Recently, I’ve been writing, speaking, and some would say obsessing about the challenges facing the modern professional association. Associations are now operating in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. During times of rapid change, organizations must accomplish three very challenging interlocking tasks. First, they must recognize threats and new challenges. Second, they must develop a strategy to address those threats. And third, they must mobilize the entire team to execute that strategy. It’s in the third phase, the execution phase, that organizations experience the greatest difficulty.
Sometimes the tasks of threat recognition and strategic planning seem to exhaust some organizations, resulting in a failure to execute. But more frequently, there appears to be an invisible and even impenetrable barrier to executing change. I believe one of the culprits is what the economist Alfred E. Kahn once described as the “tyranny of small decisions.”
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