Seth Godin is an author of books about business. His recent blog post, “The Warning Signs of Defending the Status Quo”, has been reposted all over the ‘net in a matter of hours, mostly to other business sites, but also to the UU Growth blog
“What does that have to do with UU worship?” you ask, reasonably. “Defending the status quo” sounds relatively benign, but Seth’s article treats it as an understood evil. Other ways to phrase “status quo” might be “statis”, “inertia” or “rigor mortis”.
That’s how it relates to us: the only reason to oppose all change is if your institution is perfect, and thus has no need to “move forward”. But there is no “perfect” here on earth — there’s always room for improvement. And what does “improvement” mean for a religious body? It means repelling fewer visitors. It means reaching more people with your message of love and hope. It means acting as if you believe what you do is important.
The warning signs of defending the status quo
When confronted with a new idea, do you:
- Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
- Highlight the pain to a few instead of the benefits for the many?
- Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
- Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?
- Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of amplifying the likely thing that will go right?
- Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?
- Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?
- Embrace an instinct to accept consistent ongoing costs instead of swallowing a one-time expense?
- Slow implementation and decision making down instead of speeding it up?
- Embrace sunk costs?
- Imagine that your competition is going to be as afraid of change as you are? Even the competition that hasn’t entered the market yet and has nothing to lose…
- Emphasize emergency preparation at the expense of a chronic and degenerative condition?
- Compare the best of what you have now with the possible worst of what a change might bring?
Calling it out when you see it might give your team the strength to make a leap.
“Make a leap”? Did he just barely avoid saying “a leap of faith”?