Sometimes success can bring about unforeseen challenges. An organization that accomplishes its main mission is often faced with the “what now?” syndrome. Is your work actually done? Are their secondary or tertiary goals that could be accomplished? And how broadly is your success communicated?
Really, there are three options when it comes to next steps.
One is to shut down. There’s no shame in that if your organization has truly fulfilled its goals. For standards groups, that often means putting the standard in the public domain or in the custody of another group, and shutting the professional association down.
Another option is to adjust your mission. We often cite the example of The March of Dimes, which started out with a mission of eradicating Polio. Along came the Salk vaccine, and they shifted their focus to birth defects. There’s nothing wrong with adjusting your mission, as long as it’s the will of your members and your Board.
Finally (though ideally, before reaching this point), you may want to access strategic counsel. Many groups seek counsel from an association management company like Virtual, to regularly assess progress and plan for next steps. An association management company can help you communicate new aims to external stakeholders, formulate new short-term and long-term goals, and recommend any organizational modifications that may come with an adjusted mission. The real key is to make sure this moment of success is not a surprise.
Plan ahead for your “mission accomplished” moment. See how an association management company can help.
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