When you work in IT, there are two things you can usually count on when you make a big technology change at your association: 1. It won’t go 100 percent smoothly on day one and 2. That it will make 100 percent of the employees at your association frustrated.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you set your staff’s expectations, explain what you’re doing and why (i.e. “This is going to make your life easier!”), you will put them in the right mindset to not only embrace change, but also get excited about becoming part of the process, says Roy Youngman the head of Member Experience and Knowledge Management at BRM Institute.
Recently, BRM Institute — the global community of Business Relationship Management professionals — made a big change in their membership management system. They switched to Impexium, a modern cloud-based membership management platform, to become empowered to make better decisions, execute with precision, and delight their members.
Youngman, who has 40 years of experience in the I.T. industry, knew that this would be a great thing for the association—and he also knew that this change would remove some people from their comfort zone. And having taken on the role of change-maker before, he employed some proven tactics to get everyone ready for the evolution: “I told everyone that when we made the switch, there were two important things to keep in mind: One is that we're going to run into some hiccups along the way—we don't know what they are yet, but they will come and that is normal. And the second thing is that all hiccups are fixable. I assured them that Impexium wouldn't have the “who’s who” of successful forward-thinking associations in their client base and wouldn't be recognized as a leader in the AMS space if they didn't have ways to solve the challenges that we’re eventually going to run into.”
Youngman felt this it was extremely important for his coworkers to develop a sense of ownership and pride in their new system. He stressed the fresh and exciting opportunities Impexium had to offer and painted a compelling vision of “new and cool” things to do which were previously considered inconceivable.
To ensure stamina and fortitude during any initial bumps in the road, Youngman employed an ingenious method for getting folks to get onboard with Impexium’s platform: He didn’t call it Impexium. “Impexium allows you to rename the system for internal users, and that’s what we did. So, when our team goes into the system, it’s not called ‘Impexium,’ it is called ‘Jade’, carefully chosen as a tribute to the person most responsible for managing member data historically – someone who is well-respected and well-liked.” This created a strong feeling of ownership for the team, says Youngman: “As a Team, this is our system - we all want it to work so we look for ways to make it work when we run into issues rather than just complain about them.”
Another aspect of being a changemaker that Youngman embraces is keeping an eye on what’s next. He says that BRM Institute is preparing for an exciting future, utilizing Impexium now in anticipation of rapid and massive growth to come.
More members mean more business activity and Impexium is the cornerstone of the BRM Institute scalability strategy. More members also means more data about members and their needs. That data is a key piece of the puzzle to sustaining and thriving. “I'm not a believer in only making fact-based decisions because I think human intuition, curiosity and innovation goes beyond what data will tell you. However, you do have to look at the data and try to understand what it is telling you,” says Youngman. “I don't think the data can ever actually tell you what to do. But sometimes it can tell you what not to do. Understanding your past provides key information to understand your improvement efforts and make decisions that change your future for the better.”
Change may be the only constant in business — but that doesn’t make organizational transformation any easier. Association leaders are balancing competing priorities and increasing demands, enough to make even the most driven executive fall victim to the inertia of the status-quo.
But not every association stays still while the world seems to change around them. For his willingness to upset the association technology status-quo, Impexium is proud to recognize Roy Youngman as one of 2019’s Association Technology Disruptors!
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