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What’s Your First Step?

One more thought about Jim Collins’ presentation at the Alliance’s 2012 Annual Meeting before I move on to other topics…

Collins was clearly fascinated by the fraternal business model and believes that the timing may be right for a fraternal resurgence – provided we face the “cold brutal facts” confronting us in a straightforward and realistic manner.

One of those facts is that almost every society is dealing with a rapidly aging number of members and isn’t coming close to replacing them with younger ones. Collins challenged fraternals to transform their societies so that one-half of their membership will be under 35 years old within 10 years.

The audience’s silence was deafening. You could hear what people were thinking: “Impossible.” “If only we could!” “Is he crazy?” “He’s absolutely right – but where do we start?”

About a week later, I was standing atop Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park peering down at one of the most awe inspiring views on the planet – a spectacular canyon of 1,500-foot walls of Navajo limestone carved by a seemingly innocuous little river that a five-year-old could wade across with ease.

Picture the scene ages ago when the Creator looked out over the vast Colorado Plateau and described what she envisioned for the tiny little river. “1,500 feet deep; sheer walls of painted rock; a place where people will come and feel a close connection to me.”

And the river’s response: “Are you crazy!?!?!? I can’t do that. I’m only a small river.”

The Creator’s response: “Try.”

And so the river did, and by moving one grain of sand at a time, Zion Canyon was born.

We can do the same thing in our societies. But we have to try – perhaps even considering options that we once thought were crazy. Most important, we have to move that first grain of sand – take that first step – so that transformation can begin.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Joe. It’s me again . It was interesting to talk to a very respected Fraternal advisor and I suggested that the fraternalism seemed to be working the Geritol generation and they were being led now by bureaucrats rather than believers. He replied ..” I agree.”

    You start by taking 12 young advisors with promise and you mentor them in marketing, media, public performance and ask them to work their generation using belief based marketing. You also find three great teachers . two including you who coach, confront, challenge, and teach new leadership using modern media.

    On another note – We have some local energy in NAIFA to create The Mentoring Mission and creating a cadre of master mentors who will speak to their organizations and in their local places.

    All of the financial services are in deep trouble unless trust is restored and restored fast.

    All the best to you


    “We all need to take a second look,

    think a second time,

    and receive a second touch. ”

    Stan Hustad


    520.664.7002 (USA)

    Skype: stanhustad

  2. I just watched the new AFA video and I think using this tool with our members, agents, employees, friends, etc. is a great first step in restoring trust in our industry. Job WELL DONE!!!!

  3. I just finished reading Jim Collins, “Why the mighty fall: And Why some Companies Never Give In. I think we can learn valuable lessons those failures. The amazing thing thing for me is that each of those companies had a opportunity to reverse the decline.

    We can’t ignore the problem and challenge. We need to start asking the hard questions. We should be looking at this as an exciting opportunity.

    The task isn’t impossible. Keep in mind that each f the socieities were started with only a few energetic and passionate individuals with a vision of helping others.

    Stop and think for a minute, the challenge to increase members under age 35 is easier than the founders of the socieities faced organizing.

    Collins closes the book with the example of Winston Churchill in the early 1930s. His political career was in shambles. Most of his party didn’t want anything to do with him. Ten years later, he is prime minster leading the British Empire through it’s most trying time.

    What are the questions we need to ask ourselves?

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