Change management is a process that has been around for some time however, I have only recently become aware that there are consultants who actually specialize in this process and assist businesses in the management of changes within their organizations.
Change is everywhere. When you consider that during my mother’s life for example, she had lived through a depression and a world war and had seen the development of technology which brought about the advancement of computers from large mainframe computers, which filled an entire office floor, using punched cards as input, to accessing the internet from a mobile phone that fits into the palm of your hand.
Some people embrace change. There are a lot of computer savvy octogenarians out there who have discovered that they can access a wealth of information and stay in touch with friends all over the world with the advent of this new technology and all from the comfort of their own home. For these people the internet has become a mechanism for keeping in touch with people at a time perhaps when their mobility has become limited due to ill health or other issues which would otherwise prevent them from going out and socializing.
The way we do our grocery shopping has evolved too. Picking up the essentials daily from the corner store gave us an opportunity to meet with our neighbours and catch up on the local gossip. The corner store was the hub of the local community. Nowadays shopping usually consists of a car trip to a supermarket with a plethora of grocery and other items to choose from. While we have a far greater choice due to the bulk buying capacity of supermarket conglomerates, it is to the detriment of the local community feel and the personal approach. These changes had to come to keep pace with the changing demands of consumer’s lifestyles, but at what cost? Have we lost our sense of community? Have we become more insular?
These are two perspectives of change which are in my mind both just as valid. It is all about people’s perception. As volunteer managers and coordinators we deal with change all of the time, within our own organizations we introduce new programs, recruit new volunteers or deal with other organizational changes which impact on the volunteer service delivery. We deal with changes outside our organizations in the volunteer management sector trying to establish where we fit into the professional world. Perhaps as volunteer managers and coordinators we could learn more about change management strategies to promote our sector to a world that perhaps hasn’t kept up with the changes in volunteering and is perhaps unaware of the existence of the volunteer management sector.