By Stephen Regan
In 1999 I became the executive director of the Massachusetts Auto Body Association. Almost immediately people were constantly saying, “You know, in a few years everything in this industry will be different.” But back then change was slow to come. Today, not so much.
Today we are seeing more change in a single year than in the previous ten. Industry discussions on change primarily focus on vehicle manufacture, repair procedures, repair tools, claims processing, marketing (with emphasis on social media), CSI technologies, data privacy, and increased shop liability, with some variation depending on your role in the industry.
But what about trade associations?
While the role an association plays has not really changed (information, advocacy, benefits, and networking) the manner in which we provide information must. Remember, when you say “everything in our industry will be different in a few years” that includes people, too. At ASAMARI we understand that we need to deliver in a fashion and format that people want today.
Inclusiveness and Input From All
ASAMARI is run in true town meeting fashion, in which every member gets to speak, and everyone gets a vote. We do this because we can. Technology allows us to instantly poll our membership and ask their position on everything from what legislation to support or oppose, to what type of training you want delivered.
Every ASAMARI member has the same opportunity to provide input, suggestions, requests, and guidance about what problems we should address, and what stand we should take on important issues.
The younger generation might label this as “crowdsourcing,” which is a perfectly appropriate name for what we are doing. Crowdsourcing recognizes that the wisdom of the many exceeds that of the few. We are constantly asking for feedback on important issues facing our industry, as well as the direct challenges you deal with every day in running your shop. Don’t ignore your responsibility to take part in identifying and solving the problems that affect us all.
A wise man once said, “The world is run by those who show up.” Be someone who shows up. Pay attention to the issues we are addressing in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Voice your opinion to us, and through us. If we ask for a response to an issue through an email poll, please take a few minutes to respond. Make your thoughts and ideas count.
Each month we will offer our view on the changing ways in which associations are preparing themselves for the future. Future articles will cover topics such as traditional magazines vs. e-magazines, monthly chapter meeting vs. online meetings, white paper vs. video instruction, and more. We will also discuss a new philosophy (and service) we are embarking on here at ASAMARI: Bringing customers into our member shops through direct outreach to the public.