Lunchtime Links: The Appeal of “Unmembership”

Could the framework of membership be holding your organization back from its true goals? Also: Why two stressed-out people could be better than one.

Could the framework of membership be holding your organization back from its true goals? Also: why two stressed-out people could be better than one.

Membership is the foundation of many an association or nonprofit, but it isn’t everything. Sometimes you need that reminder—especially because of the possibilities it opens up.

Some thoughts on the downside of membership business models in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Think beyond the status quo: For decades, many associations have built value propositions around paid membership, but is membership the business model of the future? Conferences That Work author Adrian Segar argues no—following up on points previously raised by Principled Innovation’s Jeff De Cagna. In Segar’s blog post, he argues that paid membership can get in the way of the overall mission of the organization. He says it could be better to focus on secondary options for  business models—including relying on events to drive the business, as he’s done with the organizations he’s helped lead over the years. However, he doesn’t think it’s for everyone. “For example,” Segar writes, “any associations that have a lock on key certification requirements or continuing education for their industry are very unlikely to give up the membership income that their members essentially have to provide to become or remain certified in their field.”

Share your stress: Big presentation coming up? Overwhelmed by the pressure to do well? A new study from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business offers a solution to help calm yourself down: Find another person in the same stressed-out shoes. Study author Sarah Townsend says a key discovery of her study is the benefit of spending time and talking with someone whose emotional response is in line with yours. “Imagine you are one of two people working on an important project: If you have a lot riding on this project, it is a potentially stressful situation,” she writes. “But having a coworker with a similar emotional profile can help reduce your experience of stress.”

Identify growth opportunities: “There’s nothing quite like asking a good question,” says Innosight’s Scott Anthony, discussing one of the best lessons about innovation he learned from a mentor. In his most recent blog post for Harvard Business Review, Anthony asks eight essential questions about the innovation process—questions you should know the answers to if you’re looking for new business models for your organization. The best question of the bunch is the first one: “What problem is the customer struggling to solve?” That’s a pretty solid starting point, and one that you can use to focus your efforts as an innovative organization.

What’s on your reading list for today? Let us know in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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