Things change all the time, and quickly. Especially for a small staff association.
Your association could be faced with any number of changes. Examples include leadership, board positions, meeting or event space, and finally (the subject most familiar to us) your Association Management Software.
Unfortunately, change isn’t necessarily anyone’s favorite thing. Here are some tips to get your staff members, board, and members through the big shifts that are bound to happen.
1) Be sure you completely understand what’s going on
You have to own the transition. In big changes, things tend to get a little unsettled, and you need to be the rock. Make sure you know the ins and outs of what’s going on, and be prepared to answer questions. If there’s a change in leadership, have a clear plan as to how it will be addressed. If you have a change of AMS, be sure you have a working understanding of the software and a clear path for your members and other admins to learn it as well. Figure that stuff out, or at least a loose framework and some solid, workable suggestions to bring to your members.
2) Make sure the change is clearly detailed and described
Now’s not the time to keep secrets. Honesty and openness goes a long way when your members have to face a big change. When you’re 100% sure that the change is going to happen and know as many details as possible, let them know ASAP. Be available to answer questions, and be as clear as possible.
3) Ease them into it
Sometimes you have the luxury of time. If you can roll out a big change in baby steps, go for that option. Smaller bites are easier to digest, but be careful, too. If your change requires several status update meetings or a large time commitment, carefully consider if it would be easier and more convenient for your members and board to just knock it all out at once.
4) Ask for feedback
Make your members and board part of the change by asking for and receiving feedback throughout the whole process. It’s an important step to make everyone feel as if they’re involved, and it’s important information and building blocks for future changes.
5) Don’t expect everything to be completely fine
Whatever change your association is facing is probably for the best or necessary, but that doesn’t mean everyone will roll with it. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. NEVER assume everyone is just fine with the changes. Ask questions!
Remember that above all, your members want your association to be successful too. You all share similar passions, and have related goals. Your members will respect your need to make decisions that are the best for the group. Just keep communication open, and everything should go smoothly.
Think you might be ready for a change in AMS? Take our test and see!