“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
“Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
These sayings, and others like them, have been repeated to the point that they’ve become almost meaningless. Giving any of these as a piece of advice is unlikely to help anyone. We’ve all heard them enough times that if we haven’t gotten anything useful out of them by now, we probably never will. The words, instead of giving form to the idea, have overshadowed it.
And that’s a real shame, because the idea is an important one. However, these clichés make it easy to miss that. Their oversimplified nature doesn’t communicate the complexity of reality well. Because it’s true, there are cases where it really is better to wait and do everything all at once. Sometimes, we don’t have enough information to make good choices. And it’s not uncommon to have something more important that we have to take care of now before we can worry about anything to do with later. Sometimes, we’ve already figured out what we need to do, and we know it will end up being more efficient if we just wait a bit. There are plenty of scenarios where immediate action is not effective action.
However, those situations happen a lot less frequently than we might like to tell ourselves.
It’s very easy to see those reasons not to get started on something and apply them to a task without really thinking about how well they fit. Careful evaluation becomes explanation; explanation becomes excuse. And although it’s an easy mistake to make, that doesn’t make it an easy one to fix. Most of the time, the best course of action by far involves putting real thought into when the best time to do things is. Even if that time isn’t right now, the process of planning is often the crucial factor in deciding success.
This applies especially to to things that aren’t just one-time fixes. Keeping up is by far one of the easiest things to put off. There are so many small changes that it seems like it would be more efficient to just wait until there’s a bit more to do. And then something else comes up, and it gets put off. Ad infinitum. It’s the simplicity of the task that, ironically, keeps it from ever getting done. Unfortunately, this means that many organizations are falling behind on the one thing that both has the most influence over their success and is the most daunting when it gets out of hand:
It’s one of the best examples of something that improves at an exponential rate. It took humanity at least six thousand years to get from agriculture to written language. Now? We’ve gone from room-filling computers to ones that are orders of magnitude more powerful and can fit in your pocket—in mere decades!
Associations use tech for:
The improvement of available technology is obviously a good thing. But, for those who don’t take the initiative to improve with it, the advances can quickly become overwhelming. If an organization neglects keeping up with technology for too long, it will inevitably become so far behind that catching up is impossible. Associations in particular are at risk of this. Many of them have found methods that work and have extraordinary success with them. Developing an “if-it-ain’t-broke” attitude, they may not even notice they’re fading into obsolescence. Their membership program and conference format are serving them so well, they don’t realize that this doesn’t guarantee future success.
And that’s what makes having a strategy for keeping up so important. By making a plan and sticking to it, it becomes much harder to fall behind. Having a strategy doesn’t mean updating with every minute change; there’d be constant interruptions and nothing of substance would get done. It just means making a schedule and setting aside time to think ahead.
It’s not too late for your association to get started on keeping up with technology. Next time, we’ll talk digital strategies: what they are, why you need one, and how to use them to make sure your association doesn’t fall behind.
Don’t miss out on the next part in our Keeping Up series!