Welcome to this episode of Ask JP. I had a colleague of mine in the association space ask me, “Hey, did you read the article about XYZ association?” The article was about leadership and membership. It consisted of a couple of members leaving an organization and they were large ones. When I was at the chamber there’s an annual story around April, “Apple or whoever left the chamber.” Being in the association space, we know that it’s only half the story.
We know on an average year, around 90% of our members are going to renew and 10% aren’t, but all the attention goes to the 10% that don’t. We go through more recruitment, and we gain more members on an annual basis than we lose, but the media focuses on the guy that’s not happy and leaves.
If a large company chooses to leave the association and it becomes news, shouldn’t it be on the corporate CEO’s leadership, their Washington representative, or their public affairs executive? My point is, which CEOs’ leadership should be examined?
I think it is the owner of the company, or the Washington representative, or the public affairs person who wants to shake things up without paying attention. They don’t understand the value of collaboration, education, learning, or the market intelligence they have gained for years by being a part of that association. They choose to exit when they don’t get their way and leave all that behind.
I think the attention should be on the company that’s not a part of the organization that everyone else is joining and everyone else is advocating on behalf of each other in a collective way. Lets look at the selfishness of that corporate entity leaving rather than dragging the association executive through the mud.
Oftentimes it’s exactly the opposite of that. The association CEO is standing up and running things the way they should be. They’re trying to represent everybody in the organization instead of just a few that might write a big dues check. That’s what leadership is all about.
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