I just got off the phone with a man (I’ll call him Don) whose company understands the value of investing in their industry colleagues – customers and competitors alike. He’s in the manufacturing sector serving the transportation industry. Don’s company has intentionally rearranged his business responsibilities so that he may be more active in their association community, a LOT more active.
The gentleman had just ascended to the president’s chair on his association’s board of directors from the role of vice president. Most trade association leaders layer their volunteer work on top of their “day job” (which is rarely nine to five) and family time which often includes church and sports activities. In my board training, I stress that board involvement is a job. Leadership is doubly engaging.
Don’s company is wise. Not only are they fully supporting his desire to donate time and talent to their industry, but they are assuring that Don doesn’t have a meltdown at work or with family. The obvious further benefit is the visibility of the company in all functions and messaging that goes out to the industry during Don’s presidency.
Don’s company is fairly large and his management duties there can be shared with others, but I’ve seen this concept work with very small firms too. The entire industry benefits.