Expert tips: project team survival begins with change management

Gretchen Steenstra | 10.08.14
Topics: Project Management, Association Management - Leadership

If you haven’t been through one yourself, let me break the news to you: any system implementation is a change management experience. Your organization better have a culture that’s ready. It starts at the top. According to Teri Carden (, the mindset of your association’s executive and senior staff about change will determine the ultimate success of your AMS. So what’s an organization to do?

Embrace the change.

Take advantage of this opportunity to review and improve existing processes. However, be aware of and sensitive to any resistance to change among your colleagues. Don’t stereotype people by their age. Risk aversion knows no age limits, nor does tech aversion. 


Sometimes people will come around if you can find a replacement for their “safety blanket” – a report or a process they’re attached to, maybe that membership form they designed 10 years ago. Help them find the next generation of that same form, and you’re likely to ease their discomfort with change. 

Make sure the people on the project team don’t think it’s a horrible, overwhelming chore. Break the process down into manageable chunks for those who have to do the work. And don’t forget to celebrate each milestone and make time for fun – a key aspect to any successful organizational change.

I’m not the expert on transformative change, but I’ve helped facilitate many change management experiences in associations, particularly in their adoption of a new AMS. (Even system upgrades can be traumatic to some people – change management to the rescue!) Here’s some further reading to help you understand the impact of change – and to guide your organization through it. Check them out, then give us your feedback or share your own favorite resources in the comments.

Also, from The DelCor Connection blog:

Finally, be sure to review my other posts in this series:


Flickr photo by chintermeyer

About Gretchen Steenstra

A PMP and Professional Facilitator, Gretchen has more tricks up her sleeve than she has, well, sleeves! Extremely active in the association community, you'll find her just about everywhere—from ASAE to AMS Fest. Lucky for us, you can also find her here on The DelCor Connection.

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