At this year’s ASAE Annual Conference, I moderated a session called, Walking the Talk of Change Leadership. At the beginning of the session, we asked audience members to write the questions they about the topic on index cards. We told one change leadership story then spent the rest of the session answering as many questions as we could. You can read an article about the session here. These were the questions we did not get to during the session.
1. Change in part takes a diverse board (gender, ethnicity, and age). How do you achieve that? “No more old white men boards.”
If you are not already doing so, implement and enforce term limits. Be proactive about publicizing the application and nominations process for your board. Get beyond current board members’ personal networks. Those networks will most likely be mirrors of who is already on your board. Create leadership development programs to train and prepare new leaders. Prioritize investing in emerging leaders who bring new perspectives to your board. And do not assume it’s only about emerging leaders – there may be leaders in your midst that you have simply looked past.
2. Why change? What we’re doing is working!
It is challenging to move any change forward if there is not any sense of urgency or recognition that issues exist. Consider helping those guarding the status quo to consider wider trends that could impact the organization. Or start elsewhere with a few allies. Start small and share successes.
3. How do you promote change and new ideas without current staff freaking out?
What are current staff freaking out about? What is it about the change that is upsetting them? Have you asked them? Is there something you can learn from their resistance? Can you iterate in way that addresses their concerns? Which ideas are low hanging fruit and could be implemented relatively easily? Share your early wins with those who are afraid of changes to demonstrate the benefits.
4. How to convince the board permanent staff is required versus volunteers?
Build the business case for the change. What is not currently getting done or done consistently with volunteers? What skills and knowledge are unique to your volunteer base? What would benefit from being professionalized? What will each group bring to the table to create a greater partnership? Who would benefit from making the change? What will the upsides be to making the shift? Also address the downsides so that those considering the change do not feel like they are being “sold.”
5. How do you manage the change as the change is happening?
Recognize and acknowledge to your staff that it may not feel like “management” while things are in flux. Even if things are moving fast, take a little time out to take stock and see where you are, where you have come from and what is coming next. Celebrate your small wins along the way.
6. How do you create energy for radical change when there is no crisis or chaos acting as a lever?
It is unlikely that you will be able to move quickly to radical change without a crisis. Consider where can you create energy for change, even if it is not yet radical. You might consider facilitating a conversation that helps the group consider the environmental trends that could spur a crisis if the organization is not paying attention.
I did a workshop recently on one of the most useful research tools in the design thinking tool kit – the customer journey map.
Mapping the Experience
Customer journey maps usually hone in on a specific interaction that a customer or member has with your organization. A variation on the journey map -- the experience map can zoom a little further out to see the flow of whole experience.
Capturing the ups and down
Regardless of the scale you decide to focus on, the journey map is essentially a blank flow chart that someone fills in detailing the steps they take to accomplish a specific task. Some examples include joining your organization or deciding to attend an event. The map typically include spaces for the person to note their actions, what were highlights and what are pain points.
Thinking, feeling, doing
Especially important is providing space for the person to note their emotions. You might ask the person who is filling out the map to name the experience stages the group the individual steps. Often it is important to capture the context for the interaction including the place, the environment and who is involved. Your goal is to capture what your customer is thinking, feeling and doing.
Be sure to allow customers to draw their own maps. You can then to look for insights from maps. Have your customers or members or participants tell you what theirexperience is rather than assuming you already know. At the same time, it is also useful for you to create a hypothesis journey map to note your thoughts about the experience you are investigating. You can then compare your version to the versions created by actual customers to see where you got it right and what differs.
Making the hidden visible
The journey map captures both the actions that the person takes as well as what is normally hidden. It prompts them to note what they were thinking at the time and what they were feeling. The emotional up and down of an experience will provide key insights into what aspects might need to be improved.
Case study: First timers
During the workshop, we worked on the experience of first timers at an event or conference and identified several pain points including:
What do you need to learn about your members?
You may choose to investigate other aspects of member engagement just as your members deciding to join, deciding to volunteer. What research questions do you have that could benefit from this tool? Download this template for your use.
My passion is helping nonprofit organizations and associations have a greater mission impact.
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