My blog post of a few weeks ago caught the attention of the folks at the Canadian Society of Association Executives — and so I quickly rewrote it to challenge their members to think about the role of “associations in the future.”
Here’s how I open the article: “Things are happening very fast out there in the world of business, as they are with associations. Are you witnessing turmoil within your membership base? A challenge attracting the younger demographic? Lower attendance numbers at conferences and events? than ever that has to go to your membership but increasing challenges in getting it to them?Is your association brand becoming a bit “tired” instead of energized? Do you have a consultant studying the role of your association and how you might need to change it in the future?Probably so, and here’s the thing.
You’ve got to do all that, except you’ve got to do it faster. That’s why you need to keep innovating, and make that a key part of your leadership role.
The challenge with association leadership today is ensuring that you stay on top of, and ahead of, fast paced trends. That’s why I focus on innovation in the broadest sense. Innovation isn’t just coming up with the next great iPod — it’s asking yourself the hard questions, and always challenging yourself to do something different to deal with the realities those hard questions pose.
If you aren’t attracting 25 year olds as members, why not? And how do you fix that? By innovating — by trying to do something differently!