“Should We Try Something New?”

Glenn Tecker

Do you have “wantivation” or “motivation” for your new idea?

When everything seems “up in the air,” it can seem like an ideal time to do something new. But is it? And if it is the right time to innovate, what do you need to know in order to do it effectively? This blog post offers advice for the leader who feels curious about trying something new.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Should we try something new? Maybe.

In today’s era of heightened uncertainty and fluid change, the current tolerance for experiments (and mistakes) does not mitigate a CEO’s accountability for successful innovation.

For most members, innovation means “a change that makes something better.”

A change that does not make something better is, at best, an experiment from which to learn. At worst, it was a bad idea that wasted their money and time. We should all try to avoid that.

Change belongs to the whole, not the individual

Understanding and appreciating the human dynamics in the relationships of members and staff leaders is essential. Especially when the cultures of volunteer leader groups, staff, and membership may not be the same.

Whoever you engage, look for assistance from someone who understands that directives and orders do not work in an association community as they work in the hierarchy of a business, institution, or agency.

Associations are weird.

Traditional strategies of motivation do not have the same effect in a voluntary environment where key players must decide that they want to support and participate in a change. We refer to this dynamic as “wantivation” as differentiated from “motivation” …because the strategies and skills involved in earning it are different.

Motivation comes from the outside. Wantivation comes from the inside.

To be wantivated, an individual must conclude that support and participation are in their own self-interest. They must see the benefit to themselves whether it is a positive feeling of altruism or the self-interest of financial gain. 

To be successful, you need these six things

Our experience suggests several key attributes of a successful change initiative in an association:

  • Attain buy-in. Earn the understanding and support from key stakeholders through meaningful involvement. This will help you all along the way. 
  • Over-communicate the reason for the change. Make sure stakeholders understand why you are opting for this change. You can obtain support for the desired outcome of a change initiative by focusing on the value or benefit it will provide to members and mission. 
  • Manage expectations. Create appropriate expectations for the somewhat unpredictable nature of a change journey. Misunderstandings and disappointment arise when expectations are misaligned.
  • Keep an eye on risk. Have a process for managing risk as the effort progresses. This system should allow for advancing, adjusting, or abandoning an effort at each significant phase.
  • Make the change easier for others. Attend to the transition people will need to make in their beliefs and behaviors. Also smooth any necessary transformations of organizational structure, process, or culture.
  • Continuous honest communication. Share news about progress, problems, and the next steps as the work progresses. Communicate when insight is developed and adjustments are made.

Want to learn more? Reach out to us or check out one of our free resources!

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