Monday, April 10, 2017

Changing Strategy and Member Engagement

A few weeks ago I wrote about the presentation I gave at my association's Annual Conference, communicating our overall strategy and the progress we're making on it to our membership. I said then that I was pleased with how little our strategy had changed in the year since my presentation at the previous Annual Conference. I also said that showed how good we were getting at reaching a strategic consensus at our Board table and at steadily investing our resources into multi-year action plans to achieve our goals.

That's still all true, but there is one area of our strategy agenda that underwent a fairly major change in direction at the Board meeting held in conjunction with that Annual Conference those weeks ago. The course we were on was proving to be unsustainable, given the resources we have at our disposal, and it was necessary to make a course correction, trying to reach the same destination by a different path.

I've spent the weeks since that decision in communications mode, trading emails and talking on the phone with a sizable number of our association members who are directly impacted by the change in direction. Depending on the member company's level of involvement in the old direction, some of these conversations have been easy (the member supporting the change in direction) and some of these conversations have been difficult (the member supporting the existing way of doing things).

But whether easy or difficult, it occurred to me this week that all of these conversations have been beneficial. In each I have had the opportunity to discuss the high-level strategy of my association with our most engaged and supportive members.

Increasingly, I realized, those opportunities are becoming few and far between. No matter the time it takes out of my already busy schedule, the chance to discuss what the association is doing and why with these members is invaluable. For those that support the direction, that support is solidified. For those that don't, the dialogue and feedback received helps strengthen future strategy decisions and keep the member engaged in the broader picture of membership and leadership.

Changing your strategy can sometimes be a challenging time. But the opportunity it presents for member engagement is not to be missed.

+ + +

This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

Image Source

No comments:

Post a Comment