Thursday, February 12, 2015

Curt Witcher says Societies should embrace change

This year's Rootstech is combined with the Conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and for a small amount extra you could add a registration for FGS onto your Rootstech registration. I did that and this morning, which was a pure FGS day, I attended one of the presentations.  The talk was "Connecting, Exploring, Refreshing: Marshalling Change in Your Society" by Curt Witcher (former president of FGS and NGS and founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society).  He certainly is an interesting an inspirational speaker.

His message was that change is inevitable. The only constant is change.  Yet we often tend to fight it and shy away from it. This is particularly if/when it is faced by our Historical/Genealogical/Other Societies.

One of the important changes that we should tackle is how we handle any complaints or negativity.  We should see them as pointers to things that we could change or improve. We should also look for a variety of viewpoints (which is really something that we should strive to do in all aspects of our lives), and look at similar organizations and dissimilar organizations and see how they do things.  What do they do well, and what could they improve on that we can learn from.

He also made the point that if you are having a meeting or an event where it might be hard to get people to attend, then serve food!  You'll get a lot more attendees.

Think, do and say "Yes!"  Ask "Why not?" more than "Why?"  Dream new dreams and have new visions. Engage with new people and their ideas.  If you fail, then be positive about it, learn from the experience and move forward. Don't cast blame. Ignoring challenges doesn't make them go away. And for heavens sake, don't fall into the trap of thinking "because we've always done it that way".


  1. I have embraced all these sentiments and gone forward. Made productive changes people have applauded. However recently arranged a night - no boring speeches, no boring how-to-do, just a get together for old and new to meet, eat and chat, but it failed. Offered 'FREE' food to 70 invitees and only 10 wanted to come and they were from the regulars.

    1. My sympathies. Sometimes you can only try your best and keep trying. Don't get downhearted.