Every association board has met by now and reviewed their 2017 goals for the organization. Most were met. Some, not. So, what’s going to be different next year? What if associations helped solve their industries’ problems? Boy, wouldn’t that bring in legions of nonmembers?

65% of business executives are optimistic about their own companies’ prospects for next year. Most of them feel they will expand quarter over quarter. However, their big concerns are the availability of skilled personnel, regulatory changes, and domestic competition (versus global). These findings come from the AICPA Economic Outlook Survey which polls chief executives in U.S. companies.

First, with revenues up, there should be no resistance in joining one’s productive association, especially if the major concerns are addressed. Those listed here might be different in every industry, but they seem overarching. What are the top three concerns in your business universe? Address those that came in tops in the survey. Want a pep talk? Here’s how to make your 2018 goals.

General Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, offers advice for executives that translate to association boards:

  • Be disciplined
  • Soak in everything you can that affects the industry
  • Make your goals existential, use life or death intensity
  • Be all in, use all your skills and talents
  • Be willing to pivot when winds change
  • Embrace the new kinds of talent that exists today
  • Set up for the future even though your numbers are guesses

Start with your January board meeting. Get specific and be “all in.” Twelve months go fast. You formed to help your industry, so let’s get going on the top three concerns in your group’s universe.

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