Posted in Governance

BACon Blog - Association Governance Changes That Hurt YouMany associations are recognizing that their current governance is antiquated and not appropriate for the modern day challenges that they face. They are taking on the tough task of reviewing their governance and making changes to better serve the association, the members of the association and the industry, profession or interest that they represent.

When making governance changes at an association there will always be impacts on individual members serving in governance positions. Positions will be changed and possibly eliminated. Current officeholders may lose their jobs. Or individuals with future ambitions at the association may see their “path to leadership” significantly altered.

What should you do when a proposed governance review negatively impacts you as a current or future leader at the association? Be a leader.

If you recognize that the governance changes are needed to help the association, even if they hurt you individually, then you should lean forward and do all you can to advocate for the change… even if you are individually hurt by the change.

If you see that the reforms will be of benefit to the membership, but alters your track to a governing position at your association, step forward and push for the positive governance changes that will make your association better.

Don’t focus on your current or future position… do what’s right for the association.

In doing so, other will recognize you as the true leader that you are. They will see that you are not focused on the politics of your organization. They will see you focused on the progress of your organization.

And who knows… when you act as a true leader, others will recognize this and may see you as a future leader in a reformed and improved association.

So if a positive reform to your association’s governance hurts you… do the right thing. Advocate for the change and be a leader.

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