Associations today aren’t your grandpa’s association. They have changed and need to continue to change to carve out relevancy in the 21st century.

PureReinvention’s Mike Bills talks with Mike O’Callaghan, chief operating officer of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, about his long-time experience as an association member and leader; what has changed and what remains the same.


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“The good old boys - if they don’t pay attention to what’s happening around them - are all of a sudden going to get lost.” (8:15)

“It comes down to some soul-searching and looking within, and really analyzing what is it that you provide? Why would someone want to get involved?” (17:20)


This is such a great interview, there are a lot of interesting places to dig in. We’ve pulled out a few must-listens, but highly recommend finding the time to absorb this podcast from start to finish. During your drive to work, perhaps? Start with these:

At 7:30 Mike Bills asks O’Callaghan how he thinks associations need to change to remain relevant today. Then, around 12:50 they look at the value of diversity in associations as an intentional choice and compare it to how associations can learn from Detroit’s forced need to diversify to survive.

Later, O’Callaghan talks about how major industries in the City of Detroit - auto, entertainment, banking - are now learning to work together and help each other succeed. Jump to 18:20 to hear his thoughts on how associations can follow that example by co-mingling with other groups to identify new solutions for members and the organizations that serve them.

1 - Association membership is a powerful tool for the development of an individual by connecting them to a greater body of institutional knowledge.

2 - Associations need to give people a good reason to get involved today - not hang its hat on what worked yesterday.

3 - Continually asking yourself and key stakeholders “What’s next?” moves your association from just surviving, to thriving.

4 - We need to move to more proactive thought in managing associations so that we can be better prepared for the next economic challenge.

5 - Choosing to engage with other groups before it becomes required for survival can bring new assets and perspectives to the process.


Next week:  Mike and Misty talk about the fifth fundamental of PureReinvention - Move.

Produced by Will Carlson, WillPower Consulting

Direct download: MIke_OCallahan_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am EDT






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