The agile association leader
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 email@example.com for more details on AS8.