Changing with Faith — HR Lessons from The Preacher’s Wife

The Preacher’s Wife” is set New York City during what should be the happiest season of all…Christmastime.  It is the story of St. Matthew’s Baptist Church, it’s pastor, the pastor’s wife, and an angel who has come to help the church out of an impending crisis.  Financial problems, declining membership, and a disengaged pastor are the main reasons that St. Matthew’s is in desperate need of change.

In any change process, there are a number of stakeholders who are affected.

Rev. Biggs: The recently appointed Pastor has the legacy of the beloved, deceased Pastor with which to contend. He shows no leadership commitment to the change process, lets the past be a hindrance, and is rapidly losing faith.

Dudley: An angel who comes to help the Pastor and ultimately the church population through the change process. In an organization, he would be an outside consultant who can offer guidance and impartial feedback and solutions because he is not emotionally connected.

Julia Biggs: She is the preacher’s wife and most energized change agent. In terms of an organization, I see her as the HR Leader. Julia takes on the task of working with the consultant and inadvertently assumes the responsibility of leading the organization through the change process. She knows that her commitment is first and foremost to the organization, but finds herself in a difficult situation when the leader will not step up to the plate.

Jeremiah Biggs:  The son of Henry and Julia. He develops a relationship with Dudley and has no choice but to trust in his vision because his father is absent. He represents the employees who are open to change because they believe anything is better than the current state.

Joe Hamilton: A Real Estate developer who appears to be the answer to the church’s financial problems. He offers to buy the church but intends to tear it down to build condominiums.  In exchange, he will build a new church in a remote location. This proposition is detrimental because, among other things, it is not a cultural fit for the organization.

Margeritte Coleman:  Rev. Biggs mother-in-law and the former First Lady.  She represents the employees who are most resistant to change simply because they are married to the past.  They reject anything that threatens the way things used to be

Beverly: Rev. Biggs skeptical assistant. She represents the employees who are resistant to change because they don’t know how they will fit into the organization once the process is complete.

As the Leader of the organization, Rev. Biggs is ultimately responsible for guiding and managing the change process.  Unfortunately, he finds himself in a situation where he is lacking FAITH.

Future State: A leader should be able to clearly articulate his/her vision for the organization once the change process is complete.

Alleviate Fear: Communicate early and often, provide answers to tough questions, and dispel rumors.

Implementation Plan: An effective change process requires a detailed plan that outlines the course of action, strategy, schedule, cost, and anticipates roadblocks and how to overcome them.

Timing: Allot for time to achieve set milestones.

Healthy and happy environment: The desired end result.

Knowing that change is constant, I’ve never understood how or why many organizations manage it so poorly.  Like Rev. Biggs, perhaps the principals in the organization are not properly influencing and leading the change process. Maybe there is more focus and energy spent emphasizing the barriers to the proposed change. Or, there could be a Joe Hamilton, an external force, who tries to exploit the diminished integrity of the process for his own benefit.  In any and all instances when the change process is compromised, activate your F.A.I.T.H, to get back on track.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)


This post was written by Keirsten Greggs. Keirsten is an experienced Human Resources professional who has built a successful career implementing creative talent acquisitions strategies for several Fortune 500 firms. For the past 14 years, she has provided recruiting support for Defense, Intelligence, Federal and Civilian contract portfolios. She has performed in various functions to include Executive hiring, Proposal/Incumbent Capture support, Project Management, and TA Operations. Keirsten’s engagement and strength in TA has aided companies in achieving the highest level of talent acquisition excellence and she continues to thrive as a leader in her field.

A native of NJ, Keirsten has called the Washington DC Metro area home for 15 years. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and a Masters in Management with an HR concentration from the University of Maryland, University College. When not solving copious amounts of #recruiterproblems, she indulges in various hobbies including reading, jigsaw and logic puzzle proficiency, and anything that she can incorporate with a nice glass of wine and a good meal.

Connect with Keirsten and view her Weekly Recruiter Problems Memes on Twitter @K_Alea and LinkedIn.


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