Have you ever watched a movie that someone you trust recommended as the best movie of all time and wondered, “what were they thinking”? Fargo was that film for me. For me, it was not my favorite movie of all time, not even a good movie, but some of my friends thought it was. I just do not get the appeal. This is fine because I do have a few favorites. Clue is my favorite movie of all time. Mama Mia with Meryl Streep makes me happy every time I watch it. I find The Usual Suspects worth watching every few years. Ocean’s Eleven is the same. The villain, Yzma, in Emperor’s New Groove makes me laugh out loud. You might watch one of these movies and think “what the heck is she thinking?!”
Each movie is for some people, but it is not for everyone. The same goes with associations. Each association is for some professionals but not for everyone. In fact, the association is not for everyone in the profession. It is not for everyone in the industry. It is only for some people in the profession or industry. So we might as well define who we are for rather than have the definition created for us.
It is easy to say we are for the senior leadership team, or tax accountants, or the amusement parks industry. It is harder, but maybe more useful, to say this association is for the innovators. Maybe the experimenters. The professionals who know the industry has to change and they are working on changing it. Or focus on the connectors. Or the change-makers. Or the evangelists. Who are your best members? Who will help you make the industry or profession better?
Define this now and help your best members say, “people like me join associations like this.”