Second Post Today!!!!!
I wrote a blog about the importance of industry associations some time back. The focus of the day was a “sales job” on joining your industry association. I certainly have not changed my tune on that and in our industry (the staffing industry) we have seen our share of issues to address in the recent past.
I tried to research some other material about the value provided by industry associations and mostly found web sites of companies that extol their involvement in industry association. Kudos to those firms because they are doing the right thing … and I applaud them for it. I found a good article by Max Messmer from Robert Half written in 2005, and I found another article about industry involvement from 2005. So I come to the conclusion that either (a) I suck at searching … or (b) there are not enough articles on this subject!
Some thoughts on the subject of Industry Associations … I probably need some kind of disclaimer, but this is a blog so if you don’t like my views please provide constructive feedback through comments. (Hey … if you like them then comment too!)
1. Membership in your industry association should be a given … they fight your battles for you whether you are a member or not, so if you are freeloading then you need to get with the program!
2. The people who drive industry associations are those willing to give. There is always a shortage of these people … consider the value you could bring, and the enrichment you would receive through involvement.
3. Industry associations NEED leaders who are thought leaders. People who recognize that a strong industry is good for everybody, people who are willing to put in “industry time” when the needs of the company or individual truly come second to the needs of the collective!
4. Industry associations NEED Industry leaders at the corporate level. Those dominant companies in the industry need to demonstrate their commitment to the whole industry in a selfless display of corporate commitment!
5. Industry associations NEED Industry leaders at the personal level. Those leading lights, thought leaders or strong personalities willing to throw their weight behind the association, again without thought of the personal gain possible!
6. Industry associations can break down those negative barriers that competition can create. It is OK to drink a beer and discuss your issues with a competitor … it is way more preferable than doing it through lawyers!
7. Industry associations protect the ethics of their industry, rein in the cowboys, educate everybody about acceptable practices and nuture a professionalism that raises the bar for a whole industry.
8. Industry associations come together to fight common battles and protect the interests of all … they do not come apart because someone might make money off the loss of other members!
9. The enemy of industry associations is legislative change that is uninformed, is a force that can threaten the whole of the industry, is the selfishness of those who take but don’t give, is ignorance and misunderstanding.
10. The members of an industry association can develop a healthy, professional and competitive landscape while still competing every day to win that business the industry supplies!
Obviously I can be very passionate about this subject … our industry, like every industry NEEDS that passion!