Seven years ago, the talk in our industry was about relevance. We heard that if associations did not change, they would flounder and then probably die. Many association executives answered that call. Look across our industry, and you see innovation, experimentation, and staff embracing advanced technologies.
We needed to change, and we are making significant changes in our organizations. We are heading in the right direction.
But the right direction can feel disillusioning probably because implicit in standing up and creating change is achieving a big win.
Most of us have not realized the promised utopia. Members did not start flocking to our doors. Revenues did not skyrocket through the roof. Perhaps the opposite happened. Long-time time members grumbled about missing the old ways. Board members let you have your experiment and then gave a self-satisfied smile when it flopped. Member feedback to much-needed changes can sting.
We’ve done SOOOO much work! We have put in years of implementing new ideas. So, where is the big win?
Big wins are like unicorns, I’ve decided. We hear about other association’s big wins and assume that if we do what they are doing, that big win will come to us. But I bet big wins happen for 1% out of 1% of associations. Maybe, if we keep trudging along, we will finally have our big success, and everything will change. But probably not.
So what is keeping us from quitting now? We can go back to the status quo. Change is hard. If there is no big win ahead, why keep pushing?
Because consistently showing up is 99% of the battle. Every day that you push something new forward, every day that you have a generous interaction with a member, every day that you work on solving a problem is a day that you are making the world a little bit better.