Invoking the Magic of Universal Visions

Creating an exciting shared vision that says something important about an association is one of the toughest tasks volunteer leaders have. They can grow anxious or frustrated searching for that elusive statement until all the uttered near-misses magically hit upon exactly the right words to say it all.

Sometimes boards will resist a vision because they fear it can be claimed by many other organizations, but so could the best visions I have seen association leaders craft. Visions speak in a language of universal aspiration that invites others to join in this important work.

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Few Easy Answers Ahead to Why Belong?

Every association must convincingly answer the question why belong? to attract and retain members, and in our complex and conflicted times, the answers will not be as simple as good association management research and practice once assured. 

As my financial advisor routinely observes in his financial forecasts, strong headwinds ahead create challenges.  The fundamentals of belonging may prevail but only if they are reinterpreted and updated to adapt to this changing context.   

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Watching the Rise of Millennial Organizations

One alternative forecast for millennials is that they might decide to form their own associations around their issues, the leadership opportunities they are ready to hold, and the technology-empowered approaches that extend their reach and impact.

This is a decisive question for associations to answer:  Will traditional organizations adapt ad accommodate the interests and preferences of millennials as they become a dominant demographic group, or will this generational renewal need the rise of new organizations proving new ways to be effective in the future?

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