“No Risk, No Reward!”

“Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!”

“Shoot for the moon!”

These are all basically clichés these days, and they’re super easy to say. But for an association executives, they’re not necessarily easy to do. Association leaders have a lot of people to answer to: fellow staff members, boards, national groups, and most importantly the members.

But there is some truth to, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Associations, just like every other business in the world, has to grow and change to keep up with the changing world. So how do you take risks with all the red tape?

Taking Risks with Your Association

1)   Take the risks you can take

Some things are YOUR job. Find those boundaries you have the power to push that wouldn’t mash down the buttons of your board. Psych yourself up by reminding yourself that great leaders are named by doing bold things.


2)   Keep everyone in the loop

If your board and your staff need to feel secure in your moves by knowing what they are, tell them!  But don’t loop them in until you’ve done your research and are invested in the plan. Then, come at them with your answers prepared, a proposed timeline, and a clear list of your reasons this risk could have a huge reward coming.


3)   Face the fear

Say you’ve already made some bold moves your board isn’t happy with and you are not looking forward to the next conversation you have with them. It’ll be tough, but do it anyway. Face the music, answer their fears, concerns, and even outrages. Remember that you both want what’s best for the association!


4)   Keep on keepin’ on

This one might not work out, but don’t give up! You won’t grow as a leader in an environment that never grows and changes, and you will lose members if things stay the same. So keep looking for bold moves and big ideas! You never know what will work out. Stumbling blocks come down all the time, and when the people you answer to see your tenacity they’ll listen, but it might take awhile.


Stop thinking that your association is in a world where risk taking doesn’t happen. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and go for it! It might not be easy, but there’s a way to make it work!


If the big move you’re considering is getting an AMS, download our free guide to choosing one! It’ll make your board feel a lot better.