The best piece news I have to report from Cape Town is that Colin Farrington from the CIPR is the new Chair of the see recent interviewGlobalAlliance, while my young co-blogger Joao Duarte from Lisbon (link to authors of this blog to see references and read his posts) is now the first part time employee of that organization.
At this point of its five years lifespan, the GA really needed an urgent shot in the arm, and early indications are that the effects will be soon forthcoming.
Don’t get me wrong… not that the GA has so far been ineffective, as some of the less attentive and engaged founding associations seem to think. To the contrary….
The real issue however is that these very associations, under increasing pressure from their members and external stakeholders to deliver actual value and scope to justify their existence, have done and continue to do very little to raise their own members and other stakeholders’ awareness of the value of GA activities and its accomplishments…
It is thus is easy for members and critics to put two and two together and complain about their national leadership junk trips around the world for GA meetings, and this leads association leaderships to pay lip service to these complaints by cutting back on the services they provide to the GA: a truly vicious circle which will only continue to weaken the GA.
But you might wonder why these associations are doing so little to engage their members in GA activities? The reason, I believe, is that by the time a new national president is elected and gets an idea of what the GA is doing, his/her year of office is up… a new one comes in, and the story repeats itself.
This is why it so essential for the GA to develop channels of conversation with members of its member association, as well as with senior leaders of the profession world wide… and it is only fair to say that, so far, it has pitifully performed both of these tasks.
If Colin and Joao prove capable of doing this very quickly, the GA will develop and grow, if not it will soon become at least as irrelevant as many of its members.
The decision, taken in Cape Town, to create a global Advisory Board of senior professionals and scholars, plus Joao’s passion and familiarity with the Internet (which testifies to Colin’s intelligence in deciding to integrate his own notorious shyness, to say the least, with social media with the backing of a moderately geekish part time employee) both go in the right direction..
The GA has so far succeeded in establishing a, however minimal, level of credibility in many countries around the world…
Now the time has come to consolidate this credibility with some long awaited initiatives:
a) engaging member association leaders one-with-one to listen to, understand and interpret their expectancies, providing guidance and assistance to the smaller and younger associations so that they avoid the same mistakes of their predecessors;
b) dialoguing with their members’ members by setting up horizontal and vertical global practice communities.
Finally, it was also decided that the next Annual General Meeting of the Global Alliance will be held in London on June 23-24 of 2008, in the context of the 5th World Public Relations Festival.
As for the contents of the Cape Town Festival, please see the next post.