Change is a multifarious thing. It can herald new growth and experiences; it can bring threats and uncertainties; it can herald success and it can bring disappointment. No matter what the change may be, the one constant is that change is more than likely to bring with it a great many ramifications, personally and professionally.
We live in a World that is constantly changing, and changing at an ever-increasing rate it seems. Constant change becomes wearisome and makes us more inclined to stick with the status quo whenever possible. In our workaday lives we seem to be busier and busier yet still have work piling up around our ears and personal goals remaining unattained. By the time 5 o'clock comes along the last thing we want to do is get out of our comfort zone. If it is possible to stay in our comfort zone, why on earth would we want to step out of it?
We are coming up to an important time in the Society's calendar - election of Board representatives for the next two years. The Regional Board Reps are a very important part of our Society. Their role has moved from being little more than titular to the playing of a key part in the leadership of the Society. Electing good representatives for you is crucial in securing the Society's future. Furthermore, it is central to the future of our profession.
How do you find good representatives? All members of a region should be involved in the selection since the person elected has to represent the views of the members of the region. Each member of a region must ask themselves a number of questions:
- How well have your views been represented during the last term?
- How well have branch activities been organised and attended?
- How well has information from the Executive and the Society been relayed back to you?
Sound like a job appraisal? That is exactly what is needed. You may be very satisfied by your present representatives in which case there are some additional thoughts needed. If you are dissatisfied, then this is the time to redeem the situation.
Finding someone to fill the role is not easy but each member must try to identify someone in whom they have confidence to represent their views. That person may need some coaxing and convincing but coax and convince you must. Of course, if you are doing the coaxing, you should have sound reasons why you are not putting yourself up for election!
Why might people be reluctant to accept a nomination for Board representative? There is a fear of the unknown, perhaps in terms of time commitment or confidence in being able to do the job. The time commitment is something of an unknown going into the future but is not great and can be minimised by some effective time-management. Fear of not being able to do the job is a cop out. Sure you will not know what to do when first elected, but one thing you can be certain of is that you will have the support of the Executive, your fellow Board Reps and most importantly your fellow branch members. Without the latter, nobody, no matter how talented and experienced, could do the job effectively. Always remember you can only learn things you don't already know.
Why should we change our Board Reps? Despite the ramifications alluded to above, change at the end of the day is generally positive. It is important to get new ideas brought to the decision-making table. Not only can a new perspective be obtained, but existing paradigms can be challenged. The result is either a stronger paradigm or a better one. Change, however, can be destructive when it is wholesale. It is probably not good to change both reps every election as there can be a loss of continuity, a loss of experience and possibly even a loss of identity. Perhaps an election every year with two year terms being staggered so that one of the two positions comes up every year would provide an opportunity for change, yet provide continuity and experience.
The rewards for being part of the Board are considerable. Not only will you learn new skills, but you will develop some friendships you would not otherwise make. You will have the opportunity to help chart the future of your Society and your Profession. You have the opportunity to return to the Society some of what you have received from those who have gone before you. As members of a Society, we have an obligation to our peers to make whatever contribution we can, big or small. The more varied the contributions, the healthier the Society. Without those contributions, you risk the Society withering and dieing.
Please consider carefully as the election approaches. As a minimum, please consider who would best represent you for the next two years and nominate them. Please also allow your name to go forward, should you be tapped on the shoulder.
Thank you to all those Reps who have decided it is time to step down. Without your contributions the Society would be a very much poorer thing indeed. We all owe you a big vote of thanks. One last duty remains for you - ensure the baton is carried forward effectively by becoming actively involved in securing a nomination and providing support for a new Rep for your region.
To the rest of you, give it a go! Come on in, the water's great!
Till next time,