I have always been fascinated by the work of a farmer. Growing up in a farming community, I have admired the work and dedication of those tilling the land despite the many challenges they face: climate change, capital, market access, infrastructure and technology.
I think associations can draw inspiration and wisdom from the world of farming. A farmers’ dedication, patience, strategic planning, resourcefulness, sustainability practices, long-term thinking, and adaptability offer valuable lessons for associations striving to succeed and grow.
1. Dedication to the mission. Farmers are dedicated to their craft, working tirelessly to ensure a bountiful harvest. Associations should mirror this dedication by committing wholeheartedly to their mission. A strong sense of purpose and devotion to member needs drive long-term success.
2. Patience. Farmers understand the value of patience as they wait for seeds to germinate, crops to grow, and harvests to ripen. Similarly, associations can embrace patience in their journey. Growth and success often take time, and it’s important to be patient while nurturing members, initiatives, and long-term goals.
3. Strategic planning and preparation. Farmers meticulously plan their planting, considering factors like soil quality, weather conditions, and crop selection. Associations can benefit from this level of strategic planning by setting clear objectives, preparing for potential challenges, and developing a roadmap for success.
4. Resourcefulness in problem solving. Farmers encounter unexpected challenges, from pests to weather disruptions. Associations can adopt a farmer’s resourcefulness by being adaptable and innovative when facing obstacles. Finding creative solutions is key to overcoming hurdles.
5. Sustainability and environmental stewardship. Farmers recognize the importance of caring for the land and ecosystems. Associations can align with this principle by promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship. Sustainable practices not only benefit the environment but also enhance an association’s reputation.
6. Long-term thinking and legacy-building. Farming often spans generations, with knowledge and practices passed down through families. Associations can focus on legacy building by nurturing emerging leaders, documenting best practices, and ensuring the organization’s continued relevance and impact.
7. Harvesting the fruits of engagement. Farmers reap the rewards of their labor through a bountiful harvest. Associations can similarly enjoy the fruits of their engagement efforts when members are actively involved, advocate for the organization, and contribute to its long-term success.
8. Adaptation to changing environments. Farmers adapt their practices in response to evolving conditions. Associations must also be flexible, keeping a pulse on profession and industry trends, technological advancements, and changing member preferences. Willingness to pivot and innovate ensures continued relevance.
Farmers are the stewards of the land, cultivating crops and raising livestock with dedication, patience, and a deep understanding of their environment. Their timeless wisdom and principles can offer valuable lessons to associations seeking to thrive, grow, and nurture their communities. By sowing the seeds of these farmer-like qualities, associations can nurture a future of growth and prosperity for both themselves and their members.
Octavio Peralta is currently the executive director of the Global Compact Network Philippines and founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), the “association of associations.” PCAAE will hold its 11th Associations Summit at the PICC on December 20, 2023. E-mail: email@example.com.