Why Fear Isn’t an Option in Association Change Management

My name is Jill, and I’m afraid of…change.

It’s difficult for me to confess that I’m afraid of change, because generally, I’m a very adventurous person. I love to travel, meet new people, and do things I’ve never done before. But when it comes to change at work and home, I tend to be conservative, even risk-adverse. 

I’ve been reading a lot about change the past few months after managing changing market forces, people, projects, and transitions for the past 25+ years, and there are many things I want to share with you over ensuing blog posts covering association change management. Starting with a confession seems the most honest place to begin.

Association change managementThe classic book Who Moved My Cheese? tells a quaint allegorical story about change which classmates at a reunion end up discussing. Here’s a passage from the end of the book:

“I’m curious. How many here are afraid of change?” No one responded so she suggested, “How about a show of hands?”

Only one hand went up. “Well, it looks like we’ve got one honest person in our group!” she said. And then continued, “Maybe you’ll like this next question better. How many here think other people are afraid of change?” Practically everyone raised their hands. Then they all started laughing.

“What does that tell us?”

“Denial,” Nathan answered.

“Sure,” Michael admitted. “Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re afraid. I know I wasn’t. When I first heard the story, I loved the question, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?'”

What a GREAT question! What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What is happening in your organization, that is causing you fear? If you came in as a new hire in your same role with no baggage, what would you change? Or another way to ask the question, If you we’re to start your (fill in the blank: by-laws, governance model, membership structure, advocacy program, web/social media presence, etc.) from scratch, what would it look like?

Association change managementAccording to the book Managing at the Speed of Change, organizations’ views of their future went from 1% in 1970 indicating ‘No Change’ to 75% expecting ‘Continuous, Overlapping Change’ in the early 1990s. And that was 25 years ago! I can only image that the number is close to 99% expecting ‘Continuous, Overlapping Change’ at this point.

The bottom line is: NOT changing is NOT an option. I invite you to join me on a journey to better understand and manage change. What books have influenced you? What skills have you learned? What challenges are you facing? The ability to foresee and manage in the ‘unknown’ is one of the highest and best we can bring to our organizations, our families and ourselves.

My name is Jill, and I’m EXCITED to embrace change!

Guiding a team through change has as much to do with the team as it does with what’s changing. Find out how you can prepare a team for change through a personality assessment.

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