Why is Creating Change in Membership Organization so Difficult?

Jun 8, 2021

This week on the podcast, I talked with David Horning, a comedian-turned-public speaker who shared about using humor as a strategy to break through the status quo. 

Our conversation got me thinking about change and why it’s so difficult for people (and organizations) to do.

I believe change is challenging for several reasons:

  1. Habits are strong and pervasive.
    The average person has far more habits than they realize. Each morning, you wake up and follow the same routine. You take the same path to work. You think the same thoughts as you did the day before. Much of your day and night is a repeat of the last 500.
    When you feel bored, you soothe yourself in the same 2-3 ways each time. You only eat a few foods regularly. You talk to the same people.

Habits cause us to avoid thinking. They’re done automatically. Anything that minimizes thinking seems to be your brain’s preference. The fewer decisions, the better.
To change, you must be certain that change is in your best interest. Otherwise, your habits will always win.

  1. Change is hard because it’s uncomfortable.
    You already know how to lose 25 pounds or how to find a better job. But the thought of taking the actions necessary to accomplish those goals creates discomfort.
  2. What you’re doing is already working…well, sort of working.
    Your brain is preoccupied with your survival. Our brains are programmed to resist change, because what you’re doing is allowing you to live. Any change could potentially lead to death. You might be unhappy today, but you’re still alive!
  3. You’ve likely tried to change in the past and failed.
    If you’ve tried to change several times and failed, part of you says, “Obviously, I can’t change. What’s the use in trying?” It isn’t easy to change, but change is possible. Smaller changes are easier to accomplish and to maintain.


So, as we think about how we can help board members, committee members, and just regular members create any desired change, there are a few things that we might need to do.

  • First, be prepared and expect that change will be challenging. Your odds of success improve if you’re prepared. Have a plan. Help members create a vision for what they want and a plan to get there.
  • Start small. To minimize the discomfort that change creates, only change a little each week. What can members do that moves them in small ways toward their goal?
  • Have patience. Strategically sprinkle in quick wins where you can in the member experience to keep things motivating!
  • Prepare for consequences. Sometimes creating change is like playing the “Whack-A-Mole” game at a carnival. You bop one challenge down and up pops another one in a different place. Accept that this happens and know that it doesn’t mean that the original change isn’t worth it.

Helping members plan for, and work toward, incremental change is the key to long-term success and will ultimately create raving fans about the transformational experience that they’ve achieved by becoming engaged with your organization. This is universally true no matter what your area of focus may be.

If you didn’t catch the episode with David, I’d encourage you to check it out here!

If topics like this intrigue you, JourneyCARE will, too.

One of the primary reasons why I developed the JourneyCARE platform is because I wanted to make it easier to make change happen in your member experience.  I wanted it to be as simple as, “if we know ‘X’ about someone, then do ‘A’, and ‘B’, and ‘C’… but if we know ‘Y’ about someone, then do ‘D’, and ‘E’, and ‘F’ instead.”

In a nutshell, we’re using tools inside the JourneyCARE software to automatically do what you’d probably love to do on a one-on-one basis with every person you serve. The effect is simply magical. 

If you’d like to see a tour of what JourneyCARE can do, you’ll find a recorded version on the website and you can easily get there by going to joyofmembership.com/software.

Like this article?

   I’ll bet you’re going to *LOVE* JourneyCARE…  what is JourneyCARE?

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

If you’re the type of person that is committed to providing an exceptional member experience and you’d like to attract, engage, and retain members more easily, you’ll want to check out the new software platform I’ve created to support you.

It’s called JourneyCARE, http://journeycare.app, and there’s a good chance that when you see it, you’ll realize that you’ve always wished for something exactly like it.

Come on over and check it out.  I’ll see you over there.