Believe it or not, ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) were introduced to us in the late 1960’s. When they were first introduced most of the nation was skeptical of them. In fact, most citizens refused to use ATMs. After all, this was a far cry from the normal banking experience. Fast forward to today and many people in American society would not know how to exist without ATMs. Finding and using ATMs is now as common as walking down the street.
The introduction of ATMs was foreign to our custom of banking. Yet over time, it has become part of the very fabric of banking in the United States. Acceptance of the ATM was gradual. This was change. Change is not easily accepted, is it?
Contrary to what we’ve been told, people are not opposed to change. However, people do not like forced change. We do not like someone else telling us we must change. Banks did not tell us we must use ATMs. ATMs were introduced alongside traditional banking practices.
Before ATMs were ever introduced, bank employees were trained to encourage customers to use ATMs. They were trained in the benefits and advantages of using ATMs. Advertisements and promotions were published promoting the safety, security, and ease of use of ATMs. Slowly ATMs were acclimated into our lives. Banks were preparing us for ATMs before the first ATM hit the market. And they continued preparing us for several years.
The way we watch TV has changed. From black & white to color. From small 9-inch to 100-inch screens. From analog to HG, to 4K resolution. From using dials on the TV to remotes to smart TVs. All of these are changes that have happened in our lifetime. Change is inevitable, and people have adapted and accepted these changes without recourse.
People have adapted to change their entire lives. It is not change that people fear or are opposed to. It is forced change. As leaders, we are to guide and to, well, lead people into change. Too often organizational change is forced change. When leaders take the time to educate and bring people along, change can move much smoother than it often does.
We need to take a lesson from the banking industry. We need to slowly educate – long before the coming change. Educate, equip, and train our workers, employees, customers, members in a slow methodical process. Take your time; investigate, explore, train, equip, and implement in due time. Don’t rush change. Guide people bringing them along with openness and honesty.
Change will come and the ease of change will be like money from an ATM.
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.
People Are Not Opposed to Change