One of the biggest handicaps modern professional organisations have is that many of them are “old boys’ clubs”. Often this is not the fault of the executive committees or boards as this is the way in which professional organisations and associations, in particular, have evolved.
However, it is difficult to understand why committees allow the clique, the elites, the dinosaurs, to persist. Some are in denial or are blind to the fact that all the members are of a similar age, background and attitude. Others recognise the handicap but don’t know what to do. The worst are those who impose racial or gender quotas without considering the broader impact on the association of this approach.
Organisations need to undertake a staged restructure of all elements of administration, promotion and operation to ensure that there is a future for, what in most cases are, worthy institutions.
What is very surprising is that, often, these organisations have the skills to achieve a positive outcome as the membership provides this sort of advice to clients. The skills are there when providing a service but are absent when within their own organisation.
The inability to change is a trait we see in the most Luddite of professional associations. The un-willingness to change is a trait that it is hard to forgive.
The reality is occupational health and safety is changing radically around the world with new hazards, new control measures, new political demands, new agenda and new health initiatives. Few professional associations are managing to keep up; some are looking in the opposite direction.