It Can Be OK To Be A Flame-Thrower

If flaming out and being down on one’s luck was unpopular, there wouldn’t be so many country music songs. Everybody, and by proxy every association leader, can find themselves in a rut. The question is how to get out of it and turn things around.

    Christine Banning, president of the National Parking Association, provided tips for shaking things up to better association performance during her session “From Flameout to Flame Thrower: Business Transformation Strategies for Association Executives” during the 2017 American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting & Exposition in Toronto, Ont. Talking points during presentation included:

  • Think, plan, and act. Gather input, develop plans, and implement, looking to mobilize on early wins. After things shake out and results become clearer, cut costs and invest wisely. Involve others and share your association’s story;
  • Don’t be afraid to get messy. Invite input and test ideas. Seek out the best opportunities for change in your association and, when you figure out a method that works, keep hitting repeat;
  • You can be the boring one. Planning and transparency might not be sexy, but they are keys to success. Look for repeatable success and to build institutional knowledge; and,
  • Focus on your association at its peak. Solve the top problems first. Create a learning culture and build models for board facilitation. Seek out ways to build champions, support, and consensus.