What associations have you joined? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines associations as “organizations of people having a common interest”. The definition seems fairly straightforward and easy to understand. When you join a group with those who have a common interest it could be for something such as a golf club, a church group, the AARP, the NRA, a political party, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, even a company that you work for, etc. The common interest which you have could be a hobby, a sport, an industry group or it could involve a social issue that you feel strongly that motivates you to join an association. The list of associations and common interests are endless. Common interests can remain for a short or long-term period of time. In all likelihood a common interest is something that you’re probably passionate about.
If you’re in the automotive repair and replacement (AGRR) industry there are a three well known associations that serve the common interest or interests of their members. There are associations such as AGRSS® (soon to become the Auto Glass Safety Council), the Independent Glass Association, and the National Windshield Repair Association. You get a good sense of their main interest by their names and when you look at their web sites you’ll find:
- The common interest for AGRSS®, which stands for the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard, “is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the safe replacement of auto glass. AGRSS® was founded and is supported by companies in the auto glass replacement industry that keep safe installation as their primary goal.” 1 2
- The Independent Glass Association and its members common interest is “the only association dedicated to the needs of the independent glass companies in North America. Its members are also dedicated to the professional and ethical installation of glass in a safe and proper manner. IGA members are located in all 50 states and ten countries.”1
- For National Windshield Repair Association members the common interest they share is that they are “recognized nationally and worldwide as a professional source of reliable information on the windshield repair industry. NWRA membership puts you on the leading edge of timely information and gives you a strong influence in the industry. Your membership not only couples you with the dynamic leaders of the windshield repair industry, but with a voice in your destiny equal to any other member.”1
1) I have had the honor of being a member of this association.
2) I am a member of the board of directors and vice-president of AGRSS®.
Each of these three associations has memberships which are strongly aligned to common interests. When you visit their individual websites, each association clearly states their goals in representing the interests of their membership. By joining any association members are making a conscious effort to align themselves with other like-minded individuals and companies who share common interests or who share similar goals (values, principals, interests or beliefs). If you surround yourself with people who have a common interest, then you and the group as a whole should be able to achieve more of those shared goals and the association will further improve or execute on the shared common interest as well. Associations need to constantly increase membership and grow their sphere of influence in order to build on their success at gaining notice of their common interest or they will fade away along with their shared goals. If you’re going to join an association, actively participate and you’ll be able to help achieve that common interest. Passion, along with values and principals are key fundamentals of all associations.
If you find that you no longer share a common interest in the association you belong you can leave and then find and join one that does.