Moving from good to great. Association leaders at all levels are embracing change and using it as a dynamic force for growth.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, MCI ran a research study into future-proof organizations. The purpose was to find out the biggest disruptors associations are facing, and the concrete actions they are taking to shape their future.
Some 63 percent of the respondents said their organizations had already taken steps to shape their future. To the question ‘what initiative(s) have you taken so far to stay ahead of the game?’, the top three answers were creating a culture of change and rethinking the way it’s always been done (64%), encouraging new ideas and approaches (45%) and adopting new programs, initiatives and tools (40%).
We asked association leaders to share some of their specific measures to create a culture of change and the impact it has had on their organization.
Breaking the Silos
One study revealed that 70 percent of customer experience professionals view silo mentality as the biggest obstacle to customer service. Silo mentality begins with management. The Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), has spent 2018 going through a major governance restructure to better address what it means for the organization to be a global entity and ensure that all the strategic areas are aligned and cross-communicating. “We have created a structure that allows for a better flow of communication between the Board and staff up and down. We have also identified the right authorities to translate that into actions” said SLAS’s Chief Executive Officer Vicki Loise.
Appoint a Chief Innovation Officer
The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) is primarily responsible for managing the process of innovation and change management. The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) appointed its CIO in 2017. “Our CIO focuses on expanding CHEST’s lead in delivering innovative education through new and exciting products and courses, often featuring gamification and simulation,” shared Sue Reimbold, former Executive Director, CHEST Foundation. Fully integrated into the Executive Leadership Team, CHEST CIO’s new initiatives have generated $1.2 million in new revenue for the organization.
Include Innovation in Every Board Agenda
Close to 48 percent of respondents to our study said innovation isn’t openly discussed at Board level. At the same time, they rank ‘getting the leadership buy-in’ as the most important factor in enabling innovation in organizations. “At our recent strategic planning session for the society for the next 1-3 years innovation was one of the top five areas of importance,” said Lisa Astorga, Director of Meetings at the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH). “With technologies being a significant factor in innovations, and the speed at which this environment is changing being adaptable is key to staying on pace,” she added.
Develop a Strategy for Innovation
“Our organization has always considered itself innovative especially over the last two decades; and we are proud to have been instrumental in bringing new techniques and processes forward within our industry,” said Terry Head, President of the International Association of Movers (IAM). IAM has taken a series of bold moves, such as moving from its traditional printed hardback directory to creating a digital membership resource with the ultimate goal of becoming a ‘Universal Directory’ (including both members and non members) and centralized database for the profession. New Professional Development Programs have been promoted using this database and as a result have added non-dues revenue streams.
Improve Product Development and Management Practices
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. How do organizations successfully empower their community and leadership to take innovative actions or propose disruptive solutions? With less micro- management and by encouraging well-measured risk-taking. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) has created an environment that encourages ‘trying new things’. “We accept the resulting success or failure as part of the normal institutive activities,” said Bernard Pekor, Director of International Business Development.
Change Mindset. Think Like a Futurist
Change is on the way, but associations will be able to lead—rather than react—if they see it coming. ASAE’s ForesightWorks is an ongoing future-focused program of environmental scanning and trends analysis based on ASAE Foundation research. The National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) has taken a number of concrete steps to move the futures conversation forward. “Our Board has reviewed ASAE’s ForesightWorks summaries and identified the topics of greatest interest. Then, during our annual conference the volunteer leaders have engaged in a discussion about these top drivers of change with some 100 chapter leaders. We have also assigned a Board Member to serve as the champion for the NAPO Pathway to 2030 initiative,” shared Suzanne Pine, CAE, Senior Director.