Consensus & Validation: The International Association of Vampires Need Both
Improving an industry’s ability to benefit itself is a direct result of its association’s consensus to do so. Relying solely on a unified voice, however, may give the appearance of self-serving. For example, when the International Association of Vampires (IAV) speaks unequivocally that garlic not be sold in grocery stores, their unified message may find significant criticism, not the least of which would be from the International Association of Garlic Growers (IAGG), who claim, “this helps no one besides vampires!”
Sometimes a unified voice must be substantiated by authorities outside an association to claim validity, demonstrate broader benefits, and dispel self-regarding motives.
Developing each: consensus from within and validation from without can be arduous. But, as with most association management initiatives, careful planning, patient execution, and a bit of tenacity can yield beneficial results. Consider these concurrent strategies.
Internal Dialogue – Developing consensus (not unanimity) among association members is an iterative process driven by an agreed upon membership goal and refined by leadership. For example, every member of the IAV agrees that garlic is bad and ideally should never be sold anywhere. IAV leadership understands, however, that is not possible and proposes a more tenable approach of boycotting grocery stores selling garlic. Members debate the likelihood of its success and even suggest other tenable ideas including spending political capital with vampires in the White House to issue an executive order banning imported garlic. Through an internal iterative process among members and leadership the association comes to a consensus to seek legislation requiring grocery stores to put warning signs where garlic is sold.
External Identification – The “warning sign” tactic has a good chance of success, but the IAV still faces pushback that warning signs will cause confusion among shoppers. The IAV already has a public image problem because of centuries of (undeserved) bad press and any of its initiatives are suspect and considered self-serving. However, while it was debating its most promising course, it was also exploring who else may be positively impacted.
As it happens, WSMA (Warning Sign Makers of America) and the HPS (Halitosis Prevention Society) both understood and agreed with the IAV’s initiative and agreed to sign onto a letter that validated the IAV’s idea.
Now, as the IAV engages policy makers they are not simply articulating its members’ unified message, they are validated by others outside their association; a tactic that eliminates accusations of self-serving, demonstrates a community effort and benefit, and makes it harder for policy makers to ignore the IAV position.
Whether the IAV succeeds may still hinge on uncontrollable factors like whether Congressional staffers will meet at night and if the IAGG partners successfully with the PSC (Pasta Sauce Coalition), but these factors will be easier to address alongside the WSMA and the HPS than if the IAV had to stalk this issue by itself.
For more details about association management and advocacy strategies, please visit GrauAndAssociates.com.