“What keeps you up at night?” Its intention is good: discover what troubles people, their pain points, and try to address the underlying needs. But its roots are negative and focused on problem-solving instead of aspiration-pursuing.

Jeffrey Cufaude wrote this in one of his Leadership Limerick posts, The Mojo of Motivation. His “aspiration-pursuing” idea stuck with me. He’s right, when we think about strategic planning we tend to focus on problems and challenges. It’s a reactive mode. The proactive mode he suggests is so much more empowering, motivating and alluring.

We also fall back on the same old questions — “What problems do we solve? What issues do we address? — when we create membership marketing materials. Yes, we do need to show how the association experience will provide solutions and impact our members’ lives, careers or businesses. But what about the emotional aspirational angle? What other questions should we ask?

I’m finishing a presentation on blogging for the Association Executives of North Carolina Technology 20.11 forum. When talking about content strategy, I’ll discuss, as you would expect, identifying audiences and their content needs to help them solve problems and address challenges. I’m glad Jeffrey reaffirmed my desire to dream bigger and reach higher. We need to ask different questions if we want to create something better than all the other boring association blogs out there, and, believe me, I’ve done the research, there are many. He leaves us with a good question.

Instead ask, “What would make you leap out of bed in the morning?”

What would you ask?

blogging associations strategic planning questions aspirational

Photo by Mike Licht