Book Blogging: Shocking the system
Following a brief respite to allow the Young Association Executives to have fun storming the castle of the Acronym blog last week, I have returned with my final post on Umair Haque's new book, The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. Umair's book is an unapologetically in-your-face challenge to the status quo of organizations, business, and the 20th-century capitalist system as whole. That's why I like it, and why I know many association executives won't. The New Capitalist Manifesto delivers an intentional and powerful shock to the system, which may be the last thing anyone in the association community wants and yet the one thing our community most needs.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have adopted the phrase "build to thrive" as a personal mantra, an urgent appeal to association leaders to take responsible and purposeful action to prepare their organizations for the profound uncertainties of the decade ahead. But building our organizations to thrive is much more than a mantra. It is a choice that association leaders must make everyday. It is a choice to reject any further perpetuation of a paradigm that is clearly in decline in favor of creating a radically different future for all of our stakeholders. It is a choice to move beyond incremental improvements in our outputs to pursue revolutionary breakthroughs in our outcomes. To me, this is an incredibly exciting set of choices for our organizations. Why is it that so many association leaders find these choices so terrifying?
To explore your comfort level with making the choice to shock your organizational system out of its 20th century stupor, here are three big questions inspired by Umair's book:
Why are we really here? We will not find serious answers to this question in politely phrased and reassuring statements of vision and mission. We must look deeper and connect with the passionate belief that truly purposeful and disruptive action can lead to radically better outcomes for our stakeholders. If that's not what we're about, then why bother?
How much are we questioning the past? Every association professional expends considerable time and energy excavating and extricating their organizations from the past. These efforts are wasted, however, when we use "change containment" strategies to reduce our discomfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, instead of accelerating the pace of organizational progress to break free of the past once and for all.
What will it take to achieve the impossible? Associations operate in the world of non: non-profit, non-members, non-dues revenue, and so on. The world of non creates more barriers, boundaries, and obstacles to overcome. But will the struggle inspire us to build our organizations to thrive so we can achieve the impossible and create previously unimaginable forms of thick value?
I hope you have enjoyed this series of posts on The New Capitalist Manifesto, and I hope you will read the book. You will not be disappointed. Let me close with a sincere expression of gratitude to Lisa Junker, the former editor-in-chief of Associations Now, for her kind assistance in making this BookBlogging series possible. Thanks also to Joe Rominiecki for taking charge of putting these posts up following Lisa's departure last month.
[BIG NEWS! If you're planning to attend ASAE's Great Ideas Conference at The Broadmoor this week, I will facilitate an informal group discussion of The New Capitalist Manifesto on Tuesday, March 15, beginning at 2 p.m. in Colorado Hall Room E. Please contact me at email@example.com if you have any questions.]
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