Association Management: Interesting Things No One Tells You
The world of association management is truly wild and whacky. There are so many things that no one tells you, that you discover on your own. From time to time, Iâ€™ll try to explore some of these and seek your comments and feedback. Iâ€™d particularly like to hear suggestions from you about interesting things no one told you.
Episode 1: Godzilla Breathes Fire on the Silos!
Remember the Japanese sci-fi film critter, Godzilla?
Lest you think Godzilla trivial in your important association duties, consider the following excerpt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godzilla):
â€œGodzilla is depicted as a gigantic dinosaurâ€¦he is almost always described as a prehistoric creature, and hisâ€¦mutation due to atomic radiation is presented as an explanation for his great size and strange powers...â€ (Not to mention his fire-breathing proclivities!)
â€œGodzillaâ€¦is among the few fictional characters granted a Lifetime Achievement Awardâ€¦by MTV in 1996, becoming the second fictional characterâ€¦to have received it. The character was also recently awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.â€
Trivial, eh? Whereâ€™s your sidewalk star?
Refocus on silos: you know silos. Associations have focused forever on silos, lovingly and energetically developing them. By definition, silos (and those in them) seldom communicate or participate in activities outside the silo. Silos exist to sustain and enhance their internal interests. They expect the association to support their interests. Whatâ€™s the output of a silo? Most often itâ€™s one or more stand-alone programs, products or services. The more silos that an association has, usually the more stand-alone programs, products and services they offer. What do we do with the output? We package and market each one, individually and independently. Am I right on this?
Is there an alternative? Here it is folks: S-O-L-U-T-I-O-N-S. Repeat after me: solutions!
Solutions are integrated bundles of products and services, highly customized and integrated into portfolios of programs, products and services to meet specific targeted needs of a customer, niche or major market segment. Solutions, by definition, offer the potential for higher cumulative value for customers, and added financial benefits for sellers.
IBM is an example of an organization that talked with individual customers, reassessed its stand-alone business products, from laptops to mainframes, divested and refocused on total business solutions.
Where does Godzilla comes in? It may take strength from outer space (not to mention a fiery breath) to change individual silos into successful solutions providers. Some folks call this realignment, (gasp!) â€œhorizontal convergenceâ€! With Godzillaâ€™s help you may be able to turn your silos and stand-alone products into integrated solutions, offering added value and competitive advantages for your customers. Yes, horizontal convergence can be yours!
Be warned--solutions are challenging; not every company should attempt them. See http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_abstract.aspx?ar=1325
If you think your association is ready for solutions, you may want to work closely with Godzilla for a successful effort. Let me know how it goes!