Our guest this episode is Jeff De Cagna, FRSA, FASAE, a leader and contrarian thinker in the association community. He talks with us today about the need for associations to reinvent themselves in the leadership and stewardship roles they were meant to fulfill. 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, protests, political upheaval and refocusing of all kinds of priorities. It’s past time associations take a hard look at what their priorities are, and adjust accordingly.
Jeff explains that many associations have spent the last 20 years falling into what he calls “the relevance fallacy,” or the idea that being relevant to as many stakeholders as possible is the ultimate goal. But relevance has caused association leaders to become more self-serving, and less focused on who they really need to be serving: their members, supporters, and their professional and geographical communities at large.
He goes further to say that going forward, associations must show a willingness to be uncomfortable as we transition to a way of doing business that’s more sustainable and profitable. Reinventing associations in this image of stewardship will involve hard choices and the courage to take some self-sacrificing actions, but associations’ very existence is at stake. If you’ve been thinking your association needs to regroup as we head into a new year, this episode is for you.
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