What creates a willingness for Association culture change?

President & CEO


This is the fifth in a series on Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

by John M. Bernard

What creates a willingness for Association culture change? So much has been written about change management. However, during my 30+ years doing this work I have discovered the primary lever to successful change, especially cultural change. Understanding that lever doesn’t mean Association culture change comes easily, but it does significantly increase the chance of success.

The primary lever to successful Association culture change is that the change makes sense to people.

In my experience, the reason our Association management system drives culture change is not mysterious.  In fact, the management system works because the underlying premise rings true in people’s heads and hearts.

What is is true about the Association management system are the following beliefs:

  • Every human being has gifts, interests, and passions
  • Every employee wants to be in service to some effort or cause bigger than themselves
  • Leaders must respect what people have to offer and effectively put it to work to create winning organizations

This set of beliefs — in the value of each and every human being — is what breathes energy and excitement into the Associations that choose to work with us.

Change They Believe In

Association CultureAs you look at Association culture change, understanding that people will embrace change they believe in, establishes the test for the success of any change effort.

Once people understand that their Association leaders authentically share in beliefs such as those mentioned above — and genuinely want to bring them to life — they cannot help but respond supportively.

Change is never easy, but it is much easier when it is good and when it is right.

What creates a willingness for Association culture change?

I’ll close with one thought, one that has become very clear to me as Mass Ingenuity grows. We as a company have to be diligent about preserving our foundational beliefs in the inherent good of people. As we grow, this is sacred ground for us, ground which we must protect because it is the foundation of our success.

Next week I’ll share some thinking on the ways on organization’s culture can hamper change.