Involvement in the Process
Buy-in for an accessibility management program must come from the top. Major change is often said to be impossible unless the head of the organization is an active supporter (Kotter, 1996). The board of directors, the CEO, the executive director, the park superintendent, the manager of operations, and administration from the top down must share the value of inclusion of people with disabilities first and then channel that message to all of their subordinates. From the top, administration must instill a sense of urgency to make change and to get things done. Status quo can no longer be acceptable, especially when programs and facilities today are still inaccessible. Without a sense of urgency, people won't give that extra effort that is often essential (Kotter, p. 5). Ultimately, inaction leaves the organization vulnerable to disability-related complaints and litigation.
Implementation of a successful, effective, and efficient accessibility management program requires involving everyone in the process; that is, EVERYONE--from the CEO to the front line staff, from the maintenance crew to the concessionaire, from the accessibility coordinator to the local center for independent living. Effective accessibility management programs require a team approach and a commitment to process. (See Appendix A: Implementation of an Accessibility Management Program). Coordination of the program may be assigned to one individual - an accessibility coordinator; however, implementation is the responsibility of every single person and position within the organization. This approach is very similar to the implementation of a safety program where one individual is assigned as the risk manager to oversee coordination of the program, and each position in the organization has responsibilities for maintaining a safe environment.
Dr. George Head is a special advisor to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Head (2006) suggests that risk managers should employ other managers and select individuals throughout the organization to be additional sets of minds, eyes, and ears in detecting the loss exposures that arise or may possibly arise in daily work. This practice can be applied to an accessibility management program. The accessibility coordinator, as one individual and often assigned accessibility compliance as a collateral duty, cannot possibly be aware of every single policy, programming, purchasing, or construction decision to take place on a daily basis within the organization. With this team approach, the responsibility for accessibility compliance is delegated throughout multiple job functions, departments, and divisions so that each individual and unit can support all accessibility improvements and decisions without as many likely to slip through the cracks. In addition, this delegated approach assigns responsibility and accountability for accessibility management throughout the organization.
From the beginning, each individual needs to be integrated as a 'resource' into the planning process (Drucker, p. 270). Involvement is the key to implementing change and increasing commitment (Covey, 1991). Each individual, from his or her own background and experience, brings a different and meaningful perspective to the table. Across functions, considerations for decisions affecting policies, capital improvements, renovations, maintenance, and programming can be considered with input from individuals with diverse responsibilities, from the accessibility coordinator to the architect and outdoor planner, from the maintenance supervisor to the recreation programmer. By way of this involvement, decisions can be arrived at through consensus building. When people become involved in the problem, they become significantly and sincerely committed to solving the problem (Covey, p. 221).