Changing the Way We “Change”

There is one word many organizations shudder at when they hear it: change. Whether it’s implementing a new management system, a new website, or upgrading existing products, association staff is very concerned with how change will impact network infrastructure, day-to-day routines and member experience. But remember that change stimulates creativity, stirs the imagination and brings new focus–these are all great things to bring to your organization, at any point in time.

We tend to be over-protective of our daily routines: entering records a certain way into our AMS, exporting and sorting (and re-sorting) data, processing transactions, or generating/printing/reconciling reports. We are also concerned for our members’ expectations when they are on our websites and how they might be disrupted by change.

Of course change can be stressful but, more often than not, change has the ability to push your association toward a more engaging and productive environment–among your staff, your industry and your constituents. 

If you are considering technology change in your association, consider the following:

  • Upgrades often bring new tool sets that will allow your staff to complete tasks in a more efficient manner.
  • Newer versions of software often have critical updates that patch security flaws, offer compliance with safe-storing data standards and resolve bugs.
  • Added features may give your association the ability to utilize new technologies and allow for integrations with cutting edge tool kits or plug-ins.

Learning curves will exist with any new/upgraded system.  However, once the gaps in knowledge between versions are filled, you and your staff will be thinking and approaching work differently. 

Change should be encouraged–regularly. Instead of saying “No” to upgrades because it’d take time to get used to, or ignoring advice because “our members are used to it”, begin your next day by asking “what would I change about [insert your current process].” Chances are this will produce a list of things–which, if you had the right tool/approach, could benefit from change. 

Embracing change means that you’re motivate to make your organization better, and that you’re willing to provide more for your members. It’s important not to miss out on opportunities to change/improve your staff’s access to data or change/enhance the tools your online user’s can leverage to get the content they need. We’ve all heard the saying, “pain is just weakness leaving the body”; so let’s hear that “change is just fear leaving your organization”!

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