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Your Members Ready for 2020 Boom? 6 Elements Driving the Next Decade

As disruption and change continues to race into your member's daily lives at hyper speed, there are six key elements that will drive their business model and determine their success and ultimately your membership strength in the coming decade. The decade of 2020 will be the largest economic boom in our history and if your members aren't prepared, they will miss the opportunity to succeed like they never have before.

These six drivers will penetrate every industry in both trade associations and professional societies. Your members ability to recognize these drivers and build a plan to leverage them as opportunities, not challenges, will be the difference of succeeding in the next decade or being push aside with their head in the sand. The following are six elements that will be the difference makers in your member companies:


in 2020 and beyond, the customer is EVERYTHING. Now that we all live in a review, rating, recommend society where customers are so interconnected and can, in one post or video, share their experience, your company's success can change on a dime. Customer's needs, wants, desires and buying habits are constantly shifting and shifting fast. Because the supply chain is so connected electronically with Industry 4.0 business models, customer buying habits shifts can cause immediate changes in business models all the way the supply chain. It is critical that your members have a keen understanding of who the ultimate end user of their product or service is. When I say ultimate end user, I don't mean their customer. I mean their customer's customer customer 3 layers down to the consumer end user. They need to know their desires, wants, needs and service expectations are and be able to change with them fast.


Many books have been written on the complexities of innovation. I like to always keep innovation simple, because it really is in my opinion. In a decade where customer will reign supreme, your members need to analyze the following three questions on a consistent basis:

- What is desirable to our customers?

- What is viable in the marketplace?

- What is possible with technology?

If every company is paying attention to driver #1 and ask these questions every quarter and evolves with their customers, they will always be on the front end of innovation and disruption. The challenge for most with having a constant culture of innovation is called change. Innovation demands change. People don't like change. In the next decade, if you refuse to change, you will not survive the next decade in any industry. Constant change is the new norm.


With the labor pool shortage and a now 3.5% unemployment rate, your members cannot afford to lose any of their current employees. The most recent figures show there are now over 1.5 million more jobs available than unemployeed people. This means your member must make sure their companies have a workplace people WANT to come to work because if it is not, people will leave because their are unlimited job opportunities now available to them. Companies can't afford to have management with no people skills. Management needs to be trained on how to deal effectively with conflict, communication, leadership and coaching skills so they create an environment that workers feel their value to the company. People aren't leaving companies, they are leaving their bosses. The current labor shortage will not end soon. It will continue on for most of the 2020 decade. A dynamic work culture that embraces the next generation will be the companies who thrive on the next decade.


We use to talk about all the futuristic technology that was coming to our world. Well the future is here with smart phones, smart cars and smart homes. The question is, are your members smart companies? The internet of things and industry 4.0 are changing and connecting every aspect, both horizontally and vertically, in the supply chain. With an eight year labor shortage problem, the only way any company will grow in the next decade is to become a smart company by implementing Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. In simple terms, Industry 4.0 is the connecting of the five key components of any business:

- People

- Machines

- Processes

- Technology

- Data/information

It is important your members, no matter what industry you are in, embrace Industry 4.0 and the internet of things if they want to compete in 2020 and beyond.


As I mentioned earlier, we live in a rating, review and recommend society now where customer experience at every level matters. It is important that EVERY employee understand your company's value to the customer so it is projected and displayed with every interaction. It has to start with the first moment your connect with your customer as a prospect all the way through their continual buying decision. Bottom line, if you take great care of your customer, everything else in business becomes really easy.


With the next decade promising to deliver change at a pace we have never seen before, it is important your members have a rapid planning process through which they can analyze where change is happening and evolve with it. The days of "year end leadership retreats" to build an annual plan and budget are gone. Companies need to think in terms of quarterly assessments looking a their 6 to 8 key metrics that tell them if the company is running in the right direction or not. If not, identify the gaps quickly, change and execute with excellence. Companies who are not nimble in their decision making process will be challenged to compete in the next decade because of how fast disruption happens in any industry.

My hope for every association is you are building information streams of content to put these six drivers on displayed in some capacity for your industry. Key figures in demographics and economic numbers tell us the next decade is going to be big economically. Will their be a bump or two? YES. But overall, the decade is going to thrive in a big way. The question is, will your members know what they need to know to thrive?

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