The Wall Street Journal recently reported that if the current trend continues, Data provider Dealogic estimates that Global Mergers and Acquisitions will climb to and exceed $4.58 trillion in 2015. In a low growth economic environment, corporations seeking growth are actively pursuing the best merger combinations. Although associations don’t control the external business environment, they do have the ability to move away from a “here is what we do for you “posture to a “together we succeed” posture.
Traditional “Inside Out” Perspective
Despite growing external member challenges, some Associations insist that “selling louder” will make the difference:
- Communicate what the association does for members
- An association creates an “all-you-can-eat buffet” of offerings hoping or believing there is something that each member wants
- The association primarily exists to educate and influence others, and to hold networking events; hoping that they can individually figure out how to use the information once back in their offices.
New Norm “Outside In”
Embracing the new norm creates competitive advantages for your association while it accelerates member engagement:
- Move to “we” and communicate what staff and members are doing together to achieve the members’ desired business outcomes
- An association’s job is about facilitating 24/7 knowledge-sharing that leads to innovative solutions
- Relevance means helping members collaborate, overcome challenges, and achieve the business and professional outcomes that they care most about
Building a shared vision for the organization by creating a culture of “we” is key. Then, aligning your association’s operating structure and infrastructure in order to pro-actively address sudden changes in member “up-at-night” issues reinforces your new role as strategic partner to the industries’ you serve.
Here is What We Do for You
Letting go of the traditional “inside out” approach and shifting to the “new norm” could be the right change at the right time. Mergers & Acquisitions, modest U.S. economic growth, & global uncertainty provide the impetus to re position your organization from being a trade association to becoming a strategic business partner to the industries your association serves.