Enduring Impressions from Digital Now: Community, Coherence and Culture

April 10, 2011 at 10:24 am 3 comments

It’s funny what endures after a conference, especially great conferences like Digital Now.

This morning, about 24 hours after the final session, what’s stuck in my head is the video that Tom Hood played for us at the very end. It shows an all-staff strategic planning session, where the people are engaged, purposeful and inspired, creating their future together.

As I embark on facilitating a coherent, digital strategy for my organization, this video provided me the vision of what I want for my people.

Everyone wants to make a difference; I am certain of that. Of those who say they don’t, most have simply been beaten down by the past.

You could dismiss this video as a mere marketing tool for a consultancy, but you would be missing the point.

And I totally LOVE the opening sentence.

You want some of that? I thought so.

Other thoughts from one of the best association conferences on the planet:

  • The mobile imperative is self-evident. But we have a chance to learn from the mistakes many of us made only five years ago, when the social media imperative inspired us with the same power.
  • Like any new initiative, mobile projects must be done with care. There are plenty of eager, resourceful vendors who will help you get to mobile quickly and competently. But you need to start with a plan that makes sense.
  • Strategic coherence is another idea that sticks with me. The session on this concept discussed organizations whose great vision and ambition is undermined by an incoherent strategy.  A coherent strategy means simply: We do what we’re best at, and knock those things out of the park. This usually means just three to six major programs. Do more, and it’s debilitating. (Here’s another funny take on that idea.)
  • That’s not to discount the brain-stretching that happens when we’re exposed to a vision of what’s possible. Tomi Ahonen, James Canton and others did that for me. Thank you.
  • We’re association executives first; we’re the people charged with making innovation work in our communities. Success stories are really helpful, but we have to make it work in our associations.
  • Why? Our cultures. All culture, like politics, is local. And you know the saying: Culture eats strategy for lunch. We have to keep that in mind when examining the mobile imperative too.
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3 Comments

  • 1. David  |  April 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Great point on adapting ideas to your local culture, Frank.

    • 2. Frank Fortin  |  April 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

      Thanks! Working on culture is more difficult than strategy, I think. And more important.

  • 3. Tom Hood  |  April 11, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Frank,

    Thanks for the mention and glad you got the whole point of it – making your thinking visible, engagement, culture matter most when implementing strategy, especially during these times of “permanent whitewater”.

    I too, loved Thomas Stewart and the “coherence” idea – (I can’t wait to get his slides). Like you, I am thinking about how to take back all of the ideas from digitalnow and integrate it into our strategy to make a coherent plan that everyone believes in and ultimately continues to prepare our members for the future!

    Here’s is to coherence!

    Tom


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