Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Volunteer Management Sector Tipping Point

According to Malcolm Gladwell the tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses an invisible threshold and spreads like wildfire.

How do we as a Volunteer Management Sector get our new ideas and changes to be contagious and tip?

Gladwell also talks about the 20-60-20 change principle. In explaining this I will apply it to our sector.

The 20-60-20 principle states that generally the following occurs with people in organisations who are going through the change process.

20%
will take the new idea on board and be willing to try change

60% will sit on the fence at the beginning of the change process

20% will be cynical about change and will only come on board with the new initiative when the critical mass (I.e. the above 80%) has moved forward.

I believe we have similar figures when it comes to new ideas and thought for Volunteer Management and the Volunteerism sector as a whole. I’ve met the change champions and the supporters, have seen the “wait and see” crowd and the fence sitters and have had reactions from the negative resistant saboteurs!

All of course when applied to certain ideas or suggested changes for our sector including

To educate up – no! To really educate up!

To really educate people of influence about our roles – Our managers, Our Boards, Our CEOs, Our MPs, Senators, Our Peak bodies on Volunteering, Other Management and leadership sectors. To really do this. To stop just talking this.

To get rid of our big buts


Our bad habit of not progressing by telling ourselves big Big But stories – “But the boss never listens – But I am just a volunteer coordinator – But Ive tried this before – But I don’t think we are a sector – But it’s the volunteers that matter not us – But ….but…but….but….

To Demand fair pay for Managers of Volunteer Services, Department and Programs

To Demand Adequate Resources for same


To recognise that volunteering comes in many forms and is shifting from some old paradigms

To have the ability to adapt to real change in volunteering trends and to not bury our heads in the sand about such change

To recognise the trends ourselves and to recognise that experienced Volunteer managers can be the experts in trending!

For Volunteerism to truly embrace our Volunteer Management Sector

To move out of our echo chambers and embrace concepts of leadership from outside our sector

To seek wisdom from other sectors and to likewise share ours

To Make International Volunteer Managers Day an United Nations Recognised Day

Some of the changes our sector need. Some we are working towards.

20% will take the new ideas on board and be willing to try change

60% will sit on the fence at the beginning of the change process

20% will be cynical about change and will only come on board with the new initiative when the critical mass (I.e. the above 80%) has moved forward.

Where are you now?

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer. ~Shunryu Suzuki

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher

The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions. ~Ellen Glasgow


The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. ~William Blake

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

Volunteering is changing – we’ve known this for awhile. If Volunteer Management and the volunteerism sector stays still, as I suspect they are doing, we will be so far behind wondering what that spot in the distance is…not realizing that it is, in fact, moving away from us. That spot is volunteering. It’s time to change…if only to keep up! – DJ Cronin

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