The ‘ART’ of progress is the awareness that disruption and change has arrived, the realisation of the effect this will have on the association’s future services, and the transformational strategy required to deliver new value for members and markets.
The awareness and acceptance of anything is always a personal choice. The old adage that we all want change, but that none of us really wants to change, can still ring true. The awareness that there are a number of critical threats now facing associations brings with it the responsibility to do something about it. No wonder so many people resist this, because it is tempting to take the easy road and wish it wasn’t so. Ignoring a potential threat is not a strategy. Awareness is a prompt for action.
Realisation comes from the specific understanding of the impact of future threats and opportunities in terms of member needs, market trends and competitive forces. One way to gain this understanding is to conduct regular research with members, making sure this is based on a representative sample and including lost and disaffected members as well as current loyal ones. You should not shy away from asking the difficult questions here: you may not want to hear the answers but you certainly need to. It is at this point that any possibility of taking the easy road may disappear and the need for a new vision and strategy may become clear.
Transformation is the act of changing from old to new, with the knowledge that our actions today shape our future. It is about designing the future and finding innovative ways to deliver it. It begins with a vision: why are you here, and what value are you providing for your members to succeed into the future and for your market to flourish? It requires action to bring everyone along for the journey and that is a process in itself.