President's Calling - Academy Tradition v. Change


President's Calling
Academy Tradition v. Change

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Academy Tradition v. Change

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There is nothing unique about our Academy in this regard: human beings are resistant to change. Change forces us to abandon our “tried and true” ways and move into a new zone of uncertainty where the outcome appears to be unclear. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable. There is the tendency for us to abandon the new initiative without giving it a fair trial and to retreat to our old familiar habits, even if they are less effective than the proposed change.

Nevertheless, it is clear that change is inevitable. This has been well documented since ancient time as Heraclitus in 513 B.C. observed, “There is nothing permanent except change.” We all recognize that our Academy must change in order to grow and remain relevant to our profession. So how do we reconcile this conflict between the certainty of change and our comfort with the status quo?

This reminds us of the old baseball adage: you can’t steal second base with your foot on first. Yet, we can’t be complacent with both feet safely placed on first base. We need to be comfortable taking a lead off first, be vigilant for any attempt to pick us off, and choose wisely and decisively on which pitch to attempt to steal second.

While being respectful of the culture and treasured traditions of our Academy and our profession, we must embrace change that moves our organization and profession forward. One clear example is the decision to move our annual meeting from the time-honored and traditional Academy dates in early or mid-December to the present October/November time frame. There has certainly been some downside to this change, such as the conflict with other local and regional meetings.

But as busy as things might have been for those of us who attended our meeting in Phoenix in October this year, just think how nice it has been to have the last two weekends at home as you and your family prepare for your holiday celebrations. No working on posters and courses over Thanksgiving. No pre-holiday fatigue from just having arrived home this last weekend. Furthermore, since this change was implemented six years ago, our Academy has had five of our most successful meetings. Undoubtedly, this decision has also afforded Happier Holidays for our Academy Fellows, staff, and our families.

Happy Holidays to all, and a very happy, healthy New Year!

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