March 7, 2009

Planning for Emergency

I was reading marketing guru Seth Godin's blog recently, and found this post that I think really illustrates what we in associations need to be doing to ensure that we're looking to the future as opposed to just the crisis at hand. He talks about the fact that oftentimes, we are dealing with the emergency of today that we should have really been preparing for long ago.

My favorite line:

Why not shine a light on the holes we're digging today as opposed to the canyons we'll have to deal with years from now?

I think this ties directly to a session I was watching online recently that was taking place at the ASAE International Conference. It was being led by Jeff De Cagna, and I heard him say the following about an exercise you can do to help in your forward thinking:

What if your association could not collect dues any longer? How would you survive?

I think this is an interesting exercise to just get started in thinking in an innovative way. While this exact situation may never come to fruition, the exercise of thinking about how you would respond to that situation is a good thing.

The moral of the story that both Seth's post and Jeff's comment capture is that we need to be thinking about what we can be doing to prepare for the future NOW. Let's not wait until we're in the position of having to deal with something that you can foresee, when you can be planning for it today.

I know it's difficult to find the time with all of the fires that need to be put out now, but by planning and looking ahead NOW, you will be changing the culture of your organizational thinking and you'll be prepared when the so called emergencies happen.

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