Tuesday, September 30, 2014

17 Minute Breaks Every 52 Minutes for Association CEOs?

Lisa Evans recently wrote an interesting piece in FastCompany headlined The Exact Amount of Time You Should Work Every Day.

It is important reading for Association CEOs and Association Executives!

As a 24/7 “switchtasker,” I read this piece with interest.

The story talks about new research that reveals how much downtime we should be taking during our work week.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alligators, Pepsi and Association Social Media

I was standing at the kitchen window the other day and saw an alligator swimming up river.

It was gone within five minutes.

Later I was sitting in my car and noticed a Pepsi trunk drive by. 

 It was gone in less than a minute.

Both reminded me of a quote attributed to Guy Kawasaki:
“Twitter is like a river. If you tweet when people aren’t looking, they’ll miss it. So, for important information, tweet seven or eight times.”

For associations seeking to enhance their social media presence, the idea of repeating your Tweets represents value.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Who, Why & Where before What & How

When associations and nonprofits contact me regarding consulting about social media or content management, they often begin by asking, “Should we focus on Twitter or Facebook?”

Wrong question!


Because you (associations, nonprofits, small businesses) should ask Who, Why and Where before you focus on What and How!

Let’s briefly explore these four questions.

  • Who are you trying to reach? Members? Customers? Prospects? Media? Influencers?
  • What do you want them to do, not do or let you do?
  • Where are the folks you are trying to reach? Are they on social media? If so, are they on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or something else? 
  • After you have answered the first three questions, now you can explore which social media platforms you should use to connect with your targets and engage them as you desire.
  • Once you’ve identified your media of choice, dive in. Understand how each works. Explore how to get maximum results.
So, if you and your organization are trying to determine where to place your engagement resources, follow the flow of these five questions: who, why, where, what and how.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shark vs Mosquitoes: Thoughts on Association Communications

One of the quotes I’ve often used in sessions for association executives is:

  • If you think you’re too small to make a difference ... you haven’t been in bed with a mosquito!
I meant it as a nuisance caused by such a little bug.

Now, AARP the Magazine recently shared some startling facts:
  • Number of people killed by sharks each year: 10
  • Number of people killed by mosquitoes each year: 725,000

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Association Leaders Struggle with the Duty of Loyalty

Association board members often struggle with the Duty of Loyalty. Here’s a definition from our association attorney:

  • The Duty of Loyalty dictates that officers and directors must act in good faith: A director shall avoid advancing their own personal interests in ways that may injure or take advantage of the Association. A director shall exercise honesty and must not allow his/her personal interests to prevail over the interests of the organization. The duty of loyalty has three key components: (1) the director must not usurp corporate opportunities for personal gain, (2) must avoid engaging in interested transactions without board approval, and (3) must maintain the organization’s confidential information.
During board orientations, I’ve had directors strenuously object to the concept that they have to support board actions even when they disagree with them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

When Is It Time to Eliminate a Failed Program?

One major challenge facing many associations is “killing” a failing program. A program that doesn’t meet today’s member needs. A program that costs way more than the organization can afford. A program that just doesn’t add member value the way it used to.

So, why don’t we eliminate these programs and use the resources for something of more value?

  • it may be a “sacred cow” of one or two board members or perhaps the entire organization.
  • it may be considered a program that the association can’t do without.
  • It may have dedicated staff that defend it as a way to defend their jobs.
The current news about the U.S. “War on Poverty” illustrates the problems with failed programs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6 Stories About Millennials & Associations

5 Surprising Reasons Millennials Join and Stay with Your Association
By Sarah Hill via Member Clicks

How do you get more Millennials in your association? Sure, networking and community good are very important to this up-and-coming generation, too, but they have other reasons for signing up and some of them may surprise you!

Outside Opinion: Millennials Frustrate HR Execs
By Sean Bisceglia via Chicago Tribune

This just in: New study on millennials. Text and you'll miss it. By 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce. By 2025, that number is likely to reach 75 percent. Given the huge millennial population, companies must hire them in increasing numbers. A study this summer by my company, Scout Exchange, and Oracle HCM Users Group sheds light on what we can expect from this generation of Americans born between 1976 and 1994.

5 Ways to Get Generation X and Y Engaged with Your Association
By Donna Vieira via Association Marketer

Sunday, September 14, 2014

6 Lessons for Association Executives

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of the Coca-Cola Co, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined Truett Cathy’s Lessons on Life & Business.

Who was Truett Cathy? He was the Chick-fil-A founder who died last week at the age of 93.

  • “How did Truett do it?” Mr. Kent wrote. “As someone lucky enough to know him, I saw six characteristics that defined the way he approached business, people and the communities he served.
As I read these six characteristics, I envisioned them as pretty good lessons for association volunteers, leaders and association executives.

Here they are:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What are association members saying?

I was at the driving range the other morning and overheard a couple of members complaining about the association (golf club) ... fussing about the executive director.

It made me wonder what association members might be saying behind our backs.

And, it reminded me of something a former board member of the Ohio State University Alumni Association once told me:
  • “It’s hard for staff to see the difference between fans and members,” he said. “Staff are exposed to raving fans. But the vast majority of alumni are members not fans. They don’t come to these events. They are pretty much silent. But as staff and leaders, we must look beyond the fans who attend our events and better understand the needs of those who don’t come to our events.”
Pretty good thinking.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yes, You Can Restructure Your Association Governance Model!

Guest Post by Marilyn Jansen, Association Management Center

Name of Association: 
  • A certification board in healthcare 
Description of the Organization: 
  • Currently 1000 certificants; 7 member commission, with 3 Task Forces/3 members each; $400,000 budget
The Problem: 
  •  A top-heavy governance structure for a small organization was too complex, preventing strategic decisions and making it challenging for the group to grow. The board met 5-6 times annually but had been “decision paralyzed” for 10 years and as a result were behind in the industry. The group’s goal was to certify as many industry professionals as possible, but rather than increased certifications, their base was decreasing and the sustainability of their business model was in jeopardy. They were losing money due to recertification drop off and too many commissioners were micro-managing staff preventing them from reaching their goals. Also, there were too many committees that all relied heavily on staff support. Finally, there was no focus or importance placed on market development to increase the market share. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Association Leadership: Stepping Into Chairs Role

Guest Post by Russ Lemieux, The Kellen Company

Name of Association: 

  • International Transportation Industry Trade Organization
Description of Organization: 

  • 400 member companies, including transportation companies and vendor companies; 50% based in the US, 25% in Europe and 25% in Asia and South America. Governed by an 11-member Board of Directors. Annual budget: $3 million. 
The Problem: 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gen Y Challenging Traditional Way

In leading a session on generational changes for a small company, I listed some examples of organizations/industries taking a big hit from the generational shift from Boomers to Millenials.

They include:

  • participation down (from 60.2 million in 2007 to 45.3 million in 2012). 
  • participation down (from 27.6 million in 2008 to 22.4 million in 2012). Number of rounds played: down. Number of golf courses: down (closing rate is 1 every 48 hours). (See the future of golf HBO show). 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Smaller Boards Get Bigger Returns

When Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers suggested (in Race for Relevance) that association boards shrink to five members, most in the association community exploded with a multitude of negative comments.

Not possible was the common cry.

The book reported that Harvard’s Richard Hackman (among others) said groups of six or seven are most effective at decision making.

Now comes reinforcing research for the concept of downsizing association and nonprofit boards: