Monday, May 9, 2016

What are your association’s tribes?

The other day I heard an interview with Mark Cuban (entrepreneur & owner of the Dallas Mavericks). He was being asked about the 2016 Presidential campaign and specifically about the phenomenon of the Trump and Sanders’ campaigns.

Cuban’s main point: Trump and Sanders are not running traditional political campaigns but rather exemplify the theory of tribes and the building of tribes.

Well, this made me think back to reading Seth Godin’s work and books on tribes. And, that if you could have 1,000 true fans, you could accomplish nearly anything.

I googled Godin and tribes and found this 2009 TED talk about tribes. Well worth watching.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What does a design (association) leader do?

Guest Post by Laura Ward, Director, User Experience Design, PayPal

[Editor's Note: Laura Ward is the daughter of my late friend/boyhood neighbor Dan Reuwee.  When I read her leadership post on Facebook, it seemed to offer valuable advice for association and nonprofit leaders.  She gave me permission to post her notes here.]

I recently met a terrific young designer at a networking dinner. She had a straightforward question for me, "How did you become a design director?" I hadn't given it much thought since my route seemed roundabout. Upon consideration, I understood that she would simply like to know how to prepare to become a design leader, on a path to directing a team of her own.

After a short story about my journey, I realized that there was much more practical information to give. What does a design leader do? So, here is a list of the things I think about. I try to keep these questions in mind as I go to meetings, do design critiques, meet with team leads and designers, and plan the future.

What does a design leader think about?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

How will Gig Economy Impact Your Association?

Gig economy (some call it sharing economy) is growing rapidly.

According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, the number of workers in “alternative arrangements” has climbed to 16% of the U.S. workforce (from less than 10% in 2005).
  • WSJ’s reports that the Department of Labor has four categories of “alternative work” ... independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary workers and workers employed via contract firms. 
  • A study by Alan Krueger of Princeton and Lawrence Katz of Harvard shows “gig economy” workers are in manufacturing (11%); health and education (16%); public administration (10%).

A couple of examples from “our world” ...

  • I’ve been consulting with a small, national association. In reviewing its current management structure, I noticed that an outside contract employee consumed 21% of its total staff hours. 
  • Just before selling my AMC, a larger international corporation contracted with me to provide two staff for its business. We were able to (a) increase the salaries of the two staffers and (b) reduce the cost to the company. 

What does the gig economy mean to associations and other nonprofit organizations?

Friday, March 25, 2016

AAEA Search Announced

The American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) announces the opening of an executive search seeking a new management team to assume management of the association effective August 1, 2016.

AAEA has retained me conduct the search to replace Den Gardner of Gardner & Gardner Communications, who is retiring and has resigned the account on behalf of his firm.

I will assist an AAEA Search Committee in the search and selection process of an individual or company to perform AAEA staffing functions.

The request for proposals (RFP) is available on the ASAE Executive Search tab above Or, interested parties may request the RFP from me at

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Is Wounded Warrior Project an Example of Too Much Money?

The CEO and COO of the Wounded Warrior Project were fired a few weeks ago over spending practices at one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations for veterans.

It appeared to stem negative stories circulated after reports by the New York Times and CBS-TV.  Stories such as these:
The story highlights two issues facing associations and nonprofits:
1) the “too much money” syndrome and
2) the challenge of news media reporting (or mis-reporting) on nonprofit finances