Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Necessary Endings - Henry Cloud (2010)

Dr Henry Cloud (2010). Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that all of us have to Give Up in order to Move Forward.

Henry Cloud offers some helpful insight in his latest book Necessary Endings. Necessary Endings is about what the name implies; creating necessary endings in situations. I heard a leadership principle that says, 'Good cannot begin until bad ends'.

Think about your local business, church, school or even your family. Here are some highlights from Henry Cloud that provide some insights about those difficult situations we need to 'end'.
  • We hang on too long when we should end something now.
  • We do not know if an ending is actually necessary, of if 'it' is fixable.
  • We are afraid of what is unknown.
  • We fear confrontation.
  • We are afraid of hurting someone.
  • We are afraid of letting go and the sadness associated with a 'necessary' ending.
  • We do not possess the skills to execute the ending.
  • We do not even know the right words to use.
  • We have experienced too many painful endings in the past and are thus fearful of experiencing that pain again.
  • We these 'necessary endings' are forced upon us, we do not know how to process them, and we sink or flounder.
  • We generally do not learn from them, so we repeat the same mistake over and over again.  (This list adapted from Gilbert Foster).
Have a read of a quote from the book, from page 74: "...successful people...all have one thing in common: They get in touch with must finally see reality for what it is...what is not working is not going to magically being working...The awareness of hopelessness is what finally brings people to the reality of the pruning moment. It is the moment when they wake up, realize that an ending must occur, and finally feel energized to do it. Nothing mobilizes us like a firm dose of reality. Whether is is finally getting an addict to hit bottom and end a destructive pattern or getting a CEO in front of a bankruptcy judge to force the restructuring that he has been avoiding, only reality gets us to do difficult things."

We must face reality at times. If you are a part of a local church, you might think of an example of a ministry that desperately needs a 'necessary ending'. The purpose of the ministry has been lost amongst the weekly drain of the same old thing week after week. It takes a leader; someone with some intuition, to say, 'You know what, this ministry has drifted so far off its original course, its time to close the doors'. Then the common excuses in ministry pop up:
  • 'But we've always done it this way'.
  • 'We've been running this program since 1963'.
  • 'This program has brought 70 people to the Lord' (10 years ago).
  • 'This ministry was implemented by the founding pastor of this church'.
  • 'I started this ministry'. (Thought: And if you close it, you are saying that I'm a failure. Well actually no - we're saying that it's had its time, it was great and we appreciate all you did, but its time to start something new and fresh.)
Here's another quote from Henry Cloud's Necessary Endings:

'When a spouse says to the alcoholic, "you need to go to AA," that is obviously not true. The addict feels no need to do that at all, and isn't. But when she says, "I am moving out and will be open to getting back together when you are getting treatment for your addiction," then all of a sudden the addict feels "I need to get some help or I am going to lose my marriage." The need has been transferred. It is the same with any kind of problematic behavior of a person who is not taking feedback and ownership. The need and drive to do something about it must be transferred to that person, and that is done through having consequences that finally make him feel the pain instead of others. When he feels the pain, he will feel the need to change...' (page 142).

Is there something you know needs to have a necessary ending? And further, will you have the courage to create the ending that you know it needs?

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