An Executive Director's point of view


December 29, 2017: Management advice - 2017

Always know what members want from your organization. Understand how they think and be aware of their differences so you can plan effectively.

Respect employees' personalities, monitor their results, not their time, and never, never, never treat women inappropriately.

Leave a message when you can't reach somebody and always return phone calls and emails and respond to written letters.

Be savvy about advocacy and policy-making.

Keep pace with technology advancements but don't rush into a web site redesign.

Make the most of the time and skills of young Board members.

And don't strive to "play it safe."

December 30, 2016: Essential tips - 2016

Ask yourself these questions before you plan anything, think from your audiences' point of view, and accept that some things cannot be done.

Practice savvy media relations, say what's important in as many ways as possible, and learn how to appeal to younger people.

Keep your website up-to-date and don't send .pdf documents to reporters.

Avoid bad deals.

Stop shaking down vendors and be willing to bypass the lowest bid.

Record income properly and tinker with your fiscal year if it's helpful.

Learn more about technology, understand lobbying, and recognize meeting problems.

Interview job applicants wisely.

Here are a slew of good ideas. Check out previous annual summaries for more.

December 31, 2015: Advice in 2015

Revisit your organization's purpose every so often. Set realistic goals and don't simply do what everybody else is doing.

Keep in mind that work is something you do, not a place you go to.

When making organizational changes that affect members, make the changes they want, not the ones you want them to want (or expect them to obediently accept).

Don't brag about your successes. Instead, announce new or expanded activities that will exist as a result of those successes.

Intercede to resolve staff conflicts. They won't get resolved by themselves.

Avoid the contrived diversity trap. Stifle Board and staff self-promotion. And don't accept gifts.

Know when to offer specific (very specific) instructions.

Be pragmatic when building coalitions.

Jumpstart your social media efforts - they don't always start on their own.

When fund-raising, don't always ask individuals for money. And realize that foundations make investments, not contributions.

Implement sensible (and humane) hiring practices.

And remember the realities of sponsorship, how to treat disabled attendees, and planning for vegetarians. (Visit earlier posts on these subjects, too).

Check out highlights from previous years and also grab a slew of practical management tips.

December 30, 2014: Hot tips - 2014

Reminding ourselves who we are and how we think.

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 31, 2013: Management tips - 2013

Evaluate employees by the results they achieve, not by the hours they spend "at work." Be direct when instructing them and let them know they can challenge your decisions.

Be sure volunteers are held accountable for their activities.

Remember that disagreement is not a bad thing. Diversity of opinion can lead to improved decision-making.

Exercise good judgment. It's better than trying to create a rule to govern every situation.

Deliver presentations that are meaningful to your audience. Don't fret about silent viewers on your web site or discussion group (and don't call them "lurkers").

Avoid FAQ pages and customer service procedures that frustrate users rather than help them.

Recognize that your development director is not a miracle worker.

Develop sponsorship programs that meet sponsor needs.

Know that clever tactics will not make up for a product that has little value.

Don't refer to women as "ladies."

Check out highlights from previous years.

December 30, 2012: Highlights of 2012

Tell job applicants the position salary and don't cheat them (or the government) by paying employees as if they were independent contractors.

Ease new employees into their positions and address generational differences in the workplace.

Remember that all association activities are not member benefits.

Create memorable events.

Find ways to bridge the gap between association management culture and industry or professional cultures.

Design new member orientation sessions from the members' point of view, and remind volunteers that they are ambassadors for the organization, not just helpers.

Discard bad ideas before they do the association harm and set up reception systems that serve members rather than the organization.

Use PowerPoint slides (or a Prezi slide) to embellish presentations - not to serve as the presentations.

Recognize that sponsors are not supporters.

ALWAYS take good care of your employees.

Discover many more ideas about association management, read tips from previous years, and keep one more thing in mind.

December 30, 2011: Year-end tips and key info

Here are this year's most important items for association professionals:

Identify your core beliefs and stay true to them.

Prevent a bad culture from festering in your association, and understand your role in the organization.

Do what's best for your members, even if you would prefer to do something else.

Don't hide the salary of a job you need to fill, and make sure applicants possess the right skills for the position.

Strive for success, not conformity, and never be afraid to be different.

All Board decisions don't have to be unanimous.

When planning educational sessions, don't assume everybody wants to be social.

Recognize how many people make use of mobile technology, and plan accordingly.

Utilize tips for better database management, financial recordkeeping, dealing with speakers, managing events with meals, and operating a home office.

And don't get overzealous about security.

You can also check out previous year-end summaries for other important association issues.

December 30, 2010: Association thoughts - 2010

The year-end compilations for 2008 and 2009 highlighted a number of critical association issues.

Here are some more, from 2010:

What it means to be a Chief Executive Officer, whether it matters how you dress, the effectiveness of performance pay, and how to act when it's time to leave.

What many attendees are thinking in educational sessions, knowing what is an appropriate learning format, and what's wrong with a lot of presenters.

The role of social media in the marketing mix, understanding its purpose, considering the switch to digital, and selling online. What people are really thinking about your webinar.

When to say no, an important ethical consideration, some fund-raising directives, how passion affects your work, and when to follow it.

Finally, a problem that afflicts many board members, staff, vendors, and others in the association world.

December 30, 2009: Leadership lessons - 2009

Last year's wrap-up addressed important issues in association management. Here are this year's thoughts:

Always treat employees well and make sensible decisions about how to implement association tasks.

Treat your members as you would like to be treated, respect them in learning situations, and make them feel really great about their membership.

Speak to them in ways they'll respond and understand why they behave certain ways at particular times.

When producing meetings, be aware of food issues, and plan for older audiences and disabled people.

Remember to think strategically about the evolving needs of younger members.

Spend your time on relevant activities and be sure to communicate correctly.

December 30, 2008: What's it all about?

Association professionals blog to communicate, share information, editorialize, be provocative, and ultimately to influence thought and, hopefully, action in association management or in a particular niche within the profession.

These are a few of my posts that try to accomplish those aims:

Learning how to think and how not to think about associations and their members.

How to hire employees and keep them.

Some folks who are often overlooked.

Getting people to show up at meetings, how to treat them, and how to communicate effectively with them.

What to think about age and how to help people become comfortable with social media.

Finally, something to remember about our colleagues.
Archives to previous blog entries


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