Monday, February 16, 2015

Welcome To The Association Center

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2015 marks the 50th year of successful multiple association management and consulting for Executives Consultants Incorporated. Over the past half century, many aspects of nonprofit organization management have changed — some have not. 

We have certainly changed over the years as we have transitioned from first, to second and now into third generation management. In the process, we have observed changes in business, industry and society as they impact trade and professional associations. Perhaps the most significant changes have been:

    1. the speed of market shifts,
    2. the impact of technology, and
    3. changes in generational values.


Speed of Market Shifts:

The typical committee structure of associations is often too slow to respond to the ever increasing pace of business. To serve the needs of its industry, associations must become more proactive in preventing problems or restructure more like private industry for quick response teams to address industry issues.

Impact of Technology:

The Internet and other technology advancements offer great opportunities to improve communications, training and industry action. However, associations are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies and sometimes choose appearance over effectiveness. Another common problem is an association that uses a technologies that exceed the capabilities of their industry to utilize. Technology must be viewed in the full context of creation to utilization to properly serve the association and the industry.

Changes in Generational Values:

Many associations tend to maintain the same leadership systems from their inception that may no longer be appropriate in today's markets. Each generation of industry managers faces changes in education, market realities and personal work/social/family priorities that must be recognized in order to keep relavent for future members. Targeting the right group of decision makers' attitudes can be a significant challenge for existing leadership looking to assure the organization's future.

These are but a few of the common challenges associations face, and will continue to face, over the past (and next) 50 years. Some have dealt with change better than others.

Solutions to every challenge can be found if the basic purpose for the organization's creation still exists. It is simply a matter of realistically sorting the key functions the organization performs from the distractions that often build over time and then focusing on that key function as a path to the future.

Above all, it is essential to remind ourselves that trade associations are first, and always, a business subject to all the requirements for success that every business faces today. This blog is dedicated to helping organizations make the most of their future business opportunities and we invite our readers to follow along as we venture down the road for the future of nonprofit organizations.