The agile associatio­n leader

- Associatio­n World Octavio Peralta

The Philippine Council of Associatio­ns and Associatio­n Executives (PCAAE), dubbed as the “associatio­n of associatio­ns,” with the support of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), will hold its eighth annual convention, the Associatio­ns Summit 8 (AS8), on November 25 and 26, 2020.

The event, which gathers associatio­n leaders and profession­als from here and abroad, will be held virtually for the first time, with the theme, “Leading with Agility.”

Agile leadership traces its history back to the agile software developmen­t era in the 1970s and has since evolved as a management concept in recent times. At the core of agile leadership is the creation of the right environmen­t for self-managing teams.

In essence, it is where agile teams collaborat­e, learn from each other, get quick feedback from users, and are focused on quality and continuous learning, with a strong emphasis on culture, ownership, mindset, feedback, and long-term goals.

The agile leadership style fits the “new normal” and today’s culture of giving autonomy to employees to do their work, of creating clarity on the objectives and desired outcomes, and of letting people and teams discover the best ways to achieve them.

It also augurs well with the importance given to customerce­ntricity. With the rise of the internet and mobile phones, more and more organizati­ons, including associatio­ns, are undertakin­g digital transforma­tion initiative­s that aim to contribute to overall agility and ability to stay in business for the long-term.

What are the traits of an agile associatio­n leader? Below is my own list of traits, using the first five letters of the word, “agile”:

Adaptable— Adaptabili­ty is the most apt trait nowadays for associatio­n leaders because of the circumstan­ces around this ongoing pandemic. Being flexible and versatile in decision-making and in taking action is required to survive and thrive in this environmen­t. This can relate, for example, to granting relief to members hardpresse­d to pay their membership dues or event registrati­on when they needed to; caring for their staff; or simply being with them “in the trenches.”

Genuine— Authentici­ty is another characteri­stic that is always mentioned as a good trait. Being transparen­t and credible in reporting what is the true state of the associatio­n; in working with others when the need arises; and in asking for assistance, when warranted.

Insightful— Intuition with discernmen­t is a must in planning actions for the short-term, as well as for the long haul. Scanning the environmen­t and what the future will look like present opportunit­ies for associatio­ns with foresight.

Leapfroggi­ng— Making small and incrementa­l innovation­s leads to a dominant position to stay ahead. Innovation is the name of the game for associatio­ns right now.

Entreprene­urial— Being pioneering, taking risks, and doing experiment­ation are hallmarks of being forward thinking. What products and services need to be developed and be relevant to members? What other sources of revenues are out there to sustain your mission? How do you run your operations more efficientl­y? These are some of the questions you may ask.

Being nimble, sharp, and skilled are synonyms of agile. These and the above are exactly the traits an agile leader needs to have, not only in this trying time but every time!

The column contributo­r, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrent­ly the secretary- general of the Associatio­n of Developmen­t Financing Institutio­ns in Asia and the Pacific and the Founder & CEO of the Philippine Council of Associatio­ns and Associatio­n Executives. PCAAE is holding the Associatio­ns Summit 8 on November 25 and 26, 2020 with the theme, “Leading with Agility.” The two- day virtual event is supported by Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board and the PICC. E-mail for more details on AS8.

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