If you’re a leader and your people aren’t listening to you, it’s quite likely that you’ve trained them not to listen to you. We engage in a pattern of starting something, losing focus, starting something different, and so on. When we behave this way repeatedly, we are essentially training our people not to take us seriously. They know that if they simply wait and do nothing, the plan will be changed or abandoned anyway and something new will be coming down the road. There’s no need to pay attention, there’s no need to take action—if they just wait a while, the problem will go away.
You have then been afflicted by corporate ADD—attention deficit disorder. A cycle has been created. We’ve trained our people not to listen. So when something is announced from headquarters, automatic resistance is generated. It’s like foreign tissue rejection—the rest of the system simply won’t accept something imported from outside. It doesn’t much matter whether the program itself is good or bad. And the problem is compounded during times of leadership change within an organization. New leaders tend to dismantle their predecessorsʹ work and insert their own new ideas, contributing to the cycle of corporate ADD.
So what’s the remedy? A tenacious focus: we are not letting go until Jesus comes. Long-term commitment to missional transformation is the best remedy for corporate ADD. With long-term commitment we can also make our approach less programmatic. Generally, programmatic approaches don’t work because there is a standard method or program that everyone is supposed to be run through. Rather, the approach must be principle-based and connected to our long-term goals. People need to see how it applies to their own context and to know we are sticking with it.