An Executive Director's point of view
January 20, 2015: The seat of power
It will enable you to better communicate with the Chair during the meeting, pass notes, discreetly offer direction, and interject comments when you feel it necessary.
It will also allow members to observe you as part of the leadership team, and help them recognize and accept your authority in the association.
If you don't get along with the Board Chair, sit far enough away so you cannot easily be interrupted or prevented from speaking, but close enough to command attention when you want to participate.
When you sit at the front of a meeting table or room, it is clear that you are in charge (even if you are not chairing the meeting). When you sit somewhere else, it lessens your importance in the eyes of others.
January 15, 2015: Keep on printing
January 14, 2015: Problems with mobile email
January 12, 2015: Digital age problems
Here are some problems that will need to be incorporated into your digital planning:
1. Security of files. If you store information in paper files, there is absolutely no chance that your file cabinets will disappear, that you won't be able to open them, that the files will be missing, or that they'll be corrupted. With electronic storage, your files can be vandalized from half way around the world. So be prepared to spend a great deal of time and money on security.
2. Anonymous comments. With the advent of online postings, people can publish scathing (and often false) criticism without identifying themselves. Those postings will be repeated and cited, seriously tarnishing the reputations of individuals, businesses, and associations, and establishing incorrect information as fact. So, don't believe everything you read. And try to find a trustworthy source for verification.
3. No instruction manuals. You should be able to figure out for yourself how things work.
4. Tracking of web activity. Businesses can spy on you, and silently follow you on the Internet to see which windows you look through and to learn what you are looking at. So, just delete the pop-ups that invade your YouTube screen and ignore the ads that suddenly appear on web pages and on your favorite feeds. And don't fret about being watched.
5. Reading your private messages. They're doing that, too. So don't send any emails you wouldn't want a stranger to read.
6. Data theft. Lots of businesses store your credit card data and other personal information. Unfortunately, many of them don't do a very good job of protecting it and it gets stolen. Your info may now be in the hands of people who have no right to possess it and who will do evil and illegal things with it. So, don't share too much.
7. Bad, really bad, customer service. Businesses can hide from you online and deliver poor, useless customer "service." And there's nothing you can do about it other than not buy that product.
8. No contact. Many businesses make it difficult or impossible for you to contact them. They have no physical offices you can visit. They only have web sites, where they seal themselves behind impenetrable walls so you can't complain about anything or ask questions they don't want you to ask. Don't do that in your association.
9. Automated receptionists. They help businesses, not callers, by eliminating the need to pay somebody a salary and benefits. A robotic answering system guesses the questions that will be asked (tough luck if your question is not one of them) and forces you to spend time navigating an intake maze that does not always to lead to where you need it to go. And some disconnect if you press zero. So, figure out a new strategy to find the right person when you call.
10. Invasive employers. Many employers peek through keyholes and poke their noses in places where they don't belong, trying to sniff out information about employees and job applicants that they have no right to know. So, don't post things you don't want anybody to know.
And there's lots more.
Advice? Don't use technology to hide from people or to manipulate them. And don't blindly utilize technological tools because you think it makes you look current or cool.
Use technology to do a better job - legally and ethically - at whatever it is that you do.
January 07, 2015: What's our purpose?
Yes, there is probably a mission statement, as well as other planning and/or promotional documents that state the purpose of the organization. But those are usually very general and are crafted to attract the support of multiple audiences.
Board members, you may find, often have different notions of the organization's purpose, and they think, speak, act, and vote in accordance with those notions, usually assuming their colleagues think similarly.
So, it can be helpful to periodically regroup, even just briefly, and ask everybody to state what they believe is the purpose of the organization.
If they all agree, fine. But if they don't, you then need to learn why they see things differently, determine how best to get them to share the same view, and, perhaps, how to change the purpose of the organization because it may no longer be doing what the Board thinks it ought to be doing.
January 06, 2015: Hit the road
Check out her suggestions for dealing with cancellations (click to page 8) - especially late cancellations.
December 30, 2014: Hot tips - 2014
Don't worry about staff turnover and don't try to stop employees from leaving.
Address gender discrimination the right way.
How to deal with an unengaged Board Chair and with a Chair-elect who can't wait to become the Chair.
Gauging member satisfaction, appealing for renewals, involving young professionals, and how much to rely on data to make decisions.
Avoid email Board votes.
Give the sponsor what it wants, not what you want it to want. (Remember this).
Handling cultural issues.
Recognizing legislative realities and knowing which side you are on.
Managing your association in bad weather.
Check out highlights from previous years.
December 25, 2014: Locked out
December 24, 2014: Misinformation
Solicit the same info from more than one person and review documents that were written at that time. Individuals often remember events differently, and they don't always recall facts correctly - even when they were involved in the reported activity.
Once you publish something, it will be cited countless times in the future and be treated as an accurate accounting of what occurred.
So, get it right.
December 14, 2014: Hiding the price
Why do associations and businesses think they can trick people into attending events by not stating the price upfront?
They assume the promotional pitch will work, and the recipient will pay whatever it costs to attend.
Well, that just is not true.
If I find that the price is higher than I want to pay, I won't attend, no matter how much value I think the event offers. And if I have to click through additional pages to find out that price, I'll have a negative opinion of the event's producer for trying to trick me into registering.
Don't hide the price of your event, product, or organization. It won't help.