How The Creative Storm Can Create a Post-COVID-19 Creative Revolution for Association Executives

In difficult and dark times, powerful ideas still blow away barriers.

The strength of holding on to this belief amid such chaos has stuck with me during COVID-19, the biggest worldwide disaster in most of our memories and one that has wreaked havoc on associations, their executives and their members.

What comforts me is The Creative Storm Innovation Methodology and its track record of helping leaders fuel innovation to see the light, bust down any obstacle, walk through walls and unlock the floodgates to their next level of success.

In it, I see an opportunity that could reignite our associations and its industries and bring us through this pandemic stronger than we went in (which was already fraught).

Associations – and their members – are in the midst of unprecedented change. With declining membership revenues, cancelled conferences and events and massive uncertainty in all sectors, hugging the status quo is a surefire path to mediocrity and decay. 

As member events have ground to a halt, virtually every association is looking at the world differently. But association executives always find a way to be the problem solvers by playing their innovation card.

But problems are plentiful.

This pandemic is not just about here-and-now dollars. It’s about connecting to and engaging members when standard communications forms and typical experiences are gone. It’s about preserving brand value when you may not be able to sell, execute or deliver on your association’s benefits.

It’s about brand endurance.

More associations need to be inspired.

There is never an excuse to accept second-rate and status quo strategies and thinking, and there are way too many COVID-19 executions that default to “we’re all in this together” and other lazy messages.

Association roots are in growth and innovation. Start being bold, breakthrough and authentic about that.

Saving money and building revenue are two powerful outcomes for a new era. But associations need to stop two bad behaviors.

Stop hugging the status quo and being “safe.” Crazy, right? Take more calculated risks. Identify problems first, then seed ideas. Run with ideas that you may not have considered previously and be willing and more prepared to make deeper business model changes to realize your strategies.

Next, change your work culture, unlearning and selectively forgetting past success formulas. In case you haven’t heard, poor and weak company cultures don’t work anymore. Keep innovating how you lead and communicate. Become the trusted association executive who will take a stand and will walk away from what’s not working.

In the face of unprecedented change, associations need to be more creative. This is THE time to try something creative for your association and its members.

Be ready to upset the status quo and get committed to ongoing experimentation with disruptive business solutions.

This means a new business model for associations. We’ll need one in a post-pandemic world that demands visible problem solving and clear paths to measurable growth and member engagement. Only a Creative Storm can unleash something so profound.

Learn more from Nelson Cabral at his presentation on Wednesday, November 4th as part of Unprecedented, CSAE’s 2020 virtual conference.

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