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Commitment to the Core.

Associations today have broadened their activities to meet the burgeoning demands of the many industries and professions that they represent. This evolution, however, has not changed the core mission of our organizations--to serve and to make an impact on our communities. Buffeted as we are by the winds of change, association leaders realize more and more that it is by embracing our strategic goals and core values that we anchor our prospects of achieving that collective mission.

While our constituencies may differ wildly, our shared vision remains strikingly similar. This is often reinforced to me as I attend industrywide events where the brain trust that drives our community gathers to recharge its batteries and share information. It is always reaffirming to hear so many colleagues voice their recognition of the charges we face together as an industry and the commitment to taking them on.

As ASAE's Chairman of the Board, Jeffry W. Raynes, CAE, notes in his message in this special Leadership Issue of ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT, we are fortunate that so many of you have accepted the burden to lead our associations in confronting a wide range of challenges facing our society. How we--as staff and volunteer leaders--approach and position ourselves to meet those challenges is critical.

One action that many forward-thinking organizations have taken is to adopt--as ASAE has recently done--a long-term strategic plan that serves as the foundation upon which all programs and services are built and against which they are assessed. Central to the plan is ASAE's core value: to advance the value of voluntary associations to society and to support the professionalism of the individuals who lead them. Taking the process one step further, ASAE identified five strategic goals to be achieved during the next three to five years. These goals are intended to serve as a template, not only for ASAE but for the industry in which we are all vested. (See "Today's Lesson: Strategic Planning" on page 65 of this issue for more details on the planning process.)

The buy-in has been tremendous. Endorsed by the ASAE Board of Directors and embraced by staff, our core value binds us as an organization, while focusing us on meeting the needs of our members and of the larger community. The plan's accompanying strategic goals--I can say with certainty--will also resonate with you.

* Professional competency. Increasing the participation of our members and our allied societies of association executives in the Certified Association Executive program enhances the credibility of individuals and of the profession as a whole.

* Advocacy. Raising the awareness of association activities and promoting understanding of the industry's contributions to societies and economies worldwide is a perpetual focus of ASAE. While perhaps not a primary function, the role of advocacy guides most trade associations and professional societies in creating compelling messages about the constituencies they represent,

* Recognition and visibility. ASAE heightens the profile of associations and their most effective leaders through numerous awards programs. The Associations Advance America program and articles in ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT are ways that ASAE joins its members as enthusiastic cheerleaders for the industries we all serve.

* Knowledge source. Like many trade and professional organizations, ASAE and the ASAE Foundation are leading the field in research that is future-focused and geared toward ensuring the continued prosperity of members, We are also studying opportunities for strategic partnerships to enhance our body of knowledge.

* Inclusive membership. Associations are paying increased attention to minimizing barriers to access and to increasing members' awareness of programs, services, and benefits, We are advancing this goal through the ongoing work of our diversity committee and with articles addressing the many aspects of diversity.

As our society looks to associations for solutions, our responsibilities will surely grow. If both staff and volunteer leaders rally around articulated core values and strategic goals, I have every confidence that the association community will continue to play a vital role in advancing our society.
COPYRIGHT 2001 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:OLSON, MICHAEL S.
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Words:649
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