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Get Involved: Embracing change

Embracing change

By Alison Rogers, Executive Member EcoNetwork Port Stephens.

Although change is inevitable, it is not necessarily easy. Working with a group where everyone has different ideas, ways of working, approaches to learning and ways of processing information, means it can be hard to convey how change is going to be of benefit. Managing change can be difficult for volunteer groups. If a change process is not handled correctly, it has the potential to alienate some members.

Most volunteer groups have an overarching vision or goal that they are working towards. If you are supporting a group through change management, it is important to be able to articulate this goal clearly and keep it at the forefront of your co-workers’ minds. This vision is the reason you are working together. Demonstrating that the change will help the group achieve this ambition will be fundamental to help people move forward. Your co-workers may not move at the same speed or even using the same approach, but this does not matter if they understand that they are all headed towards achieving the same mutually beneficial goal.

Autumn embracing change. Photo © Ewa Stacewicz

Find engaging ways to explain details about how the changes will achieve your common vision:

  • Use stories or simple explanations that connect the short-term changes with the long-term, big-picture perspective
  • Support your co-workers to express in their own way how the change could benefit the group
  • Share how the change is connected to the goal in a written, visual or oral format that is meaningful for the group
  • Make it personal by sharing stories or individual journeys to emotionally connect the change with the group’s vision
  • Show how, on a one-on-one basis, your co-worker and the change required is linked to what the group is trying to achieve and how it aligns with the underlying values
  • Connect the change to your co-workers’ personal experiences and use examples relevant to their lives.

A change process can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience if people believe the change is worthwhile. If it aligns with their underlying values, it resonates with the overarching goal and it is communicated in a way that they can see the benefits, then the process has a higher chance of success.

If you have enjoyed this segment of Get Involved keep an eye out for the final instalment ‘Enjoying the journey’. Send comments, feedback or ideas for new topics to

References and further reading:

Published: 8 Nov 2022