Monday, January 2, 2012

Times Like These - My 5 Terms for 2012

it's times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again.....Foo Fighters, Times Like These

So my year end ritual is complete.  Even though today is still technically a holiday, I feel like 2012 is officially underway and now it's time to reveal the 5 Terms for 2012 that will be front and center at Alcorn Associates Management Consulting this year. (By the way - I was so happy to see 5 Terms for 2012 posts from Lowell Aplebaum, Kiki L'Italien, Nikki Jeske and Jay Daughtry, etc. You all rock!)

Appreciative Inquiry - This is a holdover from 2011 and really constitutes one of the cornerstones of the consulting I do with associations. So, it stays. There is nothing better than helping associations make key decisions and take concrete action from a strengths based perspective.  (I am getting ready to release the results and the commentary from the AI project I did last year so stay tuned.....)

DIY - In 2011, I used "Edupunk" but edupunk is really a subset of a bigger trend which is DIY (do it yourself).  I've been a DIY enthusiast, supporter and co-conspirator for much of my life. Remember when we were younger?  Making cassette tapes to sell at gigs on a four-track in the garage? Haunting Kinkos after work to crank out 'zines? Hammering friends who worked at public access cable so you could do a show a'la Wayne's World?  Well, yeah. There are tons of DIYers out here just dying to create stuff.  Now we have more tools than ever with YouTube, podcasts, self-publishing, education and the like. Really, associations have always been about DIY.  Let's name it and claim it and capitalize on the DIY theme running through our culture.  Your members actually WANT to create stuff, not just consume stuff.

Democracy - I continue to be personally and professionally disturbed by the assaults on democracy coming from both within and without.  I blogged about my significant distress over the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and why associations should care about it last year.  I'm livid over voter suppression efforts and again, think associations should actively engage in voter registration efforts now more than ever. I was shocked and dismayed to read a leading book coming out of ASAE promoting the idea of severely limiting boards (with participants who may not even be members) and the notion of stripping committee chairs away from volunteers and handing them to staff.  Yes, democracy is messy.  Yes, democracy takes time.  Yes, democracy requires compromise.  But associations serve as an important training ground for the citizenry of the United States.  I'm not saying we wouldn't benefit from more training, more streamlined and flexible policies and more sophisticated governing techniques.  But if given the choice, I will opt for a messy democracy over an efficient dictatorship every time.

Superstructure - I believe it's time for associations to begin to collaborate on a massive scale.  We have the technology now to build a superstructure over the association community that will, for the first time, make us scalable.  We should all continually be on the lookout for and a part of creating opportunities for small associations to leverage their power in a more cohesive environment.  As a community we should search for more opportunities for associations to develop a clear social identity in the larger global context.

Zeitgeist - I had a lot of luck last year with this concept and so now it will take a seat as one of the official 5 in 2012.  I continue to believe that in an interconnected world, we no longer have the luxury of sitting back and naval gazing about membership and non-dues revenue. I'm sick of WIFM and I believe we can change mindsets to WIFU instead. I believe there are key themes running through the cultural zeitgest that we can't afford to ignore.  If it's pop culture to technology to gamification to economics to workforce development to globalization to new corporate structures we have to actively get in the game.

So, those are the five drivers for me this year and they are now up on my wall over my computer screen and on my whiteboard.  I will use them as guideposts to help me sift through content, curate and create content and streamline my messaging.  I will seek out books, professional development opportunities and the like to help me hone in on the tools and techniques I need to have at my disposal to effectively implement some of my plans.  And I will also use those terms to inspire my projects and other things I choose to engage in over the year.

So yeah, it's times like these that make us learn to live again....let's see what 2012 has in store.....

Here's the link to the Foo Fighters - Times Like These for those who can see the embedded video.



  1. Brilliant! 2012 is going to be a doozie of a year and, with your 5 terms as a daily mantra, we can all have success and meaning in whatever we do.

  2. Thank you Auburn! I always appreciate the support!

  3. I love your terms Shelly! DIY being a personal hobby of mine, I love the idea of mixing it into my professional life. Love it! (And thanks for the shout out!)

  4. You are welcome...and yes, DIY...if we need it, we'd better build it...and we can :D


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