Saturday, March 05, 2005

Convincing doubters.....

In a comment posted yesterday, Ken asked: "...can you discuss effective ways to change stubborn mindsets (of CEOs and Boards) in secular and religious charitable organizations to open to the many great ideas you bring to the table...?"
Thanks, Ken, good question. Not only related to convincing people to adopt my ideas, but for the many of us who struggle to get people to change at all!

OK, long answer. First, you don't have to convince some people--they are already with you. There's another group that will NEVER buy in to what you want to do. It's the third group, the people in the middle that you need to convince. This is the bell curve, and it rules in most social change interactions.

The people who you CAN convince (the others have their minds set) are who you want to address. Just a reality check: You can't get em all.

Next, remember my adage---the job of a steward (and all staff and volunteers are stewards) is to get the most mission out the door using ALL the resources at hand. That includes new ideas, changes in policy, best practices.

Depending on the group and the change needed, there are a few ways to jump start them--and it depends on the group dynamics.

1. Group reading: Have the group read materials that support the ideas you want to convey. Make sure that the readings focus on how the organization got better at what it does. Make the readings short, and discuss what's being learned in between readings. For example, you might read a key book two or three chapters a week.

2. Group discussion with an outside facilitator. Get them talking about best practices, how the organization can improve. The outside facilitator keeps an objective viewpoint

3. Field trip: go see other organizations that have adapted to the changes you want to implement. Seeing is believing, and it overcomes a lot of resistance. Make sure there is time to meet with staff and board of the field trip organizations.

4. Standards. If what you are trying to change is part of a set of standards like Maryland Nonprofits' Standards of Excellence, then use them!

5. Keep at it. Most significant change takes a long time. A great book on change management is The Heart Of Change by John Kotter.

Changing minds is very, very hard. But changing them to help the people you serve is worth the effort....


Ken said...

Thank you, Peter. As always, a great response!


Joshy said...

Found a lot of useful info on your site about Change Management - thank you. Haven't finished reading it yet but have bookmarked it so I don't lose it. I've just started a Change Management blog myself if you'd like to stop by