Coaches and team leaders have a difficult job. In some cases, they’re trying to rescue a team or program that has been in steady decline (or even crisis) for many years. They might lack resources, facilities, talent, and support. Perhaps they’ve inherited a program that no one wants to be part of, shown by the rapid departure of many coaches through the years. The deck is stacked against them and they’ve been told that no one can rescue and build that program.

Proverbs 28:2–“By the transgression of a land many are its princes, but by a man of understanding and knowledge,  so it endures.”

A land in this verse, or a team in our context, goes through many rulers or coaches/leaders because of its transgressions. Yet, when a leader with understanding and knowledge arrives on the scene, things can change for good.

It takes a God-fearing, God-ordained, God-empowered leader to change a culture.

Here’s what leaders like that do:

They inherit the sins of the past. Some of what leaders deal with isn’t their fault, but that of their predecessors. It’s just the way it is. Deal with it. You can blame the guys you’re following, or just realize that some people won’t follow you until you’ve earned their trust over lots of time.

They clean up messes. Along with inheriting those past sins, leaders must also clean up messes caused by those sins. When things go wrong, whether or not the leader is responsible, the leader cleans is up. It’s just the way it is.

They discern the best next steps. What’s led us to this point? How do people feel about this team/program? Experiences lead to attitudes, which lead to beliefs, which lead to decisions. If we are going to change the culture, what new experiences do those in and around our program need? Leaders start there.

They make decisions. Sometimes unpopular ones. Going a new direction, even if everyone knew the old one was awful, will still come at a high cost. Make that decision anyway.

It is only the “man of understanding and knowledge” who can pull off this sort of culture change. And the understanding and knowledge needed won’t come from a conference or by reading this devotional. It will only come by time–lots of time–spent seeking the One from whom all understanding and knowledge are given.

If you want to change the culture of your team, program, home, church, school, or anything…seek the wisdom and understanding of God. Look at Jesus in the New Testament and see how he went about it. Submit yourself to his leadership. Stop at nothing to gain his wisdom and direction.

Lord Jesus, let the change start with me. Change my heart and mind. Change my ways and then use me to change others. Amen.