January 2016 / Volume 4 No. 1

Welcoming change: evolving together

With a clear vision and shared values, your youth group is highly motivated to work together towards your short and long-term goals. But life is ever changing, and you may find that your team’s initial goals are not as relevant today, or as inspiring, as they once were. It is important to recognize when it is time to re-evaluate and embrace change.

Values, vision, and goals

In the second article in this series, “Fun, friendly, life-changing: youth groups,” we examined the concepts of values, vision, and goals as they pertain to organizations.

Values are qualities that are considered worthwhile. They represent the group’s highest priorities and provide a great source of motivation. Vision is about the future – what your group wants to be or the kind of world it would like to be part of. Goals describe what the group wants to achieve, and are usually driven by the organization’s vision. These three components are key to the direction of your youth group, and like every aspect of life, they may also evolve and change. This does not constitute a failure; it simply reflects the reality of changing circumstances.

New goals

You may find that your established goals are unattainable, no longer reflect the priorities of your members, or are no longer challenging. New goals can be set at any time, but the following situations are common:

Time for a change
  • Upon achieving a goal: Reflect on how the goal was set and the efforts that went into accomplishing it, as you set new attainable goals.
  • At the end of the financial year: Numbers can speak louder than words, and seeing your organization’s financial situation on paper can be a catalyst to setting new goals.
  • When things go wrong: No matter how much you prepare, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Learning from mistakes is a great way to redefine objectives.
  • Following growth: When your team recruits new members or experiences a significant financial boost, you may have the skillsets or resources to take on projects that were previously not possible.
  • When on vacation: Sometimes when you are the least focused on challenges, new ideas and a clearer perspective allow you to propose new solutions.

Although the end of the year seems like a natural time to define new objectives, if your group has slower months in the year, these are also a good opportunity to reflect on goals, to focus on what is working, and to consider additional projects.

Show results >

Planning and initiating projects: A guide for emergent NMOs provides strategies for team priority setting.

New vision

Changing your organization’s vision may be complicated, because it forms the very core of what your group aims to achieve. However, this doesn’t mean that it cannot or should not be revised. Your vision should reflect the evolution of your youth group as well as its current reality. If, for example, the group was founded by a few teenage boys with hemophilia but has since welcomed many new members of both genders who want to work towards better treatment options in your area, then it is probably a good idea to rethink the group’s vision to be more inclusive. You may also want to rethink your group’s vision in light of possible future needs and expectations, such as proposed changes to healthcare coverage policies that could affect treatment, or the professional development of your team members.

New values

The foundational values of your team are less likely to change frequently, but you must remain open to the idea. You may wish to add to the group’s stated values, or modify them to reflect the changing circumstances and profile of your team. For instance, reassessing your values to incorporate democratic principles, such as the equality of all members and fairness in the decision-making process, is highly valuable. New partnership opportunities might prompt you to set formal parameters for your group’s relationships with sponsors. If the group decides to increase its online profile through social media tools, you may wish to establish guidelines around privacy and the sharing of information.

Navigating change together

Whether it’s setting new short or long-term goals, identifying a new vision, or re-evaluating the values of the group, every member must be welcome to participate in the discussions. The whole group needs to be on board and involved in this process, as the changes will affect them directly. It may be challenging to reach an agreement on changes in a group setting with diverse opinions. When individuals believe strongly in their idea, they will naturally defend it passionately. Through clear and open communication, within a team built on trust and respect, you will be able reach a conclusion that everyone can work with. Your shared vision of contributing positively to the bleeding disorders community will serve as a strong driver for collaboration and a foundation on which to build your team’s various projects.

When the core principles that define the group and the projects that you undertake appeal to the current membership, they will be far more likely to remain involved and to contribute their skills and energy, resulting in success for the youth group!

Questions that require an answer are marked with  *
Have you ever had to set new goals for your group? How did you help your members to agree on new goals together?