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Ruthie Doles
Ruthie Doles, President

President's Message
 June 2017

Many people don’t like change. Why is that?!  A common answer is that we find it scary and difficult!  But a November 2010 study showed that people don’t like change because they prefer things that have been around longer (Halvorson, 2011).  They equate longevity as being a positive and good.  As leaders, we must recognize this unconscious bias and convince our teams that something (or someone) new can bring innovation and creativity that’s even better for the organization than the status quo.


Change isn’t something I was planning at this stage in my career.  Retirement was supposed to be at least a year away.  But circumstances in my life and at work lead me to decide that it’s time to move on and so I only have about 3 weeks left as a Pinellas County employee!  I accepted a position with a non-profit organization and will be doing child welfare work to gain experience as I prepare for my next career as a licensed clinical social worker. 


I’ve been with my department for over 31 years.  One of my primary concerns in deciding to move up my retirement date was how my team would deal with the unknown of working with a new manager.  Reactions were much stronger than I anticipated and there have been varied emotions ranging from sadness to congrats. This change has left many wondering what the 911 Center will be like when I’m gone, especially since I’ve been here since it first formed. They know how I prefer things, I know how they work.  Our structure is stable and there’s a high level of comfort with me. We’re firmly in the “perform” team stage.  To help my team adjust, I know that it’s important to be supportive and encouraging about the possibilities of a better workplace (no matter how much my ego may prefer to think otherwise…smile!)   I’m reassuring them that this change is an opportunity for growth for each of them, as well as the organization. 


As excellent as they are, it’s very possible that a new leader will help my team reach new heights. My departure offers a chance for each to play a role in this new journey.  For the transition, we divided up my duties, giving each person a new responsibility geared to their strengths, enabling them to actively participate in the change process.  The initial shock and grieving is subsiding as they embrace a future without me.  They seem to have renewed hope that, as challenging as it is to see me leave, this change allows them to fondly recall the comfort of the old while appreciating the exciting possibilities new leadership will bring …especially if it’s one of them!  And I couldn’t be prouder!


Until next time,



Reference:  Halvorson, H. G. (2011). Explained: Why we don’t like change.  Huffington Post. [website]. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heidi-grant-halvorson-phd/why-we-dont-like-change_b_1072702.html

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