Change Is Complicated, But We Might as Well Embrace the Change

April 24, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

a-dead-memory-772638-mAs a child of the 1980s, I have lots of fond memories of life back then, especially listening to music on my cassette tapes. If you are a devoted fan of the Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO) as I am, you’d remember that they had a song called “Ticket to the Moon,” which started “Remember the good ‘ol 1980s, when things were so uncomplicated, I wish I could go back there again and everything would be the same.”

To say that things now in the grants community are complicated is an understatement. With the Office of Management and Budget’s new uniform grants guidance set to replace the former grant circulars as of Dec. 26, which is requiring federal agencies to hastily draft their own regulations to adopt the guidance and submit them to OMB by late June, everyone is in a rush now to try to understand the new guidance and implement it into their own policies.

The National Grants Management Association titled its annual training conference this year “Embracing Change.” Truly an accurate title, because all grants stakeholders are now going to have to embrace these changes as they prepare for the future. Although one may want to resist change, sometimes it may be time for that change to come. OMB’s Karen Lee, during one of the keynote addresses, mentioned that the former circulars were implemented back in 1984. Just to give everyone some idea how long ago that was, she noted that in 1984:

  • Kate Middleton was born;
  • the first Chicken McNuggets were sold at McDonalds; and
  • the first McIntosh computers went on the market.

Wow! Maybe it is time for a change. Just as iPods have replaced cassette tapes. True, the road will be bumpy – if not downright pothole-plagued – early on, but over time, one can hope that the uniform guidance will provide the change needed to improve grant development and management processes. Perhaps someday someone will sing a song looking back at the 2010 decade and how things were so uncomplicated. Right now, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

How are you handling the changes affecting grants? Is it easier or harder than you expected? Let us know.

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