Successfully Surfing the Waves of Change


By Chris Gandy
Change is everywhere. It is constantly spoken about, written about, and thought about. So much so that it seems almost passe’ to be writing this blog post about it – but at the risk of boring you and hitting the delete button here goes.
To me dealing with change is like surfing.  There are waves of change coming at us. As leaders of organisations our challenge is in which wave to pick. The wrong ones at best will sap a lot of energy for no return or a worst dump us with and almost lethal wipeout. The right one though will take us on an exhilarating ride where we can show to the world our creativity and skill.
In the not for profit sector here are three waves I think it might be worth waxing your surfboard to try to catch.
WAVE 1 – Big Data
As Meghan H Biro noted in a recent Forbes article:
‘Here’s a mind-blowing fact … research from IBM shows that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. I find this fascinating. It means that companies have access to an unprecedented amount of information: insights, intelligence, trends, future-casting … it’s a gold mine of Big Data.’
From a not for profit perspective so much information is now there in realtime to tell us how our stakeholders are thinking, feeling, wanting, needing. Monitor this and respond in a measured way. Your Cause is bound to benefit tremendously!
WAVE 2 – Workforce Flexibility
Work patterns, organisational structures and the labour market are changing dramatically – and here’s the thing, they will not go back to the way they were!  The era of the “Independent Expert” is dawning. The corporate sector is grabbing hold of this development with both hands by perfecting their supply chain management skills. Not for profits seem to be lagging behind in this area and it is something that needs to be addressed – and quickly. Already we are seeing large corporates take giant strides in the areas of Employment Services, Health Care and Aged Care. If the sector fails to take advantage of this wave it will continue to lose the talent battles and eventually the war.
WAVE 3 – Community Attitudes Towards Giving
 There is more and more evidence being provided to demonstrate that our approach to supporting the sector is changing. Just two weeks ago The Economist published a report examining how Generations X and Y (those born between 1966 – 1994) are transforming the landscape. They enunciate “a strong desire to have a measurable, enduring impact”. Also they are “focussed on data, measurement and demonstrable results. More than any other generation, they want to check facts, know all the information ahead of time and ensure that they are well informed at every stage of the process”.  Are you setting up your organisation’s programs and communication strategy to take advantage of this wave? Can you clearly show the social impact that flows from your programs? If not you had better do something about it. The people who are judging you are interested in facts not rhetoric.
So it is a long weekend coming up in this part of the world. The weather is great, the surf is up, so go and catch some good waves. Enjoy the thrill and at the same time think about the other waves you can catch to take your cause to another level and not dump it on the rocks.


Chris is the founder and a director of Cause and Effective – an organisation dedicated to helping cause-based organisations maximise their social impact.


About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s