Being a change agent – Part 1

This is Part One of a two-part post about implementing a change planning framework. Part Two will post next week.

Written by Colette Martin-Wilde and Megan Anderson, Strategy Development & Change Partners, Rotary International, with examples from Zone 26 RRFC Pam Russell

We live in a rapidly changing world, and Rotary is changing along with it. Change is inevitable and can be difficult.

The role of a change agent is to articulate vision, provide information and resources, develop a plan and listen. As a regional leader, you are often called upon to serve as a change agent; but once you have decided to help guide others, where do you begin?

Change Management-1

Using a change planning framework can help you anticipate where resistance to change may occur and provide others with the resources they need to smoothly transition.

There are five key areas to consider when introducing a new process or program.

  1. Vision – What will the process or program look like, once the change is complete?

Pam Russell: Once the vision is defined by the district leadership, it should be articulated every chance you get, including presidents-elect training seminars, district  assemblies, grant management seminars, district Rotary Foundation seminars, and the district governor’s club visit.  Once your vision is understood, Rotarians can support it through global and district grants, strategies to strengthen their clubs, and service projects.

  1. Skills–Will the people you’re relying on to implement the change have the skills to do it right? If not, where will they get the needed skills?

Pam Russell: Since there were so many new things to learn with the new funding model, we had the opportunity to take advantage of the skills of Rotarians throughout Zone 26.  We had multiple training sessions with the districts.  The District Rotary Foundation Committee Chair (DRFCC) from one of the pilot districts served as a Future Vision Transition Coordinator and helped improve the skills of the district leaders. 

A good continuity plan is critical to success. Even though you may train a great team, you always have to be prepared in case someone has to step away from a position.  We have had a few folks step down early.  This led to individualized training of new leaders, generally with the regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, a neighboring DRFCC and others within the district.

3. Incentives–Tangible benefits can often help people adopt change more quickly. The intangible is the “what’s in it for me” factor.

Pam Russell: Rotarians who participate in global and district grants  immediately see the benefit of working through The Rotary Foundation. It is important to communicate these advantages to other Rotarians as well.  Each year, Rotarians in District 5170 host a number of beneficiaries from their global grants. These individuals travel around the district, visiting clubs and the district conference. Their stories truly inspire the Rotarians in the district to be more engaged with the  Foundation.

Come back here next week for the final two areas of the change planning framework and conclusion.

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1 thought on “Being a change agent – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Being a change agent – Part 2 | Regional Leader Blog

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