5 Qualities of Future-Focused Association Leadership

June 2016

In some circles, associations are generally viewed as being slow movers. They’re strengths skew towards protecting the status quo, valuing the past, and advocacy.

Associations who have earned a more progressive reputation have these indicators:

  1. Not Demographically Challenged. They have a steady stream of emerging professionals joining and engaging, as well as strong mid-career participation.
  2. Nimble and Strategic Governance. Board and/or staff are empowered and encouraged to take risks that progress the profession.
  3. Accessibility. Volunteer leaders actively participate in member education and networking experiences. They don’t schedule board or committee meetings during these times.
  4. Member Centric. Mission or strategic objectives don’t use the words “we” or “us,” but rather “you” and “our industry.”
  5. Future Focused Stewardship. Leadership embraces the strategic duty of preparing their members and organizations for whatever is coming next.

We believe associations who convince their governance to embrace future-focused leadership will be best positioned for long-term sustainability. The annual conference is the biggest and most visible stage for an association’s leadership to demonstrate through their actions, not words, what the future holds.