Challenge and rewards of change management

Change can be as hard as it is necessary. Nonprofit leaders immersed themselves Monday in ideas and approaches to managing change in their organizations, with a sharp focus on how to get emotional and technical “buy-in” from their staffs.

At an interactive pre-conference session on Organizational Management: Building Change Competency at the Wipfli Stronger to Serve national training conference, trainers Deron Kling and Daniel Bashore acknowledged that the prospect of change is difficult for many people, but when they’re forced into changing structure, practices and processes, opportunities for growth can be tremendous.

“You need to build people’s awareness of change and build people’s desire to want to change,” Bashore said. “We’re here to help you prepare for, manage and reinforce change. It’s important to be able to test whether people can follow the new processes. There’s a lot we can do to provide knowledge and ability to help you roll out and implement change that affects employees.”

In a surprising observation to some attendees, Kling said that top-down change coming from leadership is likely to be more effective than consensus-driven change.

Many organizations found that the sudden operational changes required during the COVID-19 pandemic actually boosted their confidence in their change management competence, which is a plus going forward, said Kling.

Participants discussed their current challenges and search for answers.

“As we’re going through reorganization, I’m looking forward to building on my leadership skills.

We need to figure out how to work with the resistance to change,” said Esperanza Contreras, partnership administrator with the Community Action Partnership of Kern in Bakersfield, Calif.

Xiomara Guevara, who recently took on a new role as chief operating officer of Greater Bergen Community Action in Hackensack, N.J., agreed.

“It’s good to know you’re not alone in taking on changes,” she said.

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