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On purpose. (Preview).

The words of two of the great philosophers of our times aptly illustrate the push and pull of present and future that we in associations must master. The first philosopher is Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who among his many Yogi-isms, delivered this gem: "The future ain't what it used to be." Now I doubt Yogi had in mind challenges like finding the right value proposition for a new generation of members or arriving at the right organizational model for a 21st-century association, but darned if his simple statement doesn't sum up what we can expect--or perhaps not expect--in the years and decades ahead.

The second person whose wisdom I turned to as I prepared to write this column was Peter Drucker, who was dead-on right when he said that plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.

Indeed, the future is a moving target, and yet it is only by connecting our everyday actions--the right actions--to the future we want for our associations that we can hope to achieve our goals. Clarity of purpose is a remarkable arbiter of rightful action.

OK, it's not that simple, so as we are wont to do, we set a writer about the task of doing a piece on navigating the future while managing the present. The writer was Jeffrey Cufaude, and the result is "Creating the Future While Managing the Present," which begins on page 28. Cufaude talked to folks in the association community and drew on his own insights to organize his article around four fundamentals for creating the future while managing the present:

1. Clarify your mission and vision.

2. Become market-driven by knowing your markets.

3. Engage in environmental scanning and scenario planning.

4. Cultivate future "thought leaders."

The companion article to Cufaude's is "Planning the Future Now" (page 40). Executive Editor Carole Schweitzer compiled excerpts from a provocative exchange on ASAE's "Future Models" e-mail list into a fascinating look by some of the brightest minds in our community at the forms associations may take in the future.

You won't be surprised that the concepts of value and purpose found their way into the "Future Models" conversations. Likewise, focusing, or refocusing, on organizational purpose was the primary driver of Philanthropy Northwest's rapid--essentially, deadline-beating--turnaround effort. Turn to page 48 for CEO Alice Shobe's practical "Weathering "The Perfect Storm."

Beginning on page 58, you'll find a great deal more material about preparing for and executing in the future. Start with "Translating Foresight Into Strategy," in which the authors of the ASAE Foundation's newest book, From Scan to Plan: Integrating Trends Into the Strategy Making Process, share some of their thoughts on making strategy setting "robust and ongoing." That article is followed by companion pieces written by two association executives: Ronald S. Moen's "Environmental Scanning Makes Planning Possible" (page 65) and Kathryn B. Aberle's "Repositioning Your Board for Strategy Making" (page 69).

From there we shift gears for a look at how associations might use wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, to increase mobility and productivity and to improve meetings, to name a few applications. The story, by association executive Randy Richter, is "Will Wi-Fi Fly?" and it begins on page 74. Four more features round out the issue. The first is 'Arming Against Employee Litigation" (page 81), by Senior Editor Carl Levesque, which advises communication, prevention, and early action. Next is "Winning Ways" (page 90), which profiles ASAE honorees Thomas H. Henderson, Jr. (Key Award) and Anne Daly Heller (Academy of Leaders Award). Finally, a pair of articles--"Crank Up Your Career Center" (page 97), by Senior Editor LaRonda R.C. Famodu, and "Revenue From Resumes" (page 103), by association consultant Christine Smith-explore ways in which associations can leverage their career centers.

That's not all, and I'm pushing the limits of space, but as Yogi might say, "It ain't over 'til it's over." There's just a whole lot more in our columns and departments. I encourage you to take a look.

Editor in Chief

kskillman@asaenet.org
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Author:Skillman, Keith C.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Words:669
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