An Executive Director's point of view

 

January 07, 2015: What's our purpose?

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
It may sound silly, but every so often it can be healthy for each member of the Board of Directors to state, in one short sentence, the purpose of the organization.

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.

September 18, 2014: What's the WIG idea?

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
...Say no to good ideas so you can focus on great ideas...

That was the message of today's webinar hosted by Association Forum of Chicagoland.

(WIG = Wildly Important Goals)

September 01, 2014: Look at the whole picture

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Some Chicago- and Illinois-based businesses say they're thinking about moving to other states, where taxes are lower, land costs less, and incentives have been offered.

"Yes, Indiana or Wisconsin might be cheaper for your business," says Jeff Malehorn, CEO of World Business of Chicago. "But good luck getting to your markets."

"Good luck getting the breadth of talent we have," he adds. "Good luck in terms of cultural assets that your spouse or family might want to enjoy."

When selecting a location for your business, your association, or yourself, look at the big picture.
Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
"I believe a mission statement should be something short that clearly states the purpose of an organization - why you exist," stated Jim Kendzel, MPH, CAE, Executive Director of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, on a recent ASAE Collaborate post.

He explained: "You can then follow up with a 'this is how we accomplish our mission' statement with a list of activities."

"The reason I favor this approach," he continued, "is a short and to the point statement about why the organization exists can be a compelling and meaningful 'guiding light' for the organization and get members excited. In addition, an activity list is easily adjusted to meeting the strategic shifts of the organization while the mission statement remains a solid foundation for the organization."

Makes sense to me.

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
You might find a better solution.

April 22, 2014: Soliciting feedback

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Try doing this.

January 27, 2014: The "gig" economy

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Many of our colleagues engage in professional "piece work" instead of holding regular jobs. They secure "gigs" for short-term or part-time work, sometimes out of choice but often out of necessity.

Instead of working at full-time positions, they grab outsourced tasks, interim management positions, or part-time jobs. That trend is expected to continue.

Associations will need to learn how to adapt to the "gig" economy, and change the way they serve, communicate with, represent, and collect money from members, customers, and other supporters.

It will be interesting to see how that works.

December 25, 2013: Plan far ahead

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
"Non profit leaders seem to underestimate the degree to which calendars are set in advance for most business professionals," observed Carol Brumell on a recent LinkedIn post about Board retreats in the BoardSource group.

She advised scheduling these events 4-6 months in advance.

September 17, 2013: Drama queens

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
It may sometimes be necessary to exaggerate to get people to pay attention.

"Innovate or Die," and "The End of Membership As We Know It," are two phrases that have been used in association dialog to try to force people to recognize the need to change some of the ways they've been doing things.

While the dire prospects advanced by advocates of these slogans may not always be on the horizon, ringing the alarm bells may get some of our colleagues to realize they need to think about things differently than they've thought about them before.

September 09, 2013: Know your adversary

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
A speaker at a recent association event advised attendees to be prepared for surprises. He used the example of the Presidential election, stating that President Obama's re-election was a surprise.

Well that was definitely not a surprise. Pre-election polls consistently reported that Obama was in the lead. And polls in so-called close states accurately predicted the results. There was no surprise.

The advice given to associations should have been to know your adversary.

Whether contesting an election, negotiating a contract, recruiting a member, applying for a grant, or engaging in any activity in which somebody else's decision will affect your association, you should know how the other side thinks, even if you don't think that way.

Many opponents of President Obama simply could not understand how a majority of Americans could vote for him. Those people failed to know their adversary.

 
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