Always be prepared . . . for growth.

ASAE Great Ideas is almost upon us, and there’s an important event that’s been leading up to it—Girl Scout cookie time! I was a Girl Scout until I was in sixth grade, and the memories I have from being part of this group are endless. We camped, built fires, went on hikes, cleaned the outhouses. The list goes on forever.

But, there was one ongoing theme for each activity, even though it wasn’t our official motto: Always be prepared!

As I prepare for my session at ASAE Great Ideas, I’m using my 10 years as a leader for a for-profit company, which works with thousands of associations and nonprofits, as a starting point. Are my experiences reflected within those sectors? How can I help organizations understand the importance of not just wanting to grow, but to be prepared for it?

Then, it came to me. I will start with my own mistakes.

Many companies and organizations want to grow, but are rarely ready for it. There are ways to evaluate your growth before it happens, and one of those ways is to run these scenarios through a risk management exercise. It’s what my father used to do when one of his children needed to make a big decision. He called it the “What then?” game.

Risk management is like this game. If we decide to focus on a new retention program, “what then?” What resources will be needed to make it a success? If we take resources from another project, “what then?” Where are our risks?

Being prepared for everything can seem daunting. It may seem even impossible. But, we can make it easier together.

I’m looking forward to sharing my mistakes, insights and best practices about always being prepared with everyone attending the ASAE Great Ideas Conference. I look forward to seeing you next week in Colorado Springs!

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