One small milestone for association management

What's the thing members always say they value about association events? They love talking to other members, right? There's nothing like peer-to-peer networking. As long as you can find the time for it. What with all the issues at work and all...

Four of us had an idea. We’d like to see if it resonates with you.

Would you be willing to bring your business development experience to a ‘closed’ high-level problem-solving group of association directors, chairmen and non-execs? No, not another networking club. A strategic problem-solving think-tank. Simply: we invite people to share their biggest issues, which we’ll then anonymise and e-mail to all participants to give you time to reflect. Then once a month, we take the opportunity to brainstorm them together, real-time, on a video conference call. Probably on a ‘working lunch’ basis, Tuesday or Wednesday, 12-1 BST / 1-2 EST, so it doesn’t interfere unduly with the working day.

The group will be ‘Closed’ only in the sense that everyone knows it’s for senior strategists only; that everyone participates on the understanding that we are open and honest with our contributions; that what is discussed remains confidential and that participants agree to put their hands up if they can foresee any potential conflicts of commercial interest. ‘We’, by the way, is Damian Hutt, Alexander Inchbald, Chris Pateman and Gregoire Pavillon. Four experienced and time-served servants of the association and events industries who share a common passion for making things happen. We’re all on LinkedIn if you want to check us out. But we see ourselves here as catalysts rather than gurus.

And we’re offering you this invitation on the understanding that the real value will come from the interactions between yourself and fellow participants.

Its an idea which grew from Alexander’s Brussels associations masterclass at the end of June. The day was real eye-opener for those of us who were able to attend: it helped us to look at our businesses, our growth plans and our members’ needs from a fundamentally fresh perspective. But it was the peer-to-peer brainstorming exercises which yielded the really exceptional and unexpected insights. So much so that we want to try and capture the experience.

The essence is the opportunity to discuss my big issues with fellow association or institute professionals who might know nothing at all about my specific membership sector, but whose experience means they can perfectly recognise the present dynamics of my business model. There’s nothing like sitting down with somebody who’s 'walked the walk'. But that’s not something most of us can easily find the time for as busy strategists. That’s the need we think needs addressing.

Work for you? Get your name down for next month's call here.