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Get Excited About the Possibilities That Change Brings - 10/6/2015 -

Get Excited About the Possibilities That Change Brings

Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting presenter Ann Michael gives three concrete ideas on how association publishers can more effectively manage change.

By Apryl Motley, CAE

"Be the change you want to see in the world.” This well-intended and often quoted directive from Gandhi presumes that people are open to and willing to initiate change, which is not always the case.

Association media and publishing professionals know this all too well. As members of an industry that is constantly adapting, they may feel the winds of change blowing before others in their organizations. The challenge becomes getting others on board, but there are strategies for managing change effectively.

This was the gist of Ann Michael’s presentation, which opened the second day of Association Media & Publishing’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Michael is president of Delta Think, a publishing and digital media consultancy focused on innovation in product strategy, development, and management.

Her goal was for attendees to "leave with concrete ideas for what you can do within your organization to effectively manage change and be even more excited about the possibilities it brings.”

To that end, she suggested three strategies:

1. Engage in relentless focus on the user. Segment and prioritize your audience. Then determine what you know about the needs of the highest priority segments, and formulate a strategy for fulfillment based on which of those needs align most closely with who you are and what you do.

2. Bake in communication. Create cross-functional teams to work across silos. Define products and processes that require multidisciplinary teams. Align objectives and incentives with a culture of collaboration.

3. Experiment. Redefine failure as not learning anything new. Re-examine your risk tolerance for trying new initiatives. Consider creating an experimentation fund.

In addition to outlining these broader strategies, Michael offered these quick tips for implementing change at your association:

  • Be inclusive.
  • Start small and expand.
  • Be transparent about the process and objectives.
  • Listen to customers, staff, and members; assess feedback honestly
  • Don’t give up.

And above all else, Michael said, "Remember change isn’t something that happens to someone else.”

Apryl Motley, CAE is a communications and publishing consultant and freelance writer.


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