Posted in Strategic Planning

BACon Blog - Your Association Can Go AwayAssociation leaders at some very badly run associations think their association will go on forever. The association has been around for decades and decades so they assume that it will always be around, even if the member and staff leaders are not focusing on improving and updating the association.

Too many association leaders cannot envision a future where their association does not exist… and this lack of vision affects their decision-making and allows them to avoid the hard choices necessary for their association to survive and flourish.

They are not developing and implementing an effective strategic plan that drives the decisions at their association.

They are not evaluating their governance in order to clarify roles and responsibilities of the governance entities and association leaders.

They are not reviewing their programs, services and initiatives to ensure that they are relevant, meeting the needs of the membership, and producing revenue for the association.

They are not assessing their staff structure and processes with an eye towards putting staff in the right place with clearly defined objectives in order to help advance the strategic plan and provide for member needs.

Every single area of an association can get better… and should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that the association is as effective and efficient as it can be. But too many association leaders stick with what they perceive to be the safe status quo, secure in the knowledge that their association will always be around.

The moment that these leaders can see a future where their association goes away is the moment that they will start taking the steps to ensure that it does not happen.

John Barnes is President of Barnes Association Consultants. Barnes Association Consultants helps association Boards and CEOs address the wide range of challenges and opportunities facing today’s association leaders. Barnes Association Consultants helps association leaders make their associations better.

John can be reached at or 703.321.6866. For more information about Barnes Association Consultants, go to