True Change: A Matter of Strategy and Culture
Organizational changes are challenging enough, but the issue of child sexual abuse prevention and what you can do to better protect the children/youth in your care comes with extra challenges. This particular change forces everyone in your organization to consider the uncomfortable truth of child sexual abuse, and acknowledge the real possibility that the children you seek to support may also be exposed to risk through participation in your programs. The idea that “one of us” could sexually abuse a child is hard for many to accept.
Research from Industrial/Organizational psychologists suggests that true system change in an organization requires strategies and actions that impact the entire structure in positive ways, with outcomes that:
- Are tangible and measurable
- Have a wide-ranging social appeal
- Benefit the lives of people both inside and outside of the organization
- Create decision making and communication structures for ongoing dialogue and permanent (sustainable) change
- Bring about change by changing traditional practice and, most importantly, by changing traditional behaviors into new ways of thinking and doing that create buy-in and a motivation to succeed
These elements, however, must be part of a process that brings the conversation between you, your managers and supervisors, and your staff and volunteers to a very different level than a set of mandates about new policies, procedures, programs, and timelines. Two important factors in this process are the strategy for change (the roadmap for defining and implementing the changes considered necessary for your organization’s growth or development) and the culture in which the change needs to occur (organizational mindset, history, decision-making style, behaviors, accountability structures, etc.).
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