An Executive Director's point of view
September 09, 2015: You don't look busy
If you have to write a letter or a report, edit a newsletter, create a new project, or conduct any of a multitude of association tasks, you are likely to do a much better job if you think and plan first.
You don't have to "look busy." You can pace, stare out the window, bounce a ball off the wall (unless that disturbs your co-workers), play a video game, or do whatever stimulates your brain.
Don't start writing or creating until you're ready. The end product will be better.
September 02, 2015: But it's a good idea...
You'll need to think and plan strategically to do that.
Determine your organization's mission, identify and prioritize the activities you feel will lead to fulfillment of that mission, and implement those programs that you have the resources to pursue.
If you identify 100 good ideas, for example, but only have the resources to implement three, select the three best ideas. Don't tackle #44 if you haven't first dealt with #2.
Utilize laser sharp focus in selection of your activities, and only do what you have the resources to do well. The more things you try to do, the less likely you'll succeed at any of them.
It's better to do an excellent job at a small number of programs than to do a mediocre job at many.
August 15, 2015: Do this for everybody
1. Consistently deliver value;
2. Build trust via quality products and excellent service.
Shouldn't you do that for everybody?
July 01, 2015: Do less, not more
It's often better to conduct one or two excellent programs than it is to do a less than excellent job at eight or nine.
Measure success by how much you accomplish, not by how much you try to accomplish.
June 26, 2015: Creating demand, not responding to it
In many instances, that is done to determine how to pitch membership, publications, conferences, and other organizational activities to various audiences. The intent is to find out what people want and how they want it presented to them. Programs are then designed to meet audience needs.
But often, associations seek to persuade people to support programs (and ideas) that have already been crafted. They want to advance programs and ideas that have not been embraced by the majority of their audiences, or those that may even conflict with existing practices.
That doesn't mean the groups are poorly informed or misdirected. It means they want to change the way things are done and they are using the data to help them decide how to do that.
They hope to create demand, not respond to it.
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.
September 18, 2014: What's the WIG idea?
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
"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.
July 28, 2014: What's a good mission statement?
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.