Reach boldly into the future. Does the present inform the future or does the future inform the present? Your answer to this question helps to frame how you spend your time, what actions you take, what behaviors these actions trigger, and how these behaviors drive compelling and focused outcomes.

by: James Young

People love live events! Properly planned and executed, they are carnivals of activity, networking, knowledge sharing, and fun. The pandemic exposed or sped up what was already invitiable. The world is changing and we need to prepare now for what’s coming. What does it look like?

  1. Start at ground zero. If you started from scratch and wanted to create the ultimate connector organization, what would it look like? Would you have volunteers? What would the governance structure look like? Would you offer membership and events? If you had the rare opportunity to re-frame your association, you might find different metrics drive the conversation: value not benefits, connecting not joining, community not membership, longitudinal learning not content. Doing so may also help you to change your focus. So you then become the relentless connector organization, not the sleepy supper club.  
  2. Reach boldly into the future. Does the present inform the future or does the future inform the present? Your answer to this question helps to frame how you spend your time, what actions you take, what behaviors these actions trigger, and how these behaviors drive compelling and focused outcomes.
  3. Shift joinership to an engagement ecosystem. Belonging is not enough. If members ask ‘what do I get for my money?’ your value proposition isn’t a promise of value to your community, it’s a transaction. Properly designed as the ultimate connector organization, 
  4. Extend the underutilized. Associations create loads of value; unfortunately, a lot of this value is single use, one off, and/or time in place. Associations aren’t so good at extending or leveraging that value for new or tangent markets.
  5. Create a culture of perpetual value. Bad metaphor alert! Think of the annual conference as an organized junk drawer full of value for everyone. If you could turn that junk drawer upside down and re-organize it for maximum, perpetual, sustained value in the middle, what would it look like? 

Product-led growth fuels connection. Join the product community and flip your destiny. 

About the Author

James Young is founder and chief learning officer of the Product Community®. Jim is an engaging trainer and leading thinker in the worlds of associations, learning communities, and product development. Prior to starting the Product Community®, Jim served as Chief Learning Officer at both the American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of College and University Planning.