If your goal is to make your advancement program more effective.
If your goal is to make your program more professional.
If your goal is to raise significantly more money than you’ve done previously.
If your goal is to engage your volunteers in activities they’ve never done before.
If your goal is to create any type of lasting change with others, you must take these 3 steps:
- Identify, applaud (i.e., honor) and vow to keep whatever is good, productive, helpful, or special about the past.
- Ask others what opportunities and aspirations they have for the future of your work together (this is the change you are seeking).
- Ask others how you, together, can build upon those past positive and helpful aspects to fully achieve the opportunities and aspirations for the future.
If a leader begins by pointing out the problems or shortcomings of the past, people will react defensively. People will react territorially. People will react passive-aggressively. People will not be supportive of change.
However, if the first actions are to acknowledge what is good, what is working, what is unique or special about all that has come before and, then, to affirm, “that building upon those strengths is our best path forward,” leaders will engender support and ownership of the plans for change.
And, if you are a leader who is new to a group, a program, or an institution, this approach is not simply another helpful option.
For a new leader to create lasting change without rebuilding from scratch, this approach is the only option.