Change is hard. IABC is finding this out in spades these days, ever since the staff firings late last year and the subsequent introduction of many other changes to the organization.

But it’s not just that IABC members are resistant to change. At some point, when huge numbers of smart, committed, long-standing members of the association have a problem with the changes, maybe it’s time to step back and make sure those changes really are for the best.

What really bothers me is that it appears all the changes introduced by chair Kerby Myers and executive director Chris Sorek have been made without fully understanding what was already there and the consequences of getting rid of much of it. They seem to be the result of a consultant’s report that details how to save money. And worse, since hearing from many members unhappy with the changes, Kerby and Chris have done little to make us believe they will take our concerns into account, while assuring members that they “hear” us.

Well, Kerby assures us that he hears us. We haven’t heard from Chris, apparently because he’s been asked to concentrate on being executive director. I guess the job does not include communicating with the members he serves.

Are members truly being heard?

What I’d like to know is this:

  • Were accredited business communicators asked how the ABC system worked for them, if the process was difficult, how it could be improved? Why is there only now a discussion going on (in a closed LinkedIn group) with ABC members, after the wheels are already in motion to make huge change to the process, which will now be called ‘certification’? Why aren’t non-ABCs able to be involved in the conversation?
  • Were member companies surveyed to find out what executives knew about accreditation and if they valued it? Was any thought given to better and broader communication about the value of accreditation?
  • Were any of the IABC Fellows asked for their perspective, thoughts, ideas, advice?
  • Local chapters play a key role in member satisfaction. Did IABC management consult with individual chapters on how best to support them?
  • Communication World had an international advisory committee, many of them seasoned communicators, ABCs, Fellows and other respected IABC members. Were any of them asked for their thoughts and ideas?
  • Why get rid of books completely? Why not keep valued resources while you add to the offering of digital resources?
  • If the future is digital, why is IABC’s executive director following just 25 people on Twitter, and the last time he tweeted was last June?

Maybe I’m just not aware of all the ways IABC consulted with its own members to determine the new strategy. I hope that’s the case.

But when I look at the most recent IABC Quarterly Strategy Update (download it here) – with details members would have welcomed last year, before the firings and the thin explanations of same – I don’t hear the voice of IABC members. I don’t even see anyone taking credit as author of the piece, taking ownership of the words, “We’ll be listening.”

I see generic, cliched “inspirational” quotes from the likes of Confucius and Stephen Covey and words written in the passive voice that don’t indicate who did what.

IABC members, if you want to be heard, apparently you can email Kerby at kmeyers @ commrefinery . com or Chis at csorek @ iabc . com.