The Executive - November/December 2016 - 12


'Foresight Fi
Board of D
Building a

Editor's Note: Association CEOs with 5+ years in the executive role can experience foresight in action
at CalSAE's Insights Executive Conference on February 16-17, 2017.

ssociation boards in every industry and
profession continue to grapple with the
increasingly complicated, sometimes
complex and frequently difficult decisions
required to build their organizations to
thrive in the years ahead. The unforgiving
nature of this emerging context makes
this an appropriate time to reflect on
the most generative governing orientation association boards
can adopt to prepare their organizations for the future.
This process will require all association decision-makers to
reexamine their most cherished assumptions and reshape
their long-standing mindsets about what it means to govern.
The continued proliferation of smartphones (six billion
expected to be in use worldwide by 2020), as well as tablets
and wearable devices, has created significant momentum
for a "mobile first" approach to web design, i.e., a specific
choice to place primary emphasis on the interface of growing
importance. Similarly, in a time of profound, intense and
accelerating societal transformation, association boards must
seriously consider embracing a "foresight first" approach
to governing to maximize their ability to anticipate and
prepare their organizations and stakeholders for a full range
of plausible futures, including the most unfavorable and even
unthinkable possibilities.
Why Foresight Matters
Why should association boards adopt a foresight first
orientation? To answer that question, we need to explore three
fundamental reasons why foresight matters to associations
and must be handled as both a strategic responsibility of
board service and a moral obligation to the stakeholders that
boards serve.
Foresight is an essential practice for building
stakeholder trust: According to a Gallup poll published
in June 2016, the American people have a very low level of
confidence in several national institutions, including the
*

12

government, media and big business. Associations cannot
afford to join their ranks, which is a genuine concern if their
primary focus is on addressing internal organizational
challenges instead of working on stakeholders' problems,
needs and outcomes. After all, association stakeholders invest
themselves and their limited resources in associations largely
on a discretionary basis, and most have abundant access to
good enough and even superior solutions, services and support
through their own network connections. Associations must
make a more empathic case for why their stakeholders should
enter into relationships with them in the first place.
The work of foresight can help redefine the way
associations build lasting relationships with their
stakeholders through a focus on trusted and mutually
beneficial co-creation. By prioritizing the effort to understand
and prepare for a number of plausible futures, association
decision-makers can develop actionable insights for creating
distinctive value and, in collaboration with stakeholders
and their networks, they can develop strategies and design
business models that are both resilient against the forces of
transformation and adaptive to shifting conditions.
Foresight is a fundamental act of stewardship: At a
time when many observers place a premium on shaping the
actions of individual leaders, effective governing in The Age of
Transformation requires association boards to adopt a truly
collective approach to building thrivable organizations that is
grounded in a shared sense of responsibility for stewardship.
As stewards, boards must be able to set aside political
concerns and personal considerations so they can work
together to leave their organizations better than how they
found them. This kind of cooperation is critical to building
a strong team dynamic within association boards, and will
help inspire other stakeholders to make their own unique
contributions to stewardship.
Without foresight, there can be no stewardship. For
far too many boards, including associations, non-profit
and corporations, the choice to bring a short-term focus
*

Ca lSAE's T HE E XEC U T IV E - NO V E M B E R/ DE C E M BE R 2 0 1 6



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Executive - November/December 2016

President’s Message
At a Glance
Calendar of Events
Building a ‘Foresight First’ Board of Directors
10 Tips to Experience Unlimited Success When Communicating
Media Relations: Building a Strategic and Comprehensive Communications Strategy
Associations Communications a Study in Perception vs. Reality
Destination: Santa Barbara
Advancing Associations: 9 Tips for Concise Writing
New Members
Index to Advertisers
The Executive - November/December 2016 - cover1
The Executive - November/December 2016 - cover2
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 3
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 4
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 5
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 6
The Executive - November/December 2016 - President’s Message
The Executive - November/December 2016 - At a Glance
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Calendar of Events
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 10
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 11
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Building a ‘Foresight First’ Board of Directors
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 13
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 14
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 15
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 16
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 17
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 18
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 19
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 10 Tips to Experience Unlimited Success When Communicating
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 21
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 22
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 23
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Media Relations: Building a Strategic and Comprehensive Communications Strategy
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 25
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 26
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 27
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Associations Communications a Study in Perception vs. Reality
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 29
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Destination: Santa Barbara
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Advancing Associations: 9 Tips for Concise Writing
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 32
The Executive - November/December 2016 - Index to Advertisers
The Executive - November/December 2016 - 34
The Executive - November/December 2016 - cover3
The Executive - November/December 2016 - cover4
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