It’s usual to resist change. Those who aren’t pulling their own (or any) weight know that their gigs can be threatened if they don’t do a whirlwind job of convincing change agents just how essential they are. Those who are pulling their own weight (or more) know that their livelihoods are threatened because they are too busy working to prove how essential they are to the operation.
At the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 49th International Conference on Fundraising, Mary C. McQueen, executive director of development at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, spoke of how her office went through a thorough re-evaluation and restructuring in the face of shrinking funds and increased demands.
The results were positive. None of the nine full-time employees in the department lost a job, money was saved and fundraising improved. That doesn’t mean that there was no consternation within the organization, however. McQueen outlined the challenges faced and lesson learned:
- A massive learning curve for new staff.
- Moving cheese makes the native nervous. The challenge is keeping the team focused on tasks and goals.
- It’s important to share concepts, not details, of the reorganization.
- Focus on opportunities for professional growth, not deletion of positions.
- Build bridges, not walls. Allies come from unexpected corners.
- At each step, search for options and guidance from trusted sources. Be open and listen. Then choose what works.