Keep the Change

I seem to remember reading that humans are (at least to some extent) hard wired to find change stressful. Good change, bad change – it doesn’t matter: change can cause anxiety. I assume it may be that we humans are actually anxious about the unknown, and because change always seems to involve some level of uncertainty, the anxiety people feel when change is imminent is more likely fear of the unknown.

Perhaps that’s why we all (or at least most of us) have been involved with some group or organization (employer, workgroup, volunteer group, family unit, etc.,) where the discussion of doing something differently will cause one or more people within the group to oppose the change and insist on the status quo because, “…we’ve always done it this way.” If you haven’t been party to a discussion like that, count yourself lucky.

I am fortunate because in my 25 years at the Irvine Health Foundation, through countless discussions of policy, grantmaking, investment strategy – discussions writ large and small, I have never heard anyone – Board member, staff member, consultant, etc., utter that phrase. On the contrary, our discussions have often involved phrases such as, “…how can we improve…,” or, “…what should we do to deal with this new situation…” I guess that’s why we all seem to enjoy what we do – there is no “status quo-ism” evident at IHF.

Which brings me to a brief announcement: We at IHF spent the past twelve months going through a rigorous strategic planning process. Our Board of Directors wanted to determine how we can best use all of IHF’s resources (financial, human, reputational, etc.) and better utilize two of our core strengths (which we view as convening and connecting with others) in order to improve the health of our community.

The Board asked for a thorough review of every aspect of what we do: how we do things, who does what, and with whom we should (and should not) collaborate in order to achieve our mission. Oh, and we reviewed our mission as well. The goal was to leave no question unasked. The Board did not believe things were sub optimal, or that we weren’t doing important work, but like all great Boards (and ours is indeed a great Board), they are not willing to let opportunities pass – even if that means making some changes in order to embrace the opportunity to improve.

So, in December, 2014 the IHF Board approved our new strategic plan, and we will be making some announcements over the next couple of months. We will roll out a new mission statement, an updated vision, and some specific strategic areas of interest and preferred tactics for implementation. We will also be updating our website, which will then contain all this new information, and keep it updated as we move along.

This is not change for the sake of change, but we do believe that for us to lead, to catalyze, to energize people in our community to engage in healthy behaviors and to help shape the environment in which they can embrace healthy living, it is necessary. So, in our case, we embrace change as good. We hope to do it well.

Stay tuned for more details.

Be well.


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