American journalist Henry Mencken once said that for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. There is an instinctive appeal for a quick fix.
Then later, there is disappointment when the quick fix fails and you thud back to earth. The pain of the impact fades as the excitement and promise of the next quick fix appears.
My experience in working with industry organisations for over 25 years, is that leaders are often trying to solve the wrong problem. For example, falling membership and revenue is not necessarily apathy by businesses or poor membership communications.
It can be much more complex: like an outdated business model.
If so, it means the real challenge is that the industry body has an innovation problem.
I have seen this situation many times and helped multiple clients find solutions. Therefore, in 2019 I decided to write a thought-provoking paper to share with business leaders.
My thinking was that it would be brief, and take a week or two to produce.
It took me over two months.
Regardless, writing that paper was far easier than what is involved in actually achieving transformation of an industry institution.
I see leaders and advisers read the paper, recognise their innovation problem, and then reach for a quick fix.
Perhaps if you get a new consultant, or a group of industry stalwarts around a table behind closed doors, or run more and better workshops, then the innovation will just happen.
Anyone who has built a business, raised a family or restored a degraded landscape understands there are no quick fixes.
The big problems – such as transforming industries and reversing environmental damage – are beyond the reach of fads and quick fixes, no matter how seductive.