Football season is upon us, and for many fans (including myself), it couldn’t come soon enough. But while football season is wildly entertaining, there are also many important lessons that associations can learn from the game. Take a look:
1. “Big data” has promise.
Football is becoming an increasingly data-driven sport. Coaches are constantly reviewing analytics to improve their plays and overall game strategy. As an association professional, you have data too, and you can use that data to improve your organization’s overall strategy.
For example, are members renewing on your association’s website? Are any of your web pages generating more renewals than others? If so, consider why that might be. Maybe it’s the content on those pages or a particular call-to-action. Whatever it is, consider duplicating it on other pages to maximize membership renewals.
2. Change is good. Don’t be afraid to abandon tradition.
It’s no secret that football teams analyze their competitors’ plays. One team may excel at something, but at some point, another team is going to catch up. Football teams must be open to changing their ways in order to keep up with the changing environment.
Similarly, associations must learn to embrace change. Over time, members change (think Boomers to Millennials) and it’s important for associations to change as well in order to stay relevant.
3. Always learn from your losses.
Even the best football teams encounter losses at some point. But when a team loses, the coach often goes back and analyzes what happened and looks for ways to prevent it in the future.
This is huge for associations. Don’t ever let a shortcoming go unnoticed. For example, if your association hosted an event that had a low turnout, think about why that was. Was the location a little out of the way? Did the date conflict with any other local events? Give it some thought and really learn from your losses. We promise you’ll be better for it.
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of leadership. Leaders inspire their teams.
Every good team needs a quarterback and/or inspired coach to lead them to victory. There are times that teams feel discouraged. It’s up to quarterback and/or coach to inspire them and lift them to be better.
The same is true for associations. If your members or staff are feeling discouraged, it’s up to you to lift them back up. You are their inspiration.
Tom Landry, former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, said it best when he said, “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence. If you’re in control, they’re in control.”
Ready. Set. Hut!