Thursday, October 23, 2014

Associations and the Paradox of Choice

Early in my career, I advocated multiple member benefits through what I called “membership of your choice.”

There are now several books and magazines devoted to what is called the "voluntary simplicity" movement. Its core idea is that we have too many choices, too many decisions, too little time to do what is really important.

Some of this began with The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.

I thought of this when I read about the troubles at Olive Garden. Here’s a quote that caught my eye:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Leadership & Culture: Lessons from Microsoft’s new CEO

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
In a story headlined “Interview: How Nadella plans to upend Microsoft,” USA Today’s Marco della Cava, gave excellent insight.

Here are three paragraphs that I thought valuable for association executives:
  • "You need new concepts with new innovation, and you have to have new capability and culture to go after those new concepts," he says. "Your existing success kind of fights those things, so you have to over-amplify the new concept and the culture required for it. And that's the journey."
  • "Turns out that adoption rate was wrong, we'll exceed $150 billion by 2017, which will be 10% of total IT spend," says Michael Heric, a Bain partner focusing on technology, media and telecommunications. "Cloud computing is bringing sophisticated technology to large and small companies, from those working on cancer research to someone trying to predict weather patterns."
  • Nadella's desire to play nice with others in the tech world reflects the ongoing devolution of the industry. Where once stood monoliths such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Apple and Microsoft — each warring for faithful consumers — today's startup-fueled tech world places technology itself in a secondary role to innovative ideas and disruptive business models typified by the likes of Facebook and Uber.
In reading the interview, I saw three important elements for association managers:
  • Culture of change
  • Culture of leadership
  • Culture of collaboration
Read and enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Finding Passion within the Association Community

A couple of quotes:
  • Be careful not to close the door too quickly ... You may be locking yourself out. – Audrey Harvey
  • Nobody notices normal. – Scott Ginsberg
I thought of these as I read a USA Today piece headlined “Finding your passion for a 2nd or 3rd career.”  It is largely based on the book The Encore Career Handbook and One Person/Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher, a vice president at
  • “Many people want to continue working well beyond the traditional retirement age, and to do that they're finding new creative ways to stay employed in not just one new career, but two, three or more careers.”

Two important points for associations and association executives:

  1. Association executives nearling retirement should be focused on “what’s next.” Don’t wait until “it’s time to go.” Think ahead and plan. After all, you’ll spend 20 to 30 years in “retirement.”
  2. Associations may want to look at retiring association executives for special projects, consulting or short-term efforts requiring association experience.
So, don’t close doors too quickly!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Power of Odd Numbers (Associations)

A local auto dealer has been running a tv commercial in which the staff sits frustrated in the board room waiting for the chairman to arrive. Meanwhile she is driving through the ranch in her new vehicle.

Cute commercial, right?

Not really.

I can’t help but think about all the wasted staff resources.

It, unfortunately, reminds me of staff meetings and board meetings that failed to start on time because we were waiting for a key person (or more) to arrive.

Some 30 years ago, a farmer shared a secret to getting meetings started on time:

Establish an “odd” starting time such as 8:01 or 12:29. Then, be sure to start at that time no matter who is in the room.

It works. 

My clients referred to it as “Central Drake Time.”

Odd times/numbers work in other areas too.

The photo above is about a $2.05 donation to the Fort Myers Rescue Mission for a complete Thanksgiving meal. Notice that the precision of this amount offers more meaning than if the mission had said $2.

You’ll see the same thing on infomercials asking for donations of $19 a month.

There is power in using “odd” numbers in your association work ... whether meeting times, member dues or donations.

Are you doing this?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Content, Millenials & Videos{ 7 best of the week for associations

How to Overcome the 'No Time to Create Content' Challenge
By Joe Chernov via

How can we maximize our content output in the minimum amount of time? The answer, it turns out, isn't particularly complex: Spend time only on content that works. HubSpot recently surveyed nearly 3,600 marketing and sales professionals for our annual State of Inbound report (available at link; email required), and asked several questions related to content creation and impact. Then we pivoted the data to see where high performers—that is, marketers who generated greater year-over-year return on their inbound investment—spent their time and resources. A pattern emerged.

Why Steve Jobs Obsessed About Office Design (And, Yes, Bathroom Locations)
By Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute

Creativity is a collaborative process. As brilliant as the many inventors of the Internet and computer were, they achieved most of their advances through teamwork. Even though the Internet provided a tool for virtual and distant collaborations, another lesson of digital-age innovation is that, now as in the past, physical proximity is beneficial. The most productive teams were those that brought together people with a wide array of specialties.

Three Tips for Producing Online Video from a Popular Youtube Host
By Katie Bascuas via AssociationsNow