Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

In recognition of this holiday, we will not be publishing SCDdaily again until Monday, December 2.

Sort of our way of "boycotting" Black Friday.

And, getting ready for the Ohio State - Michigan football game!
O.H! Go Bucks!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Associations Note: Being 1st to Market Still Relevant


  • Who was the second man on the moon? 
  • Who was runnerup to last year’s World Series? 
  • Who was the second person to fly non-stop, solo across the Atlantic?

We’ve been told for decades that it is important to be first to market with a product or service.

At the 2012 Content Marketing World Conference, Sam Sebastin, Google’ Director of B2B Markets, talked about the Zero Moment of Truth.

Rule #5: Be Fast!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Speaking+Writing+3 Other Reads for Association Executives

Obama May Have Twitter, But Lincoln Was the First President to Go Viral
By Devon Maloney via Wired
Lincoln’s address that afternoon, which came after a two-hour speech from famous-at-the-time orator Edward Everett, contained just 272 words, a shockingly short length that allowed it to be transmitted rapidly and become, arguably, one of the first messages from a U.S. president to go viral.
“Lincoln was a master political strategist. He truly understood what it took to get the message out to the people,” said Schnall. ”He knew the speech would be telegraphed across the nation; within 48 hours every newspaper as far as California had printed the speech straight on the front page, which is exactly what he was aiming for. He was using the media of communication in different ways than a president had ever done before.”

Beyond the Boom: Changes Chambers Must Make to Engage the Next Generation
By Sarah L. Sladek via Membership180

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quick Technique to Stop Wasting Association Board and Staff Meeting Time

7:29, 12:48 & 9:02 Central Drake Time
Board time is a non-renewable resource. 

So is staff time!

Yet, American culture and practice says you don’t need to get to a 9:00 am meeting until 5 or 10 minutes after 9.

And, recognizing this, many meeting chairs don’t start the meeting “until a few more members arrive.”

This represents a ridiculous waste of time and resources. And, those arriving late show they don’t respect their colleagues or the value of their time.

Years ago, a soybean farmer gave me a tip to stop wasting time.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You ...

... ask what you can do for your country."

                   -- President John F. Kennedy, first inaugural address
Like anyone else of my generation, I remember exactly where I was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I was in the living room of the Alpha Zeta fraternity house when Chuck Dix raced into the house and yelled “turn on the TV, Kennedy’s been shot.” And, then, we watched mesmerized as the news unfolded and as other brothers came in from campus.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Get Out Before You Are Forced Out: Steve Ballmer’s Lesson for Association Executives

I was stunned when the board fired my boss and, as the #2, asked me to leave with him.

After all over the 15 years of our leadership, the organization had doubled in membership and revenues and had become the envy of other associations within our community.

Chuck Rumbarger, CAE, told me:

“Your friends come and go but your enemies accumulate.”

I thought of this when I read Monica Langley’s Wall Street Journal article headlined Impatient Board Sped Ballmer’s Exit

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Storytelling Builds Success for Association Execs

I can still recall the angst at my initial talk before the board of a large national association where I had just been named its director of public relations.

I was nervous because the CEO had been criticized for appointing someone with “no agricultural experience.” I had 12 years experience as a news reporter and college PR director but had never worked in agriculture.

The CEO gave me 15 minutes to introduce myself to the board.

What should I say?

So I shared a story from college where I had majored in agricultural economics and international journalism. I told them how I felt when going across the river from the main campus to the ag campus. How the attitude changed. The comfort level increased. I ended saying joining their association felt like coming home. 

And, that was the last of the criticism about my not being an “aggie.”

I thought of this as I read Jerod Morris’s awesome blog on the power of story telling

Association CEOs and association executives should carefully read this blog post and study its lessons. It will help you in meetings with boards, members and other vital audiences.

So, how do you tell a great story?

You make sure that you have the five elements that every great marketing story needs:
  • A hero
  • A goal
  • An obstacle
  • A mentor
  • A moral
But don’t stop here. Read Morris’s full blog.

Then, practice your story telling and watch your results!

Monday, November 18, 2013

6 Great Reads for Association Executives

Storytelling is Still the Most Powerful Way to Persuade
By Jerod Morris via
You just need to “find ways to connect with your audience on an emotional level.” These are the words of Cliff Atkinson, author and communications consultant, as quoted recently in the Wall Street Journal. Yes, even a publication known for numbers and news knows that when it comes to persuasion, stories succeed. But not just any story. So how do you tell a good story? You make sure that you have the five elements that every great marketing story needs:

  • A hero
  • A goal
  • An obstacle
  • A mentor
  • A moral
4 Things Your Business Can Learn from a 'Boring' Pre-Flight Safety Briefing
By Ann Handley via MarketingProfs

The new Virgin video is probably the only safety video I’ve ever seen that plays more like a music video than a boring safety briefing. But, what’s more, Virgin is also breaking new ground by linking the pre-flight video to a fun marketing program, using Instagram and other social tools to expand the reach exponentially beyond those whose butts are already in a Virgin seat.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How is your team work? Association members are watching!

The other night, my wife and I had dinner at the local Chili’s restaurant.

While ordering and eating, we observed how much the staff helped each other regardless of the table to which they were assigned. They engaged customers. They helped buss tables. They helped deliver the meals. Even the manager was bussing tables. 

Clearly this staff cared for the customers and worked as a team. No, “that’s not my job” attitude.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

5 tips to enhance creativity within your association

In a special USA Today piece headlined Brain a 'creativity machine,' if you use it rightKaren Weintraub shared news of new brain research that can help association executives.
  • For years, neuroscientists looked for a "creativity spot" in the brain. But now they know it's in lots of places, and certain practices can help make you think more creatively.
  • "The brain is a creativity machine. You just need to know how to manipulate your software to make it work for you," says Shelley Carson, a researcher and lecturer in psychology at Harvard University and author of Your Creative Brain.
  • The trick to keeping creativity going, she says, is helping kids see that rules and imagination are not at odds.
  • The more we understand about the neuroscience of creativity, the better we will be able to teach people to be more creative, Damasio says. "I think people are getting more and more aware that creativity can be strengthened, fostered and encouraged."

Weintraub shared these five tips: 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sound strategy for associations

Former GE Chairman Jack Welch once said ...

 “Change before you have to.” 

I wonder if these companies heard him?
  • Blockbuster
  • Blackberry
  • Kodak
What about your association?
  • Are you hanging on to the way you’ve always done things?
  • Are you ignoring the wave of technology changes impacting members and prospects?
  • Are you monitoring the vast array of “things” competing with your association for the time and funds of your members and prospects?
Change before you have to is worthwhile advice!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“Nothin’ ruins a good organization like too much money.”

A board member shared that bit of wisdom with me more than 25 years ago.

The more time I’ve spent in association management, the more I realize the wisdom of his thinking.

As association budgets go larger, committees began to argue over which got the most money. Board members seemed to bicker more. There were more jealousies between staffs and among board members. 

And, perhaps worse for the association, a tacit agreement board members not to "cut" each other's favorite programs. And, when money is plentiful, than is how association budgets explode.

Now, when I’ve worked for associations with limited budgets, I always wished for larger budgets. But ... you can have too much money?!

What is your experience? Has too much money been a problem?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Content+Email+Tweets+Elearning+Parents = 5 readings for association executives

7 Reasons to Hire a Former Teacher for a Content Marketing Job
By Roger C. Parker via Content Marketing Institute

I think content marketers are overlooking a significant resource: former teachers. Here are some of the general characteristics that make experienced educators excellent candidates to fill a content marketing job.

  1. Teachers are planners
  2. Teachers are explainers
  3. Teachers know the proper ways to conduct research
  4. Teachers believe in measured progress
  5. Teachers believe in measured progress
  6. Teachers are used to the “battle for attention”
  7. Teachers are relationship builders
Making Email Work for Membership: Is it Generational?
By Shannon Neeser via XYZ University

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Have Association Board & Staff Cultures Become Too Cumbersome?

The commentary surrounding the changing of the guard at Microsoft has pointed to an organization that became too slow to change.

The company has suffered in recent years from its inability to move quickly and come up with exciting new products. Its lumbering pace stands in sharp contrast to the speed with which companies such as Facebook and Google update their services.

"The tech industry, more than any other, is one full of fast change and new trends. Microsoft just became very, very corporate," says Nigel Nicholson, professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School and author of The 'I' of Leadership: Strategies for Seeing, Being and Doing. "Microsoft is now looking like the fat kid on the block. You need (to be) slim, fast, agile in order to innovate.”

Slim, fast, agile. 

How many associations – structured with multiple committees, subcommittees and task forces – can claim those characteristics?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How Many Members Do You Represent

Over the last 30 years of visiting Congressional offices in DC, I can’t really estimate how many times the congressman (or Hill staffer) has probed: “So, how many members does your association represent?” (Or some variation of wanting to know how much “clout” we have.)

The other question is often, “How big is your PAC (political action committee)?” 

Which reminds me of a real story ...

A Hill staffer called and told me his boss (a Congressman) was going to be visiting St. Louis and wondered if he could stop by our association’s office. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do you have what it takes to succeed as an Association CEO?

If you are an association professional seeking to move up to become the CEO or association executive director, what characteristics and habits do you need to follow to get there and to be successful?

While I could probably provide a laundry list for you, I’m not going to.

Rather, I want to share some insights (and links) to two recent articles that share valuable points and stories on becoming successful.

In Fail Your way to SuccessScott Adams (creator of Dilbert) shared excerpts of his new book with Wall Street Journal readers.

Here are some key points I gleaned from the article:

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What can Association Execs Learn from HealthCare.Gov?

I’m old enough to have learned two lessons from converting member records to a computerized database:
  1. It takes longer than expected.
  2. It costs more than expected.
So, I should not have been surprised by the fiasco surrounding the creation of nor of the issues surrounding the online version of the Common Application.

In his column headlined Hidden lessons from's failure , Harvard’s Nicco Mele offered some advice good for and for association executives.
Here are some excerpts:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Robert Gates, David Stern and Association CEOs

Two headlines grabbed my attention a couple of weeks back:
  • Boy Scouts of America hired Robert Gates as its new president
  • Sacramento welcomes retiring NBA Commissioner Donald Stern
So, what caught my eye is the hiring strategies of two large associations.

The Boy Scouts – coming out of national turmoil – hires the ex CIA Director, ex Secretary of Defense and former university president ... who has no association management experience.

His appointment – along with a number of other “big name” hires of associations – begs a number of questions for association professionals.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Associations: How CEOs are clueless about technology

Using the fiasco as a starting point, Michael Wolff posted a great column in USA Today the other day ... How CEOs are nearly illiterate about technology.The piece offers great insight for associations and nonprofit organizations.

Here are some key points:

  • Then he tried to draw a distinction puzzling to anyone who has ever performed an online transaction: He said the product — these health exchanges that few could get access to — was good; it was the process that was problematic. He seemed genuinely to have no idea that for most Americans steeped in digital behavior, the product is the process. (His distinction is like an airline saying planes are remarkable feats of engineering, so pay no attention to the fact that you might be delayed for hours on the tarmac.)