by: James Young

A Better Way to Create Value for Members

A key anchor and driver to a successful product community are mastering the six association product competencies of culture, vision, customer, design + build, go to market, and performance.

They are vital to creating a culture of innovation and intimately linked to growth: in members, reach, or impact.

Whether you are putting on an event, compiling and distributing a journal, creating a game, or offering a course you can utilize the association product competencies as a repeatable framework to better understand your members, create new value, and measure impact.

  1. Culture — Products drive trust
  2. Vision — Products are anticipatory
  3. Customer — Products solve problems
  4. Design + Build — Products are optimized
  5. Go to Market — Products are in demand
  6. Performance — Products are indispensable

In addition to the built-in adaptability of the association product competencies, they can also be used to anchor your portfolio of offerings so you can leverage your programs, products, and services in new ways to new markets.

In short, all your offerings can become competency-based and, therefore, increasingly interdependent, anticipatory, and relevant to member needs.

This is the first of several posts on the association product competencies. Each week, we will dig deeper into an individual competency and address how you can practically apply them to your particular situation.

A Shared Commitment to Growth

The association product competencies hold the product community experience together and are a foundation for a shared commitment to growth. They are a common thread for engagement. 

Competency-based learning is a system of learning and assessment that requires learners to actively demonstrate the knowledge and skills they learn as they progress through the product community. 

For the product community, this means that learning is more a content dump. It is robust, interactive, engaging, and perpetual. 

The product community utilizes peer engagement to create milestones, drive conversation, and create an experience that meets the needs of participants with diverse areas of expertise and varying levels of experience.

Applying the Association Product Competencies

Together, the association product competencies play a dual role: 

  1. They serve as anchors to guide your community on a shared journey while 
  2. building capability in areas of weakness and sharing know-how for areas in which they have more experience. 

In this way, the association product competencies serve a connector purpose

  • to connect community members to content + experiences in meaningful ways
  • to connect diverse participants so they can solve problems together
  • to connect people together in a community of ongoing practice 

The association product competencies are a working body of knowledge, refined over time by a network of association professionals who contribute new insights, models, and techniques as they build and get to market new products. 

Ultimately, a culture of innovation is formed. The competencies and sample topics are briefly described in this table: 

In future posts, we will address each of the competencies individually and introduce the product community maturity model, which is an assessment tool used to gauge progress and measure one’s learning journey.

Remember, 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.