Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To Decide is To Divide: thoughts for association boards

In her tribute to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Britain Remembers a Great Briton, Wall Street Journal, April 20), columnist Peggy Noonan offered two observations that offer insight to association executives:
  1. Things change. Time changes them. Great nations, and institutions, rethink. But only if they're great.
  2. "To decide is to divide" according to Prime Minister Tony Blair. And the more decisive, the more divisive.
Assuming our associations are in fact great institutions, are they noticing the change in things and times and rethinking and modifying their organizations?

Or, fearing “division,” are our association leaders avoiding major changes because they don’t want to make anyone mad ... especially the folks who have been around for the last three decades (whether as leaders or members)?

Whether increasing dues, deleting an underperforming program or challenging a non-performing board member, I watched a lot of association boards ignore pressing issues and instead focus on trivia like what color shirts are we wearing during tomorrow’s conference?

Am I being too harsh?

Are our organizations willing to challenge big issues and make major decisions ... even if it causes divisiveness among the members?
What is your experience?

PS.  After writing this blog, I came across this wonderful piece from Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer at SocialFish.  Is your Organization Capable of Unorthodox Thinking?
Please read this important work.  

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