BOARDMAN Speaker emphasizes understanding change

Leaders must be prepared to advance changes against resistance.
BOARDMAN -- Shift happens.
There's no avoiding it. Change is constant and community leaders who recognize those changes under way and understand the effect they will have on individuals will make the best of it, the Rev. James B. Lemler said Friday.
Lemler, dean and president of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanston, Ill., was the guest speaker during Community Trustee Leadership Development Day, a program of Leadership Mahoning Valley's Programs & amp; Issues Committee.
"Change is as fast and furious and sometimes as treacherous as white water," Lemler told the group.
There have been some major changes in the Mahoning Valley over the last 25 years, many that parallel changes across the country, Lemler noted.
Some changes
Among those are a shift from a brawn-based economy to a brain-based economy in which access to information rather than means of production offers the greatest opportunity, Lemler said.
The model American family has also changed dramatically. In the 1950s, Lemler said, the vast majority of families were the typical Ozzie-and-Harriet household consisting of a married couple and their children. Today, that accounts for only 11 percent of all households.
Similarly, the racial-ethnic mix of Americans is rapidly transforming from an Anglo-European majority to one of no majority.
Economies are becoming increasingly global, Lemler continued, and there's been a shift from having church at the center of family life to having it on the margins, after other activities.
While some of these changes are for the better, any change often meets with opposition, he noted. Leaders must be prepared to advance those changes against resistance by addressing the needs and concerns of those likely to be affected and by sharing the broader vision of the impact changes will have.
Communication among leaders and the community is the key, he said. "No one effects change alone -- you need partners in the community."
Other items Lemler discussed included the anatomy of leadership, definition of leadership and community trusteeship as leadership.

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