Association Leadership – The Opportunity to Influence

Categories: Association Management

At WebLink, we have been talking a great deal about leadership and the role it plays in a successful, dynamic and growing organization.  Leadership is one of those ubiquitous topics that are of great interest to all types of organizations.  Not only is leadership important to our company, but also to the hundreds of associations with whom we partner. So, we thought it appropriate to share our ruminations more broadly.

For our association customers to grow and evolve the way they serve their members, they too, must find new ways to lead their members and their staff. Or perhaps more accurately, they must find new ways to create and nurture more leaders.

Many organizations have functioned very successfully based on a traditional leadership model in which leadership is synonymous with authority and comes from the top down.  The question we have been asking each other is whether or not that model works for our company, with our goals, with our team, with our customers and in today’s environment.  The conclusion we have come to is an emphatic “No!”    Many of our association customers have experienced similar feelings when contemplating how to provide value to their members and empower their staff to drive growth for their organization.

Based on the title of Mark Sanborn’s book, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, it is evident that he agrees with our belief (or that we agree with him).   His basic premise is that anyone, anywhere, can make a positive difference.  Further, he writes that leadership is about theopportunity to influence, stating that we all have this opportunity as well as the ability to chose whether or not we use it to make things better around us.

Interestingly for WebLink’s business and our customers, Mark Sanborn talks about his involvement in association leadership early in his career and the demands that it placed on him personally.  He talks about reaching a point where he had to reorient himself toward seeing those demands as opportunities rather than obligations.  About this reorientation, he writes “now when the phone rings, I respond to each call as an “opportunity to serve, earn, learn, influence, network, encourage or teach.”

Each day, the staff of your association is presented with similar opportunities, regardless of title or role at your organization.

Like Mark Sanborn, I believe that we have all been given an invitation to greatness and have a choice to make on whether or not we will accept it.  While some leaders do achieve fame and fortune, the vast majority of leaders achieve greatness by humbly influencing others within their churches, families, businesses, organizations and communities.

How will you and your organization respond to this invitation to greatness and the leadership opportunities that surround you?

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