Thursday, January 29, 2015

Deflate-gate, Audi rules and Association Standards

Approaching Super Bowl Sunday, the media has been focused on “deflate-gate” ... the unfolding story about how 11 of 12 New England Patriot footballs had air pressure below the league rules.

The Patriots quickly held news conferences from their head coach and then from their future Hall of Fame quarterback.  Both claimed no knowledge of the deflated balls or how it might have happened. [Note: NFL rules provide for each team to provide 12-24 balls (each with the team logo) for the game. When on offense, the game is played with that team’s ball.]

Patriot defenders argue that the deflated balls did not impact the outcome of the game in which the Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7.

One commentator responded saying, “I cheated at ping pong with my 5-year old, but it’s okay because I would have beaten her anyway.”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SkyMall, Jaycees, March of Dimes and Future of Associations

In an article headlined What Skymall Teaches about Captive Audiences, AssociationsNow wrote about the implications the death of SkyMall has on association publications.
  • Does the news about SkyMall hurt the case for publishing an association magazine? It’s not clear, but it’s nonetheless worth considering Association Media and Publishing’s recent reader survey that delved into how challenging it is to make the case for maintaining an association magazine. While 44 percent of respondents said it’s not hard at all, more concerning might be the 25 percent of respondents who constantly have to defend their publications’ value to their bosses. 

Meanwhile, Gannett reported that online advertisers are looking for deeper readership data than clicks. This too will impact association media. See Selling advertisers on reader attention, not clicks
  • First came clickbait. Now comes engagement.
  • Disillusioned with page views as a reliable metric of their ads' effectiveness, advertisers are increasingly demanding to know whether readers stick around long enough to actually see their online ads. Publishers - as if the need to pursue clicks and Facebook "virality" wasn't stressful enough - implore their troops to post stories that might actually be read, preferably all the way to the end.

What about the Entire Organization?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

5 Passion Busters within Associations

Passion drives success.

Passion grows associations.

Passion permeates throughout the organization especially one that is “clicking on all cylinders.” This showed in Ohio State’s drive for the national championship in college football and was evident in Saturday’s celebration which drew more than 50,000 people to Ohio Stadium on a cold Saturday morning.

[And, passion drives publishing and advice! Amazon lists 198,435 books/products with the word PASSION in the title!]

Unfortunately, passion is not automatic. 

And, unfortunately, organizations can lose passion.

Here are five “passion busters” ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Avoid Long State of the Association Speeches

As a long-time association speech writer, I often watch major speeches not for what is said but the delivery styles and other components of the speech.

This is one reason I continue to be shocked when U.S. Presidents give State of the Union speeches lasting an hour or longer. The graphic above shows the average length of presidential speeches.

Most of the few Americans watching a State of the Union address tire long before the speech finishes. 

We get tired ... 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

5 Elements Turning a Game into a Signature Event

[Editor’s note: I originally planned to create several posts about this event; but, alas I’ve been sick in bed since returning from Dallas.]

The first College Football Championship became a major event in colleges and athletics. As I wrote earlier, the challenge organizers faced involved making the inaugural event more than just a game.

I recognize that this multi-million dollar mega event is far beyond the scope of most associations; however, associations – no matter how large or small – can learn from the event.

Here are five elements that worked for the College Football Playoffs (CFP):

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Evaluating Association CEOs

A week or so ago, the local newspaper published the results of the school board’s semiannual performance evaluation of the local school district superintendent.

It got me to thinking about evaluating association CEOs and raised some concerns about how the school district is evaluating its superintendent.

Here are my thoughts about some of the key elements of the news of the school board’s performance evaluation of the school superintendent:

  • Conducting twice annually: good
  • Pre-established performance criteria: good
  • 3-point scale: okay (some may prefer a 5-point scale)
  • Providing open-ended comments: good
  • Making it open to the public: questionable
  • Sharing prior evaluations with new board members: questionable

Monday, January 12, 2015

Turning a Game into a Signature Event

.I’m in North Texas today ... studying how one turns a football game into a signature national event.  Specifically, the first annual College Football championship.

The game between Oregon and Ohio State kicks off at 8:30 tonight.

The formation of this event offers some insight for associations.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cultural Alignment Key to Organizational Success

Oregon and Ohio State are playing for the college football championship Monday (1/12/15) night.

Both teams exhibit a specific culture ... “the way we do things.”

Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer put it this way in a news conference last week:
  • “From Amy, my assistant, to everybody associated with the facility person, everyone, this is the way we do it, really not a whole lot of conversation about it, and we have a culture here, too. So that's what I took, instead of saying, let's go take their culture, it's something I always believed, when you see teams fail, it's not because of bad players, it's not because of bad coaches; it's because of alignment issues. I'm convinced of that more than ever after being in this business for so long.”
Notice the emphasis on alignment.

Oregon, too, emphasizes team. It doesn’t matter what happens, team comes first. If someone gets injured, it’s “next man up.”

Culture, alignment and “next man up” works for associations too.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do You (and Your Organization) Strive to Be the Best?

In a radio interview several years ago, football broadcaster and NFL Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf was asked why Ohio State, Michigan and other Big 10 teams were not winning football games on the national stage.

I found Dierdorf’s response interesting and as I recall, was this:
  •  “Michigan recruits and builds its team to beat Ohio State. And, Ohio State recruits and builds its team to beat Michigan. Neither cares about the bowl games that follow. Those don’t really count like the Ohio State - Michigan rivalry game.”
In an interview after Ohio State beat #1 Alabama in the 2015 national semi-final football game, OSU coach Urban Meyer was asked about the “gap” between the Big 10 and other Power 5 conferences. And, specifically, whether the Big 10 was “closing the gap.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Go, Sick and Associations

Go or Sick: A Choice for Associations

I watched as a couple of four-year-olds raced ahead of mom on a sidewalk.

It reminded me of a parents’ phrase from years ago:

  • For kids that age there are two speeds: go and sick.
Associations seem to have a go or (not and) sick mentality.

I’ve watched over the years as some – usually successful – associations are in the “go” mode ... in member development, in education and conferences, in board development and more.

They seem to do the right things at the right time for the right reasons.

Other associations, however, seem caught in the “sick” mode. They allow processes and/or planning keep them from going. They are caught in a constant planning cycle. Their systems – while well intentioned – hamper their actions.

  • Planning is good.
  • Processes are good.
  • Systems are good.
But, purposeful action is better.

Working on behalf of members, better.

And, the Nike theme “Just Do It” works well for associations and nonprofits.

Is your association in the go or sick mode?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Michigan, Harbaugh's Contract and Association Image

While University of Michigan fans excitedly applauded the hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the university’s new football coach, some questioned the mega million dollar contract he will be paid.

By the way, news reports say Harbaugh turned down $7 million a year in favor of a $5 million a year contract.

Social media lit up questioning the money and wondering if the University paid any of its professors that amount.

This side of the news and reaction represents potential blowback that associations should monitor. It could be about the salary the nonprofit pays a new CEO, the size of an outside contractor’s fee and the cost of a new program or building.

Reality: most people react to headlines and not the full story!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

4 List of Predictions Impacting Associations & NonProfits

Happy New Year!

This is the time of the year that prognosticators love to tell us what is likely to happen in 2015.
Here are four lists  that apply to associations and nonprofits.

Five Bad Marketing Habits To Give Up In 2015
By Rachel Balik via MarketingLand
  1. Don’t Drown In Data
  2. Don’t Talk About Yourself
  3. Don’t Put Advertising On The Back Burner
  4. Don’t Take It Slow
  5. Don’t Guess