Steve Jobs, that is. There’s been no end of the articles about him lately, but one that I found particularly interesting was written by Carmine Gallo for Entrepreneur magazine. “Steve Jobs and the Seven Rules of Success” struck a chord, and made me realize the insights apply to association managers and members as much as they do to computer whiz kids. Gallo’s take on the rules and values underpinning his success can serve as a strong roadmap for us all. I’ve taken the liberty to apply the lessons to life in association management.
1. Do what you love. People don’t get into association work to get rich and famous. They do it because the organizations they hang their stars on deeply resonate with them. We’re lucky in that regard. We’re doing something special that we love.
2. Put a dent in the universe. Associations deal with change. While we’re struggling with the minutia of day-to-day responsibilities, it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re working to make a difference.
3. Make connections. Jobs was recognized for his ability to connect unlike things and make a new thing better. The connections that associations make among members and other organizations are a key component of our mission. Each month or week or day we should strive to think of news ways to make connections and make them strong.
4. Say no to 1,000 things. Smaller staffs and rising expectations make association work challenging. The key to success in any endeavor is to find plot a straight line to success and keep on that path. Recognize what your organization stands for and take on only those tasks that move the association forward toward its goal.
5. Create insanely different experiences. It’s the experiences that members take away from associations that underscore the value of belonging. What new ways can we provide members to gather together (face-to-face or digitally) and feel the power of multiple minds working toward a common goal. Think way outside the box and see what you can come up with.
6. Master the message. Gallo calls Jobs “the world's greatest corporate storyteller.” The stories associations have to tell should be rich with all the elements that make for a good narrative – passion, conviction, creativity and daring. We all have great stories to tell. Don’t hold back in delivering the message.
7. Sell dreams, not products. Members care about their own dreams, goals, ambitions and progress. They seek advice, support and guidance from the association. Showcase the potential for fulfilled ambitions in everything you do.