Saturday, January 1, 2011

Are You Looking Forward to 2011?

I was at a New Year's Eve party last night with a group of friends I don't see as often as I would like. We spent a lot of time catching each other up on each other's lives, and I was struck by how much some of them were looking forward to 2010 being over. Why? Because their 2010s have been really bad. One lost his job. Another's business is still down and is going through a divorce. It reminded me how bad things still are for a lot of people and how much my own optimism about the future can sometimes seem out of place.

So looking back on the last year of The Hourglass Blog, I find myself asking if it's been able to make a positive difference for our community. The numbers certainly show more people and more pageviews than 2009:

But I'm a little distressed at the smaller number of comments that we've received this year over last. We launched Hourglass in February 2009 with the hope that it would be a conversation--a platform on which in leaders in Generation X and in the other generations could discuss the challenges of leadership itself. In part, we wanted to try and answer the question: Do generations really matter to leadership? Is leadership a set of universal skills that are learned by each new generation as they rise to take the mantle from their predecessors, or does leadership mean something different to each generation, and therefore our leadership systems will constantly change as each new generational perspective comes into power?

Since our launch we've posted on a variety of related issues, with my own focus more and more on efforts to define and promote innovative practices for the association environment based on successful models in the for-profit world. Through these explorations and others, Hourglass has allowed me to meet and interact with a number of amazing people and learn from the wisdom many of them have freely offered. On a personal level, this interaction and learning is one of my primary motivations to keep Hourglass growing and expanding.

But if there is one community I want Hourglass to reach and provide value to, it is the GenX association executive. In response to the question we posed earlier, I am convinced that leadership does mean something different to this generation, and that their unique perspective and approach to leadership is something that should be more widely shared and developed.

This is one of the reasons I changed Hourglass' tagline earlier this year. Rather than the originial "exploring generations and leadership in associations and in society," I felt "exploring a new generation of leadership issues in associations and in society" was more descriptive of this sense of mission. I would like to see Hourglass become a community where GenX leaders share their ideas and refine their practice to better themselves and their organizations.

And to that end, I have a challenge for you in 2011. If you are one of the executives I'm speaking of--a member of Generation X currently in charge of a professional or trade association--let's hear what you have to say on Hourglass this year. Commenting on something Jamie or I post is fine, but what would be even better is a post or two of your own. You know there's something about the way you run your organization--or the way you would like to run your organization--that is different from the generation before. Tell us about it. Use the community that is building here as a sounding board for those ideas, and help us build a new set of best leadership practices for the next generation and beyond.

Are you interested? Contact me at


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