There's a big problem with association boards trying to manage, rather than govern, their groups, and it's not about to end by offering board/executive trainings or teaching CEOs how to be effective managers.

Association management information is not communicated directly to Boards. That's the problem.

It's communicated through CEOs, and other staff, and Boards don't always accept the advice they are given.

Many Boards see their role as hands-on managers. They want to be hands-on managers and they will continue to be hands-on managers, association management training notwithstanding. Those who manage their own businesses often expect to manage the association the same way.

Governance does not exist in businesses, so they don't understand its role in associations. They view association employees - including the CEO - as their business employees, and treat them the same way they treat their own employees. They tell them what to do all of the time.

While presenting sponsoring strategies at the Michigan Society of Association Executives, one CEO told me she was not allowed to solicit sponsorships from companies that were not "affiliated" members of her association.

She also could not purchase supplies from unaffiliated groups nor even accept contributions from them. Every sponsorship proposal had to be reviewed and approved by her Board. She knew that was not appropriate but she could do nothing to change it.

We need to find a better way to educate Board members about their roles in associations.