Change is one of those inevitable facts of life. It’s GOING to happen, but how you handle it will make all the difference in how you come out on the other side. (Will you shy away vs. will you learn and grow?)
The same goes for associations and chambers. You’ll have many, MANY periods of change over the years — but it’s even more complicated when you have many constituents (staff, members, the board, partners, etc.) who will be impacted, too.
No matter what the change is, here are some do’s (and a don’t) to consider:
Be overly communicative, even if it means being repetitive. People will miss details — it happens! Plan to reiterate your messages a few times, and consider using different channels (email, in-person, phone calls, etc.) too.
Provide abundant training and/or resources. This will look a little different depending on what the change is, but the idea is to ask yourself how you can best support your stakeholders through it.
For example, you’ll want to give staff as much software training as possible when implementing new technology. Or if it’s a change in benefits structure, be sure to provide each member with their current package and what it’ll look like once the new structure is implemented.
Make leadership completely available and approachable. Transparency is KEY. Staff, members, etc. should feel completely comfortable coming to anyone on the leadership team with a question.
Make sure that leadership is prepared to address complaints, too — and not dismiss them. People will be nervous, confused, angry, etc. Do your best to make sure they know they’re being heard while focusing on the positive impacts of the change.
Think about how it’ll affect everyone. Chances are, there’s one group (maybe two) who will be affected the most. That said, be sure to allocate some energy to communicating with others. For example, a change in technology will greatly impact staff, but you’ll also want members to know how it’ll change their experience. (And, ideally, make it better!)
AND THE DON’T?
Don’t ever let the fear of change hold you back. There are a lot of reasons to NOT make a change, but we’re willing to bet you considered them before you decided to move forward. If it’s truly the best decision — one that’ll have the best impact on your organization, your members, and your mission — then it’s time to ride that wave!
Change tends to come with the fresh start of a new year, and one we see often as a software provider IS a search for new technology. If that’s an initiative for your association or chamber, check out our guide for how to select the system that’ll work best for you: