Transforming Power by Hugh Ballou
Hugh Ballou has over 40 years of experience as a choir director and has worked with small organizations and large organizations. I believe the largest had 12,000 members. Now, you may be asking yourself what a choir director knows about transforming power and how he can help entrepreneurs. That’s an interesting story.
As I’ve spoken with Hugh Ballou and as I read some of the articles and his book, it became very clear to me that the situations he faced with the choir members, the religious structure and the members of the congregations often reflect the situations we face in business. This is especially true when we talk about implementing change in any type of organization. This experience has given him a unique perspective when he deals with businesses and other organizations that need to make changes.
First, some detail about the structure of Transforming Power. The book was compiled by collecting personal experiences from over twenty different people who experienced a transformational change. Hugh Ballou hand picked the people that are included and asked the people to share a transformational story that would be beneficial and that would inspire others. Those stories are included in this book.
I looked up a couple of definition for “transformational change” -
A shift in the business culture of an organization resulting from a change in the underlying strategy and processes that the organization has used in the past. A transformational change is designed to be organization-wide and is enacted over a period of time. - www.businessdictionary.com
A qualitative change and an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another. - www.thefreedictionary.com
In the introduction, Hugh Ballou reminds us that each of us see the transformation from our own perspective and so each experience that is shared in the book, is told from that person’s perspective. There are interesting consistencies throughout the book that help illustrate how the need for transformational change can be a universal situation. Each story inspires and encourages leaders to begin the transformational process within their organization. This enables you, the reader, to begin to make a difference for the people who work with you and to the organization as a whole.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that people see “leadership” in many different ways. However, this is not talking about someone who was just put in charge of a group. A leader is much more than a manager or supervisor. A true leader accepts the challenge to help the people they lead. Our leadership can also help other people learn how to lead and to create a more positive and encouraging environment. The first step in this process is to realize if we need to make a change in ourselves. How can we honestly ask others to make a change, if we’re unwilling to make changes first?
There are key qualities that all transformational leaders should have. They include:
Clearly defining goals.
Effectively delegate to others.
Coach others in an effective way.
Celebrate accomplishments within the group and/or the organization.
Provide knowledge and education where needed.
Value the individuals in the group and/or organization.
Be a model of leadership.
A true leader can be a very powerful and encouraging person. However, something interesting that stood out to me as I read the book was that each story showed us some concern, vulnerability, fear etc. We each have concerns about change and especially major changes. The people who contributed to this project showed us those very human traits. I found it encouraging to realize those traits are common in this sort of situation.
Several of the experiences showed how people tell us they want change, but once the change begins, we see another side to them. It’s important to understand that sometimes they want a change that will make things better for them. Change is one of those times when you will experience growing pains – or we could call them changing pains. Any change will bring some difficulties within the process and as the change is happening. True and lasting change takes time and a transformational leader needs to be prepared for the complete journey.
As a leader is leading the group through a change, they have the opportunity to create a “community” feel and approach to the project. This community atmosphere has the power to create a synergy that is very beneficial to the change that is happening and the people who are involved. It isn’t productive to approach these changes in a dictatorial way. Leading and using the community approach is much more effective and lasting than a dictatorial approach. The community attitude also allows others to step up and be involved in many aspects of the changes that are being made.
Effective communication, delegation and planning are key to a change. When you begin a change, do you communicate the ideas? Do you find qualified people for delegated responsibilities? Are thorough plans developed to assist the change go smoothly? These things help the change process. There may be problems along the way, but leaders who take these initial steps have a higher chance for success.
All these points are illustrated very effectively in Transforming Power. A number of the examples relate to church situations and I enjoyed reading how effectively these approaches and techniques can be used in any organizational situation. Is your group or organization in need of change? This is a book you must read and you will be able to apply many of the examples that are included in your business, church or organization. For a special offer during August 2008, visit www.transforming-power.com.