Putting the Future into Focus

Hour glass

At the OREA Centre for Leadership Development, we often encourage association leaders to keep on top of emerging trends, plan for the future and shape their associations to serve members in a changing world; yet we know that’s not an easy task. I recently read an article from our Leadership Library that provides some very practical suggestions on how to lead into the future.

Read Jim Carroll’s article: Association Leadership for the Future.

Jim Carroll is well-known for his critical thinking and business-oriented view of issues related to emerging technologies, association models and organizational culture. He has identified 10 things you can do to guide your association into the future.

1. Listen to the grassroots
Take the time to engender and build an informal, open-door culture that promotes regular and ongoing contact by your membership base.

2. Listen beyond the grassroots
The future is no longer restricted to listening to the usual suspects. Tune into what’s happening in unrelated industries that might predict the trends that will affect your association in the future.

3. Listen to the rebels
Often the trends that will affect your association can be found in the offbeat chatter by those who are busy redeveloping the future right around them.

4. Maintain a willingness to do a right turn
Many issues can quickly go super-nova. Refocus yourself and your association to deal with new realities as soon as they emerge.

5. Continually reinvest relevance
Many members live in a state of relentless shell-shock. Constantly and regularly assess and reinvent the relevance of your association to the membership base.

6. Redefine your membership
Step back and consider where all of your members might exist today and change your strategies, activities and capabilities so that you reach them.

7. Adjust for hypercompetition
Undertake a plan of action that will help your members survive and thrive into the future as hypercompetition takes hold.

8. Seek offbeat solutions to difficult problems
Keep an eye out for the quirky, innovative, unusual things occurring within your association and other associations.

9. Kill indecision
Make sure your association continues to run by timelines, deadlines, and clear goals and objectives.

10. Restore your sense of passion and purpose
Get excited about the future again by planning and preparing for it.





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