9 states, "in his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps," and verse 33 adds, "the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD." This passage refers to the ancient custom of casting lots to determine God's will - similar to a coin toss today. However, Scripture is revealing that even something that seems left up to chance is not apart from God's sovereign will and intervention. And verse 1 adds, "to man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue," revealing that the Lord even can control how you or others respond in order to bring about His sovereign will.

    If you're a "Type A" who needs to be in control of his or her life (and others' lives, too!), these can feel like threatening insights. Yet in Romans 8:28, God assures you of His love, reminding you of his special promise to take all of the difficult circumstances of your life and work them together for your good.

    Now this promise is given specifically to those who know and love God, and are called according to His purpose as His children. It is not for everyone. But if you fall into this category, you'll be assured there really are no second causes, as God is either bringing about or allowing this particular event to happen to you for His own purposes, albeit unknown to you.

    As you recognize this truth, you can be freed up to grow and mature from the changes you're experiencing - as you receive the new opportunities and new challenges that the changes will bring to you. And you can await in faith to see what good God will unfold from the experiences you've faced, especially those which have been extremely painful or difficult for you.

  1. If you're a leader, you'll need to be sensitive to the pace of change you impose upon those you lead and to appropriate communication regarding those changes.

    One of the greatest difficulties you may face as a leader is leading change in a timeframe and process those you lead can handle. Leaders often make quick decisions, being "Type-A", "make-it-happen," or high-control personalities. Yet in doing so, they often fail to to consider the impact those decisions will have upon those they lead. Almost always, proactive communication and collaborative decision-making will make transitions much smoother for everyone involved and allow the team to feel a part of and ownership in the new decisions.

  1. Lastly, don't give up on your dreams if you are in a "pause" scenario for a certain season.

    Ecc. 3:1 reminds you of the truth that there are seasons of our lives..."there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." It's easy to feel you've lost out on the opportunity for a relationship, or a dream, or something for which you've longed that never seemed to come to fruition or to blossom in full.

    I recently saw the movie, "Mr. Holland's Opus" with Gil, and in the story, Mr. Holland felt he'd given up his dream of writing a symphony to work second jobs over the years to care for his deaf son's special needs. At the end of the movie, Mr. Holland discovers his dream was realized after all, and in the process, he had led a wonderful life, impacting hundreds of students over the years.

    Often the Lord spreads out His opportunities and dreams for you over a lifetime, allowing you to experience each of them in its own appropriate season. Phil 1:6 speaks of how "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." While Paul was referring here to the sanctification of the believers in their spiritual growth, the principle holds that God will complete in you whatever work He began, using the specific spiritual gifts He has given you for His unique and special purpose for your life.

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • First, you'll need to recognize that with change, you'll go through a grieving process.

  • Sometimes the timing of a change can feel forced upon you or happen so fast that you don't feel you have time to adjust.
  • Realize God is sovereign over the events of your life and promises to work even the most difficult events for your good if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.

  • If you're a leader, you'll need to be sensitive to the pace of change you impose upon those you lead and to appropriate communication regarding those changes.

  • Lastly, don't give up on your dreams if you are in a "pause" scenario for a certain season.

The January 20 entry from Streams in the Desert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, gives a hopeful perspective, particularly about sorrowful changes and circumstances you may encounter:
When sorrow comes under the power of divine grace, it works out a manifold ministry in our lives...Sorrow makes us go slower and more considerately, and introspect our motives and dispositions. It is sorrow that opens up within us the capacities of the heavenly life, and it is sorrow that makes us willing to launch our capacities on a boundless sea of service for God and our fellows...

God never uses anybody to a large degree, until after He breaks that one all to pieces. Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations. For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, 'Joseph is a fruitful bough...by a well, whose branches run over the wall' (Gen. 49:22) It takes sorrow to widen the soul."

(From The Heavenly Life)

If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the May "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Wednesday, May 21, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at suzanne@suzannemartinez.com. We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!


May Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at suzanne@suzannemartinez.com. I'd love to help you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,



Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172
703.282.2325
suzanne@suzannemartinez.com
www.suzannemartinez.com


Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.


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Leadership & Relationship Tips
May 2008
Vol. I, Issue 27


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Would you Like to Have Your Own CD copy of Recent Garden Club Messages?

It's easy. Just click on the links below, and your CD copies will be shipped out to you ~

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink & Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

Mastering and Sustaining Personal Change (January 2008)

Servant Leadership Lessons Jesus Modeled for Our Leadership and Our Lives (Feb 2008)

How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life (March 2008)

How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry and Personal Life (April 2008)

Leading and Managing through Change with Grace (May 2008)

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Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is:

Wed, May 21, 7 pm EST.

Our topic will be on:

Leading and Managing through Change with Grace.

Just email me at Suzanne's office for more information and for the information needed to participate!

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us on Wed, May 21 at 7 pm EST!


Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

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Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

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Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships


Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

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Devotionals

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About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.


Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.