Tag Archive for: agility


It’s been an emotionally charged week in the mission field.
Change is an inevitable part of missionary life. It’s also tiring.
Every six weeks missionaries come and go in the transfer’s process.
This week 5 new missionaries arrived and 13 returned home.
𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒆𝒏, who were the backbone of the mission for so long.
As the backbone, each of these missionaries provided great strength to many others.
Indeed, they were a great support to the entire mission.
We all experience change and in the mission field it is a frequent visitor.

Stretch Zone

As change happens, routines are disrupted, and it takes us out of our comfort zone.
“If you’re growing, you’re always out of your comfort zone.” says John Maxwell.
Missionaries grow a lot, and often!
Change requires rebuilding and others to step up.
New companionships, new areas, new trainers, and new leaders.
Emotions have been running high.
Kindness and compassion take on new meaning during times of stretching change.


C. S. Lewis indicated there is often discomfort in change when he wrote of God’s expectations for His children…
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace”.
As a “living house” several missionaries have been asked to step up, to train, and others, to lead.
Rebuilding in the mission is underway (again), as another “new wing, extra floor, towers, courtyard” are being added.
How do you step up during times of constant change?

And we’re off! (again)

The 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 constant in life is 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆.
Fasten your seatbelts everyone!!!
Change in the mission field accelerates at an unprecedented speed.
Yet, our six-week mission transfer cycle ensures that the pace of change is also predictable.
While this is overwhelming for some, it isn’t going to stop anytime soon!
If you are serving as a missionary in any one of the 416 missions around the world, you’ll need to keep up!
The work of salvation is hastening even faster, there is an increased urgency and speeding up of the work, is an absolute, it is a given!
So how do you keep up?
Maintaining a regular constant regime of learning, through daily routines can really help.
In our mission, like others, there is a strong focus on 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠.
We decelerate on a few occasions too, in order to accelerate once more.
Slowing down in our Mission Leadership Council, Zone Councils, District Councils, Zone Conferences, weekly huddle calls and 1-1 personal coaching sessions with every missionary, allows each of us to catch our breath just long enough, communicate, have some deep dialogue, get aligned, then set the right attentions and intentions for the remainder of the transfer.
I have experienced that our environment of constant change is as natural as breathing.
But, like anything else, it takes time to adjust and find your rhythm.
Weaving agility, flexibility, adaptation, and resilience into our personal DNA help us feel comfortable.
Ultimately, change happens through people.
I have learned that if you want to keep pace with change and tackle future changes, then the 𝐤𝐞𝐲 is to 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒑 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒔.
How do you manage to keep up with change?

Expect the Unexpected!

Things don’t always turn out the way you planned!
On Tuesday, we waited at the arrivals gate at Schiphol Airport for our 5 new missionaries, arriving on three different flights from the USA.
“Are you sure its gate 3?”
A careful check (again) of the arrival gates clearly showed that 2 new missionaries arriving on different flights, would arrive at Gate 3 and the other 3 missionaries (on the same flight) would arrive at Gate 4.
Time passed….
No missionaries.


Then a message from Eldon McClure.
“Hey, President Watson? I’m at Schiphol, just got through customs. Who is going to pick me up, and where do I meet them?”
We concluded he’d arrived at gate 4, not gate 3, passed us by and arrived at the information point.
Off I went to pick him up. One down, four to go.
Back to gate 3.
Still no further missionaries.
Our Assistants go to gate 4 “just in case” for the next arrival due at Gate 3.
A few moments later they walk back to gate 3, with our new arrival Alexandra Williams.
Two down, three to go.
A check again of the arrivals board.
Yes, they are all due in at Gate 4.
So, in turn, all of us head to Gate 4.
Time passed.
“Are you sure its gate 4?”
“…Yes, take a look yourself…!”
“We’ll go to gate 3, just in case…,” said the Assistants.
More time passed.
Then a call from the Assistants, our final three Janessa Anderson, Jaislyn Kimball and Emerson Randle arrive at gate 3!
Our reactions… to the confusion?
We all laughed, hugged and chatted away.
Welcome to the Netherlands! 😆
Over the last 15 months, my new philosophy on things in general (and especially at Schiphol) is this,
…to be constantly aware of the reality that most things aren’t going to turn out how you expect!
𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝!
What do you do when things don’t go as you expect?

Adapting to Change

Years ago, I worked for a company whose logo incorporated a dandelion.
Yesterday, whilst visiting Hengelo for the weekend, we met with our new friends Gert & Nicky Aalderink for a lovely dinner. During our conversation we talked about dandelions for a minute or two.
As a child I learned that blowing on dandelion puffballs can tell you if it’s time to go home, how many years it will be until you find the right person and get married, or perhaps even how many children you’ll have – and naturally, if you catch a flying dandelion seed, you can make a wish!
All of this is just plain nonsensical childish fun – of course!
Dandelions however grow and flourish almost anywhere.
Simply stated – they can adapt exceptionally well to any changing conditions.

Top Tips

Recently, I have been asked a lot about adapting to change. And so, I thought this morning, (having facilitated many learning sessions on the topic over many years,) I’d share my top ten tips on adapting to change. Here they are…..
1 – Focus on what you can control
2 – Accept and embrace change
3 – Recognise, understand and acknowledge your emotions
4 – Avoid catastrophising about the future
5 – Regulate your stress levels by slowing down
6 – Always get support from others
7 – Establish daily healthy routines and good habits
8 – Always be curious about the new experience
9 – Take one baby step at a time
10 – Seek out new opportunities that will certainly arise.
Dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, land in all kinds of different places. To survive, grow and flourish, they have to adapt to their ever changing environment.
In a like manner as each of us face an ever changing environment at home, in the workplace and most certainly in the mission field, we must adapt quickly to survive, grow and flourish!
What is one your best tips on adapting to change?

Agile Thinking!

“It’s okay” I said, “I’ll pop down to the car for it….”
Let me explain.
Recently whilst staying overnight in a hotel in Belgium, annoyingly, one of the elasticated ear straps broke free from my face mask. Walking to dinner later proved a little bothersome, with one strap fixed behind my right ear and the other side of my mask being propped into position with my left hand for a good wee while…
After dinner, it was time to resolve the matter!
We were sure that we had another face mask in the car. At that point I suggested that I’d go back to the car and look for it. Monic proceeded to give me some idea where it may be.

Then we hit another problem.

We had only been given one hotel entry card for the room and it was inserted into the light system to keep the power on. Removing the card would mean Monic would be in the dark for a few minutes whilst I walked back to the car to hunt for another face mask.
“Hmm, now what I thought?”
Hunting for a solution, I had a flash of inspiration…. “Aha” I thought, and duly inserted my name tag into the switch.
The lights remained on!
These first 3 months in the mission field have been filled with such moments – regularly!
This little experience, captures in a nutshell our initial period of service.
– A little challenge arises
– We consider solutions
– Something else usually happens to make things even more irksome and challenging
– Then somehow, from somewhere – we adapt, flex our thinking and with cheetah like agility we are able to move forward as the issue unravels itself with a little gentle coaxing.
Daily, each of us may face little challenges, irritations, problems that given time, can become even more difficult to resolve.
What do you need to do to adopt a more agile way of thinking?

The Speed of Change

Events happen that create change.

Being change agile has been critical for all of us this last year, life has changed significantly.

World War II

Cast your mind back a few generations.  At the outbreak of WWII,  the massive change of war impacted every household across the nation.  There were repercussions for everyone.

One consequence was that the UK government embarked upon a scrap drive with households all over the nation donating their iron railings and gates to the war effort. It was quite an initiative, creating a feeling of  altruistic sacrifice amongst the people of the country.  Indeed it was a feel good factor, boosting morale, we were all in this together!

The recycled iron collected was used to create steel for all kinds of uses during the war, ships, tanks, planes, tools etc.

Subsequently mile after mile of iron railings vanished from our streets.  Even after all these years, our neighbourhood still has lots of evidence to suggest that great sacrifice was made for the war effort.

Whilst out walking yesterday, we noticed that one of the larger houses in our area had new iron railings installed.  They looked great!  As we continued our walk, we observed just how many other homes in our community had never replaced the railings.  Despite the fact that 80+ years have passed by!

Somehow yesterday, the fact that one home had new iron railings, accentuated the issue, namely there were so many homes that hadn’t done anything in all those years.

So – why is that?

  • Our initial thought was perhaps people didn’t have the money to replace the railings?  Would that be the case even after 80+ years?
  • Perhaps people just aren’t interested in beautifying their homes and replacing the iron railings, its unimportant?
  • Could it be that people are just lazy and can’t be bothered?
  • Perhaps they like the little iron stubs protruding out of their walls?  – No that’s just daft we thought!
  • It could be that despite 80+ years passing, it is something that generations of homeowners have never gotten around too?
  • Maybe folks like the constant reminder that the iron stubs are an important part of the social history of the area?
  • Or after all of those ideas, could it be something completely different – that as yet we haven’t thought of?

What do we learn about the speed of change?

The speed of change at the start of WWII was incredibly fast.  The demand for steel accelerated quickly to meet the needs of the war effort.  There was a huge need, driving the change.

Post war it seems, the issue of replacement railings has only ever been addressed by a few.

There is nothing now driving the need for change.

It is simply a matter of personal motivation and a few of the factors outlined above.  The speed factor, the big event driving the change – has disappeared!  Aside from an occasional comment or passing remark, no one is driving the change.  Perhaps that it the biggest lesson of all.

What drives change in your own life and in your own community?

My world has turned upside down

In the last 12 months my work has literally turned upside down. Let me explain.
I’ve just submitted my year end financial records to my accountant (👋🏻 Lauren – Hello Accountancy- she is great by the way) for the creation of my annual 20-21 management accounts. But I noticed some startling facts I’d like to share.
As an executive coach, facilitator and leadership trainer, my business model is simple. I have several associate relationships and direct clients of my own – thanks everyone! I travel around the UK, Europe and occasionally further afield, meeting lots of people and amass rewards points staying in hotels! Oh, and I love what I do!
Then the pandemic hit.
On 23rd March 2020, with the exception of 1 virtual delivery, my entire face to face workload disappeared overnight.
Now what I thought?
Quickly, with speed and agility, I changed my business model. I upskilled on a wide range of virtual platforms and work mostly from home.
Here are the startling facts on revenues which have remained similar….
  • 2019-2020 – 95% of my revenue is face to face, with 5% virtual.
  • 2020-2021 – 95% of my revenue is virtual, with 5% face to face.
My 100,000+ annual hotel points are now zero and my travel is mostly gone.  I haven’t been on a plane for over a year.
There have been a few other challenges along the way, but I recognise that I am very fortunate too.
How have you had to adapt? How has your world changed?

Disruptive Innovation

Dinosaurs are extinct. A seismic cataclysmic change brought their ultimate demise. Currently, many organisations face a similar fate.

The global economic crisis is tightening its grip, daily choking long established companies as well as new players on the world stage.  One by one countless organisations are failing. Every organisation large or small is being challenged by this unprecedented time of disruptive change.

Organisations must adapt or they will fail.  Governments are grappling daily with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.  Whilst frantically, organisations are coming to terms with their new reality.

The Greek root of the word crisis, literally means “turning point” or “decisive moment.”

This is it. 

This downturn is changing the way we live and work.

No organisation can stand still. Many are already faltering or in reverse. They must change gear, tailor an agile response and move forward, or like the dinosaurs they too will become artefacts, cast into a museum for us to recall how the once mighty have fallen.

In order to survive organisations, need a breakthrough, a complete paradigm shift from business as usual in order to adapt to the acceleration of external change.  In turn they must progress to new ways of working and new norms. A gargantuan effort to find new innovative ways to survive is crucial.

Whatever advanced operating practices, products and services are on offer – they must remain relevant to the new world order.

  • Why is change inevitable?
  • How are you adapting?
  • How agile are you?
  • What does your new beginning look like?
  • What new leadership behaviours are emerging?



“You’re kidding dad aren’t you?” was one reply, when I said the shower wasn’t working.
A visit from a local plumber revealed that the filter in the mixer valve was worn out and needed replacing. “We’ll have to order up a new one, it’ll be a few days before it arrives – the office will call you” he said and off he went.
Forlornly we accepted the conclusion, and resigned ourselves to find alternative daily showering solutions for family members. Immediately we considered showering at our elderly neighbour’s, or going to my mother’s or asking other friends.
This was becoming a major disruptive event in our home and consequences followed.
After a few days, we still long for the part to arrive. Yet, out of necessity, we were somehow agile enough and quickly adapted. We changed our routines and helped each other by using buckets, bowls and sinks filled with water to meet our daily needs. For the time being, this is our new normal. It will change again.
In a like manner, our lives have been disrupted by COVID-19. All of us have had to adapt and change at pace, to meet the new demands placed on us by this virus.
What have you had to adapt in your life, at home or at work?
How is being agile helping you move towards a new normal?

How change agile are you?

How change agile are you? Do you anticipate, adapt and plan for changes?

As a frequent traveller, I’m always on the lookout for a travel bargain, on flights, trains and hotels. For an upcoming engagement in a few weeks’ time, I’ll be in central London 5 nights straight. Planning ahead (3 months ago) I secured a good rate for those evenings in a central London hotel. Checking my booking a couple of days ago, I discovered that I could get a much better rate only a few weeks before I’m actually due in the city, at an upmarket sister hotel. How’s that? It doesn’t make sense to me? I’m very organised and always like to book well in advance!

Agility, is the ability and your willingness to change quickly to new developments. Speed, nimbleness, dexterity and being fleet of foot all come to mind, in order to adapt to change quickly – it is key to your future. So, pick yourself up and get your running shoes on.  You’re absolutely going to need them simply to keep up with the pace of change in the world today.

The algorithms behind these advanced rates on booking sites are complex, but the key to it all is agility! Change is now the expectation – NOT – the exception.

What am I learning?

Agile leaders and agile organisations must be entrepreneurial in their mindset and approach to change – always! Best to check that hotel, train or flight booking again today…. It could be far cheaper now!