Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Edison’s Advice to Association Executives: Try One More Time


Growing up in Ohio, my grandparents used to regale me with stories about Ohioan Thomas Edison and his unwillingness to give up. (I think they related to Edison because they were in the same generation and like him, grew up in small Ohio towns.) Edison was used almost as often as “the Little Engine that Could” as teachable moments of my childhood.
Three of their favorites were:
  • “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” 
  • “We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” 
  • “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” 
So, I was fascinated with Mazda’s new Conviction, Creativity and Courage campaign  featuring Thomas Edison, Dick Fosbury and Laird Hamilton.
I really like Mazda’s campaign and strategy. It works for me.

And I love their quote from Edison:
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. 
The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”

Think of this in terms of your work in your association:
  • Do we send a renewal notice just one more time?
  • Do we invite that crucial conference speaker just one more time?
  • Should we send that invitation to join the board of directors just one more time?
  • Should we pitch that story to the New York Times just one more time?
  • Do we try to find resolution with a “difficult” chapter just one more time?
  • Do we go after than big foundation grant just one more time?
  • Should we work with that brilliant but difficult employee just one more time?
And, just when do we know we’ve done enough and it’s time to move on?

Edison’s quote is great advice for association executive directors but the challenge is knowing when is enough enough.
Well, that is where conviction, creativity and courage guide our thinking.

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