What’s your association’s goal? To change the world, right? That’s terrific! Go for it! But there are a lot of advantages to focusing on smaller goals first to eventually get to that big, global change.
For example, if your association’s goal is to change the world from the point of view of the professional trade or interest you represent, why not start with a smaller view, say your community or town? Sometimes the biggest impact can be felt locally, and when locals are inspired to support your cause, that’s when donations, volunteers, and other types of support roll in.
If you have a more specific goal, say education or training, instead of attempting to educate the world, why don’t you start with one class, or even one person? Mentorship or other opportunities for learning can be life-changing for students or professionals who are floundering in their decision making. If you offer one or a handful of deserving learners the chance to gain knowledge, they will be your biggest cheerleaders and advocates for your association.
What if your big goal is political action? We all know that’s an uphill battle from any angle. Why don’t you first develop relationships with influential leaders, one at a time, until you are able to more effectively communicate your members’ needs and desires?
Presenting your members and board with smaller goals that seem more within reach can make a huge difference in motivation and morale. Asking someone to plan an entire conference is overwhelming, but asking someone to call a caterer seems a lot easier to tackle.
Having said that, it is important to keep the big picture in mind! Set up exactly how all these little achievements will contribute to the larger goal. Besides making the goals more attainable, it shows everyone that the association is on track and has a clear plan to move forward.
Having smaller goals also offers members more opportunity to speak up, volunteer, or voice their dissenting opinion. The momentum of a huge, charging goal can seem very tough to interrupt and intimidating to voice opposition to, and it may make your members feel invalidated or powerless. Breaking down the smaller goals can provide a small comfort in that it makes the path seem a little more flexible.
Do NOT be discouraged! Dream big! Change the world!
Remember it’s those little goals that all string together to achieve the huge goal, and that’s what your association is all about!
For more ways to reach your emerging leaders to create a culture of fabulous goal-setting and achievement, download our guide to reacing "Generation Connected!"