• Strategies for the Post-Pandemic Emergence

    Are your association strategies ready for the post-pandemic emergence? Do they capture the opportunities that are unique to this time period?

    Given the precarity and ambiguity of the post-pandemic landscape, associations may find it necessary to completely reimagine their future state.

    There are four crucial elements of a mid-stream strategy review:

    1.       Embrace Ambiguity as the First Rule

    There is no way to return to the pre-pandemic “normal.” Although we long for stability and a semblance of order, these feelings prevent us from embracing the realities of the post-pandemic emergence. Leaders and managers must embrace ambiguity, adopting not a defensive posture but rather a proactive approach to methodically conquering challenges. The president of a local electrification company told me they are examining new approaches to becoming more efficient and sustainable, having moved to a new building just before the pandemic struck. Now, with a the majority of the staff working remotely, it’s become a question of how to optimize that space.

    2.       Short-Term Strategy and Planning Works

    Long-termism is over. Short-term strategizing and planning are the new order. Focus your executives’ time on discerning where the pressure points and opportunities will be in the coming years, and identifying the most proactive approach. Review your plan every six months to a year, and be prepared to revise as driving forces (i.e. technology, regulations, consumer preferences, social mores) change rapidly without warning.

    3.       Pivot When Stable, Not When it Hurts

    If it hurts when you pivot, you are late in the process. The best pivots happen when your organization can examine the oncoming changes and distill your next game-changing moves before you are desperate and lack viable choices. If you are not looking ahead, you are bound to implement knee-jerk responses which will cost your association more time, energy and money. Who says there will be no more pandemics after COVID-19? Insulate your organization from further shocks and stresses by creating layers of redundancy.

    4.       Look for Assets You Already Have

    You are in the “people business,” so your members, staff, executives and stakeholders should buy in to your organization’s strategic approach. Invest in light learning exercises where everyone can see different future scenarios and achieve synergy of minds and hearts with full commitment. Look for assets, abilities and talents you already have to implement your strategy. The key to implementation is the engagement of all important stakeholders. The right process engenders active support and acquiescence.

    For more on preparing for the post-pandemic emergence, including three possible approaches (survival, wait-and-see and being a provocateur), read this article.

    Looking for more expertly curated content on organizational direction? Check out the CSAE Blog.

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