Managing Change Is an Ongoing Process
Most associations realize the need for change. There is change involved in the process of growing, changes that need to be made to meet the needs of a diverse membership base, and change involved in adopting new technologies, delving into new membership drives, meeting ever-stricter government regulations, and many other issues facing today's association industry.
What organizations struggle with is the ongoing nature of change. Once the decision's been made to try something new, it's human nature to attempt to dictate instantaneous change, without the continual, evolving process of change management. This is where AMS software can help.
Define the Changes & Set Change Goals
In order to know whether you meet the goals that change is intended to achieve, you have to establish goals that are quantified, not just qualified. For example, "sign up new members" is a nebulous idea, not a quantified goal. In theory, adding a single new member to your association's roster would achieve this goal. However, "boost membership in the Atlanta metro area by 5 percent before Q4" is a quantified goal that can be measured, monitored, and, therefore, achieved. The analytical and reporting features of your AMS can be used to track the progress and determine when this goal is actually met.
Establish Metrics to Track Progress
The example above is easy to visualize in terms of tracking the metrics associated with change. But there are instances where it's less obvious what metrics will need to be tracked. For instance, if your goal is to improve member engagement, how will you determine if that goal is achieved? Your AMS can be helpful here, too. Begin by establishing a quantifiable goal, such as: achieve a 3 percent increase in membership comments on the association's blog or improve newsletter email open rates by 8 percent. Then develop a means to achieve the goal, such as boosting your blog via social media or improving the email subject lines. Now you can begin tracking the progress of your efforts.
Get Change Leaders Involved
Since change is ongoing, it's important to have leaders on board who are in it for the long haul. Change leaders aren't always the ones sporting fancy titles. Sometimes, the best leaders are those who work behind the scenes to motivate, encourage, and even correct others to keep the process of change on track. Change leaders can come in the form of executive sponsors, who understand the need for the changes and are willing to spearhead the process. But change leaders can also be any people within the organization with a passion for making improvements and the ability to motivate people and keep them motivated. These change leaders need to have regular meetings or other means to collaborate, and must have access to the metrics that are being used to track progress.
Finally, your change leaders have to have the authority to push forward when there is resistance. Even when the changes are clearly positive, people are naturally resistant to making change. Change is scary. Change leaders can help convey the importance of the changes, help guide individuals in the steps necessary to make the changes, and even insist that proper procedures are followed when people are reluctant to embrace the changes.
Reinforce the Change of the Corporate Culture
In order for change to be ongoing and lasting, the corporate culture within the association needs to reflect the change. This isn't always a top-down thing, although it can be. Use your change leaders as organizational ambassadors, helping others see the benefits, have faith in the outcome, and change the habits and attitudes that can hinder meaningful, lasting change.
AMS software is immensely helpful in tracking and faciliting ongoing change. Learn what to expect when you download the e-book: Implementing Your AMS: What to Expect Along the Way.
About Jennifer Barrell
As the Director of Content, Branding & Buzz at Aptify, Jen oversees the strategy and execution of brand management and content production across the organization’s global offices. She thrives on bringing compelling content and useful information to associations to help them grow and engage their membership. She's also an avid fan of mid-century modern design and all things science fiction.