Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Other Things for Association Executives to UNLearn in 2014


I see you driving 'round town
With the girl I love and I'm like,
Forget you!
Oo, oo, ooo
I guess the change in my pocket
Wasn't enough I'm like,
Forget you!
And forget her too!...Cee Lo Green

I was lucky enough to be asked to make a few contributions to a recent newsletter sent out from yourmembership.com about "10 Things Every Association Executive Should Stop Doing in 2014."  I threw in 5 things I think it is HIGH TIME our community unlearned.  I encourage you to read the entire post, there are other terrific nuggets from fellow contributors +Elizabeth Engel , +Peggy Hoffman  and Mary Byers.

Here are just a few other things I thought of this afternoon that I wish I'd added at the time:

Waiting for Competency - This is an old idea that was hammered into us as schoolkids.  No wonder the school system is flawed.  Waiting until you know EVERYTHING about something will kill forward momentum.  We have got to get better at just jumping in.  I'd rather be embarrassed by floundering than accused of being behind the curve.

Sustainability is Not Our Problem - When it comes to sustainable business practices, for some reason associations seem to be waiting for the movement to grow within their industries first, instead of leading the way. So many times I see associations with constituencies that should be moving boldly forward with 21st century business practices playing defense and struggling to overturn or derail any efforts to regulate emissions or engage in other planet saving activities.  We don't have enough time for you to keep playing this zero sum game.

Associations Are Here for Members - Actually, no.  You are really here for your professions and industries writ large.  You should be devoting the bulk of your resources to develop new programs for members you don't have yet.  Let me explain - if all you do is program to the wants and needs of your current constituency, you leave NO room to innovate around your industry or profession.  Too many times I see associations with budgets that are 90% about serving current members and 10% (if that!) about research and development on new programs.  Time after time executives pass up new programs because there are so many other things to fund.  Flip your thinking.  Try devoting 80% of your budget to strategic initiatives that benefit the industry as a whole and 20% to service the members you have.  Even if you have to scale back to even 50% - 50% you will be making progress towards a better future.

Time to forget some things and some other things too :D....

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