Several years ago, I started my involvement in our industry major trade association, Metal Construction Association. Getting involved in such a thing was not an easy step because I'd always been taught that such things were of little value, amounting primarily to just time-wasting politics.
And, in fact, when I first got involved, that may not have been far from the truth. Most meetings seemed to consist either of competitors sniping at one another, talking behind each others' backs, or acting as if the other didn't exist.
A few of us, though, got together and saw what potential existed if we started working with each other instead of against each other. In fact, it didn't take too long before we realized that we weren't really each others' competitors. Our real competition was from competing product groups. Those were the products we needed to take marketshare from, not each other.
It wasn't long before we had created a subsidiary group, the Metal Roofing Alliance, for the purpose of educating the public as to the benefits of residential metal roofing, especially in comparison to other types of products. That organization has outlived its projected lifespan and is still going strong, helping to grow the industry for all of us.
Since then, another group has been started, The Metal Initiative. This group promotes metal roof and wall panels.
And, to boot, we have found that when we share our resources on technical matters and research projects, we all benefit as well. No individual member is nearly as strong as we are as a group.
For our industry, this coming together under a common banner has worked extremely well. I suspect that it would for other business sectors as well. This is much like how the church can work when God's people come together under a common banner, putting aside all personal agendas and focusing solely on God's agenda.