Why Trade and Professional Associations?

I’ve been in meetings the last couple days, so today’s post is a detour from connecting you with the experts around Emerson. It’s about why…

Simon Sinek's book, Start with WhyI was influenced by the book, Start with Why. There’s a great TED Talk from the book’s author Simon Sinek, How great leaders inspire action. He makes the case that to effectively communicate something new or change, you must first start with why, before you move on to the how, and then the what.

Most companies and organizations do the opposite in their communications. They start with what, move on to how, and conclude with why. It’s the easiest way to do it, since it starts with what is most known and ends with the least known.

When you join a professional organization, either a trade group, professional society, or other external organization, why do you do it?

For me, one of the biggest reasons is to connect with a peer group with similar experiences and interests. Not only for the social aspects, but also to learn from their experiences. My hope is that these interactions over time are a shortcut to my learning, solving problems, or gaining additional experience.

What about you? What’s your “Why?” in participating in these types of organizations? I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me and other readers of this blog.

Posted Thursday, January 24th, 2013 under Communities, Education.

3 comments

  1. Great question. I first joined SME because there was an active local chapter that had informative meetings, I could meet potential customers and we raised money to help some local engineering students. I’ve never been close to an ISA section, so my interaction was more of going to the annual trade show/conference.

    Once joining was for a source of information about the profession. But now information is everywhere and the quality of information coming from both is not as good as it once was. So I keep asking “why” myself. Maybe some others will comment and let us know why we should still belong.

    • Gary, Great thoughts… thanks for sharing! You’re right that many organizations were founded on the premise of disseminating information. The value of this has fallen considerably in the age of the Internet and Google. The ones that recognize and reorganize to this change will be the ones that continue on. I hope others will jump in on this thread…

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