Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone and has become an area of great discussion in recent times. There is a lot of literature on not only defining mindset, but also on the concept of having a mindset of growth and ways in which this can be developed. The idea is that if we start with a mindset of growth, then all of our actions will align towards this growth.
If we now take this concept of the growth mindset and apply it to how we view membership, it would be interesting to see what results we could achieve. For many years, we have viewed membership within limits, focusing a lot on processes and procedures (all of which are important), but sometimes working to the detriment of growth and development. Therefore, let’s consider how we can reframe our thinking and develop a growth mindset towards membership:
- Simplify the process: Gone are the days where recruiting new members needs to be a super long and formalized process. We need to think of the experience a potential member has from the moment they start to engage with us. Do we want to bombard them with lengthy procedures, or do we want them to feel encouraged and engaged from the first moment?
- Draw on their passions from the beginning of the process: Many times, when persons become interested in Soroptimism, it’s because they usually have a passion for women and women’s issues which is what we usually seek to address in our Programme Action work. We must be sure to home in on these passions and allow potential and new members to engage in a way that feels meaningful and motivates them to really drive our work forward, without getting lost in procedures that can deter their passion.
- Encourage the creation of unique club cultures: One of the main ways to encourage growth among members and clubs is by creating a culture which is inclusive and unique to the needs and desires of the members. While there are general guidelines about how clubs are to be run, we need to get to a point where we encourage retention and growth through the culture existing within the club where members feel included, welcomed and encouraged.
- Have open and honest reviews: One of the main things you hear about as part of the growth mindset is being open to giving and receiving feedback. Feedback is the key tool to understanding what people are thinking and provides the doorway for issues to be addressed. In this way, members can be made aware of the feelings and views of others with a view to finding solutions. Many times, these conversations do not happen until members get to the point of wishing to resign. A growth mindset requires us to see feedback as something which is continuous and should be welcomed as opposed to something to be feared. This is where the true growth happens!
The growth mindset is by no means easy especially when we may be trying to introduce it into an organization that is 100 years old. However, we must look at every aspect of membership with this in mind and this can be the first step to moving forward into the future to Build Back Better!
SIGBI Director of Membership