Flash Newsletter
June 2015

Seth Kahan, Visionary Leadership
"Surviving and Thriving in the Age of Business Disruption"

Examples of organizational success and failures dominate business news and challenge long respected theories of management.  Upstarts - especially those from Silicon Valley like Apple and Microsoft - rise to the top overnight while long-respected companies such as Kodak topple.  Seth Kahan presented concepts and case stories to suggest strategic approaches relevant for not for profits and, particularly, for associations.

Core to an organization's success is its stated mission. The impact of that mission rests on the vision of its leadership to THINK BIG.  Kahan presented the example of CVS: when the CVS pharmaceutical chain focused its mission on building healthy communities it realized that the sale of tobacco products was directly in conflict with its mission.  Deciding to remove tobacco from its shelves effectively supported its mission and increased the value of its brand many times over, making it now a major player in the health care industry. Association examples included the ANA (American Nurses Association) whose mission statement reaches beyond the profession of nursing to "improve health for all."

Another consideration is the impact of new technology on membership behaviors.  The availability of instantaneous information from web sites and especially from easily accessed apps has our members reaching for their smart phones more often than registering for conferences to remain current in their fields. This rate of technological change is astounding and is expected only to increase.  Kahan projects that the types of changes witnessed over the past 3 years will occur in only 9 months time; the changes we've expected over twenty years will occur in 5.

How does this speak to leadership?  Kahan challenged members to work toward "scaleable" solutions, i.e. to raise your organization to another level by engaging other organizations in your global mission while developing in yourself and your management the skills of a systems leader - one who provides the structure for integration of resources and impact.  That added to an appreciation for what technology can do and might well be able to do for you in the future will make "thriving" the rule of the day.

For more on this program and related topics see Seth's web site at www.visionarytalk.com.