Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seven Secret Seeds of the Spirit of Success: Tips for Association Leaders & Association Executives

Association executives have a joint role with association volunteer leaders in establishing the association’s culture. Over 30+ years of association management, I’ve discovered seven key “seeds” to create a culture of success. 1. Set the Stage. 

  • Winning teams wield winning ways (attitudes). 
  • Leaders develop winning attitudes. 
  • Generate and reinforce a positive, winning attitude.
  • Reinforce the value of the group. 
  • Henry Ford: whatever you do, do with enthusiasm!
2. Cause. 
  • Have a missionary zeal! 
  • Organizations must meet the needs of its members. If they don't believe in the cause, nothing will convince them to get involved. 
  • Think first about your members, prospective members, leaders and prospective leaders. 
  • "To hell with your grass seed, what will it do for my lawn." Help them make it greener!
3. Focus. 
  • Stick to your goals. Don't wander aimlessly nor let your members wonder who and what you are. 
  • Most problems come not from doing too little, but from trying to do too much. Better to do three things extremely well than 10 things poorly. Be a mile deep and an inch wide ... NOT ... a mile wide and an inch deep! 
  • You need to be known for something. I worked once for a large national association which after 30+ years changed its policies related to federal policies. The change confused members and the organization failed to get more than 30 percent of its members to agree with any of its new policies. Members left and the organization went downhill.
4. Recruit & Involve. 
  • You gotta ask them. More than once. More than one way. Takes 7 times before we hear a message. 
  • They won't join if they don't perceive they'll get something in return. Make sure your sales pitch meets their needs. Offer value for their time and money ... the two toughest things to get from people.
  • Don't ask people to volunteer their time if you don't have something for them to do. Everyone has different interests ... different strengths. Finds ways to uncover them ... and put them to use. Create & use a time & talent sheet.
5. Economize & Minimize. 
  • Wasted time is the biggest complaint of boards, committees and members. Don't hold meetings unless there’s a need. Don't hold one without an agenda. And, don't have an agenda without an ending time. Time is more precious than money ... use it wisely or you'll lose it.
  • Minimize. Hockey teams change lines every 45 seconds. Great basketball players play only half the game. Football teams platoon. Organizations should consider the same approach. If the membership recruitment job is too big ... why not split it into quarters ... into “prospect segments.”
6. Inform. 
  • You MUST keep them informed. Key to involvement and motivation. 
  • Gen. George Patton said "information is like eggs ... the fresher the better. Keep the troops informed. Use every means before and after combat to tell the troops what they are going to do ... and what they have done." I bet Patton would be using Social Media!
  • Make chapter newsletters entertaining, informative and fresh (current). People like to read about people. Tell them what other members are doing. Brag about them. Create role models.
7. Motivate & Reward. 
  • President Ronald Reagan once said, "nothing happens without a dream." Give them a dream ...a vision. If you want action, you've got to motivate your volunteers ... rally them around your cause ... borrow tactics from successes.
  • All volunteers ... each one of them ... wants a reward for their time and money. 
  • Some want a "pat on the back." 
  • Some want mention in newsletter. 
  • Some want peer recognition. 
  • Some want plaques. 
  • Become big plaque buyer. Reward in newsletter ... send personal notes ... recognize at meetings.

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