Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

Breaking. Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations because they have no other choice. Global uncertainty and technological advances are forcing Members to make more informed decisions on how to spend their precious time and money. Members expect their Associations to be nimble, future focused, and having the speed and foresight to help move an Industry forward. Organizations recognizing this shift are transforming from yesterday’s Associations to Tomorrow’s Associations.

Members hire Tomorrow’s Associations because they sit at the cutting edge of change and:

  • In a time of political gridlock, they are perceived as increasing spheres of influence. They’re also transforming themselves into more potent and influential extensions of an Industry.
  • Utilize market research to pinpoint challenges and build strategic opportunities to overcome those challenges. In doing so, they help create a more favorable climate to drive Industry growth.
  • Relentlessly look for whatever comes next in their Industry.
  • Seamlessly move from yesterday’s challenge toward tomorrow’s opportunity.
  • See their organizations as the front line and last line of defense for an Industry.

Members Hire Tomorrow’s AssociationsUsing relevance as their foundation, these organizations conduct research and engage boards and members to identify and address the next set of Industry challenges. They also understand the Industry’s business model from product design to marketplace, and the staff teams approach everyday as an act of invention:

 

Helicopter Association InternationalKeeping the rotors turning is all that matters for HAI. Led by Matt Zucarro, an Industry veteran, and President & CEO, the Association relishes its role as the Industry’s advocate in chief. “We don’t let anything get past us” notes Zucarro as his experienced team is ready to address any market or regulatory obstacle that will prevent the rotors from turning. Simultaneously, they aggressively promote the economic value of the Industry in meetings with legislators and regulators in domestic and international markets. The Association remains closely connected to Industry trends through insightful research and direct Board engagement.

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

 Matt Zuccaro

Since 2005, the Association transformed itself into a well-capitalized, forward looking, and fast moving extension of the Industry. Implementing a strong bias for Industry growth, HAI annually conducts the world’s largest helicopter exposition, the HAI Heli Expo Trade show which includes business networking and technical resources that address Member business challenges and opportunities. In addition to the Trade Show, the Association delivers resources geared toward helping Members address flight and operational safety with an Aircraft Risk Assessment Tool and a Safety Accreditation Program.

The Advocacy program is the first and last line of defense for the Industry. When the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) grounded operators due to a technical revised interpretation of regulations, HAI and their members worked successfully to speed up and streamline the exemption process. In doing so, the Industry was able to get back to work.

While addressing today’s challenges, Zucarro and his team are helping to position the Industry for the future:

  • “Autonomous flight is coming, technology is going to allow it, it’s a matter of public acceptance.” HAI is working with Federal Agencies and other Associations including the Association of Unmanned Vehicles (AUVSI) to help define the future through unmanned flight.
  • Although workforce shortages plague the Helicopter Industry now, the HAI team is collaborating with the Industry to build the Industry’s workforce of the future. Concrete strategies are being developed through the Helicopter Foundation to promote careers and help lead more pilots and technicians to choose careers in the Industry.

The International Sign Association – Annual Strategic Planning with its Board and 3 Steering Committees plus ongoing market engagement keep the Association aligned with the present and the future. Insisting upon transparency, the ISA team shares progress reports with Board Members four times each year. This level of market research plus Industry focused surveys, keeps the Association connected to today’s and tomorrow’s “Up at Night” challenges.

Led by Lori Anderson, President & CEO, the organization delivers business value in measurable ways:

  • The International Sign Expo – Business to business networking and emerging technologies.
  • Actionable Industry ResearchQuarterly economic reports, wages and benefits surveys, and research that identifies the economic impact of a sign.
  • Local sign code guidance – Plus legal support to help the Industry achieve sign approval.
Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

 Lori Anderson

Starting in 2013, the workforce shortage topic continually appeared in ISA’s research. Since then, utilizing an innovative digital approach, the Association is working to help the Industry educate, attract, and retain workers. Through strategic partnerships and adding skilled staff, the Association created a platform to help assess and teach skills to current and prospective workers. Though this online learning platform candidates can earn up to 15 digital badges. The strategy, since 2015, has helped students achieve approximately 7,000 badges. The workforce program is continually evaluated and updated to support the Industry’s workforce needs.

ISA also leverages its “Sign Manufacturing Day” to create student awareness of the Industry. Starting with just 8 companies and 200 students, the program now has eighty four companies participating and 3,500 students. Lori Anderson notes that “these programs help companies recruit interns on the spot.”

Health Industry Distributors Association – Leading and convening all aspects of the Industry in a Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative.  CEOs from Distributor Companies gather at HIDA to utilize this cooperative platform, brainstorm, and develop strategic solutions that optimize supply chain efficiency. The organization also incorporates Manufacturers in its market focused efforts through the HIDA Educational Foundation.

The Association is also familiar with Industry’s products and business model. Understanding member pain points through direct engagement and market research, the organization evolves as market place challenges and opportunities change.

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

  Matt Rowan

It’s current suite of products are designed to help members stay connected to what’s new or anticipated in their marketplace: Business Intelligence on Supply Chain Strategies, Telemedicine, Market Reports, & Segmented market reports.

Through Industry focused Advocacy:

  • The Association is collaborating with federal agencies to provide help during an emergency event. This will help federal emergency responders engage the commercial healthcare supply chain during crisis by centralizing key attributes of commercial medical-surgical distribution centers in an online tool.
  • Successfully had 120 products manufactured in China exempted from additional import tariffs.

Matthew J. Rowan, President & CEO leads the Association.

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

Alison Bodor

Transforming into one of tomorrow’s Associations is no small task. Each Industry or Profession is different and making big changes could take more time. Consider starting with actionable market research and collaborative board discussions. Doing so will help build a foundation that leads to the larger transformation. For example, Alison Bodor, President and CEO, American Frozen Food Institute is leading a longer term change. Along with her team, she continually utilizes market research to inform and guide strategic discussions around food safety and Frozen Food consumption with the Board and their members. One of the near term deliverables is a new research report by AFFI and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) titled “The Power of Frozen.” The report examines consumption drivers, purchase drivers, channel drivers, opportunities for collaboration, and shares opportunities for how companies can drive continued growth in the Frozen Food category. Thoughtful approaches like AFFI’s plant the seeds of transformational change.

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations

Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations Tomorrow’s Associations including Helicopter Association International, Health Industry Distributors Association, International Sign Association, and other leading organizations including, Global Cold Chain Alliance, American Bakers Association, and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are all unapologetically getting it done for their Industries as they:

  • Leverage actionable research to position Industries for new opportunities.
  • Advance the innovative aspects of products to elected officials and consumers.
  • Champion Industries and position them for Market Growth.
  • Promote the economic impact of Industry products and services to domestic and international legislative and regulatory bodies.
  • Cite how Industries increase employment and influence community quality of life, and in several cases, help to attract the next generation of workers.

Because Tomorrow’s Associations have a strong bias for action, their CEOs move forward as they see opportunities that far outweigh threats and risks. “Turn every threat into an opportunity. In order to do that you need to surround yourselves with the right talent. Take some risk in a period of uncertainty not avoid it” notes PWC’s CEO Bob Moritz. Yes, uncertainty should be an immediate call to action for yesterday’s Associations. Breaking. Members Hire Tomorrow’s Associations because they have no other choice.

To learn more about how your organization can become one of Tomorrow’s Associations click here.

Members Hire Relevant Associations

Members Hire Relevant Associations Associations have endured downturns before, what’s different this time is the valuable lesson learned after the great recession, that Members hire relevant Associations. Boards and their CEOs aren’t interested  in hemorrhaging balance sheets that come from dues losses and shrinking Trade Show revenues. Regardless of the economic climate, organizations are committed to keeping their organizations relevant. From 2009 forward, leading Associations find ways to maintain their relevance and are perceived as the Industry or the Profession. If a global downturn occurs, Associations should prepare and conduct a rigorous and research driven relevance test.

Associations who want to pass the relevance test should initiate conversations with their Boards or Executive Committees to:

  • Talk through and quantify the sources and the business impact of market challenges.
  • Brainstorm with leaders on how the Association can be helpful in a strategic manner that benefits the entire Industry or Profession.
  • Build nimble strategies to address new or critical Industry or Professional challenges and opportunities.
  • Develop metrics and key performance indicators with Board leaders to measure how relevant your Association is to the member’s marketplace.
  • Report back regularly on how aligned the Association is with these metrics and key performance indicators at Board meetings.
  • Have ongoing strategic conversations about Industry or Professional challenges and opportunities.

Members hire relevant associations Relevance is about being connected to the member marketplace with resources geared toward helping your members overcome challenges & achieve success. Associations who utilize this approach understand that Members hire relevant Associations, which means these organizations are built to withstand downturns and thrive during healthy economies. What makes these Associations especially relevant is how their strategies and products position them as either “Industry or Profession solution partnerswith their Boards and members:

members hire relevant associations

Heidi Biggs Brock

The Aluminum Association – Heidi Biggs Brock, President and CEO, works with her team to continually refine the organizations focus and stay connected with the Aluminum Industry’s evolving challenges and business outcomes. The Association utilizes actionable data to brainstorm with Executive Committee members about current emerging challenges to ensure that they are focused on quantifiable outcomes that move the needle for the Industry. The strategies that the organization develops have Key Performance Indicators and are reported through a Scorecard in the Aluminum Association’s Annual Report.

members hire relevant associations

 Donna Orem

National Association of Independent Schools – Provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S. In formulating its strategies, NAIS embraced an underlying premise that in today’s marketplace “people no longer buy products or services. Instead they hire them to make progress.” Based on the Clayton M. Christiansen “Jobs To Be Done” approach in his more recent book Competing Against Luck, the NAIS team utilized this approach to develop value propositions that addressed the struggles that heads of schools and administrators face and to understand how those struggles change as they progress through their careers. The Association is led by its President Donna Orem.

Members Hire Relevant Associations

Melissa Hockstad

American Cleaning Institute – The organization is positioned to help its members overcome challenges and find pathways to business growth through each of the following Industry focused strategies:

  • Thought leadership and Industry promotion.
  • ACI Annual Convention that provides opportunities for the Industry to market and sell products. The most recent Convention had record setting attendance.
  • Industry centered Advocacy to help members protect their intellectual property and product category reputation.

The organization’s President & CEO, Melissa Hockstad, engages members on a regular basis as part of an organizational “listen in” program and connects with her Board to surface any new opportunities to support Industry growth.

members hire relevant associations

     Julia Hamm

The Smart Electric Power Alliance’s key focus is to bring all distributed energy resources to the conversation in order to develop, share, and build practical solutions for the entire Industry. The membership comprises utilities, large energy users, as well as for-profit and non-profit corporations and SEPA’s overall focus is on grid modernization. The Alliance conducts Industry focused Board meetings where executives share knowledge, address Industry challenges and devise solutions. In addition, the Alliance provides unbiased and actionable research and Advisory Services to Utilities to help them address the challenges of a clean energy landscape. Led by Julia Hamm, the organization’s President and CEO, the Alliance maintains its neutrality, does not advocate or take positions on issues, drive trends, or pick favorites.

Each organization’s Industry or Profession focused approached positioned them for a possible downturn because they understand that Members hire relevant Associations.

Members Hire Relevant Associations

As Associations think through a possible global slowdown, the 22nd PWC Annual Global CEO survey provides insights that could be beneficial in the rigorous relevance test that you are about to conduct. The survey reveals that in 2019:

  • Data about customers and clients needs and preferences is viewed as critically important in CEO decision making.
  • 436% increase in the number of CEOs who expect global economic growth to decline.
  • 16% decrease in CEOs who say they are “very confident” in revenue prospects for the next 12 months.
  • Some of the top ten threats include: over regulation, policy uncertainty, availability of key skills, trade conflicts, cyber threats, geopolitical uncertainty, protectionism, populism, speed of technological change, and exchange rate volatility.
  • CEOs seeking growth will pivot inward to drive revenue growth and focus on operational efficiencies, launch a new product or service, enter a new market, new mergers and acquisition opportunities, collaborate with entrepreneurs or startups, or sell a business.

members hire relevant associationsStrong U.S. economic performance shouldn’t shield concerns voiced by global CEOs who in many cases are Association dues decision makers. Reinforcing these results is the monthly Wall Street Journal Small Business Survey conducted by Vistage. Of those surveyed, 14%  expect the economy to improve while 36% expect it to worsen among owners of firms with revenues ranging between $1 and $20 million.  The PWC and Wall Street Journal surveys introduce new information that should be the impetus for your organization to conduct a rigorous relevance test soon.  Waiting only adds to your Association’s risk, the timing to transform your organization into an Industry or Professional Solution Partner is immediate. Note to self: Members hire relevant Associations.

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Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

The challenge for Association CEO’s is to understand how Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations. Simply put, the new Private Equity owners are not necessarily maintaining their Association memberships. Following the company purchase, new owners use concrete strategies that improve operations, products, revenues, and market position. Utilizing proactive and innovative strategies will determine whether or not Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations.

Private Equity Investment is ExplodingPrivate Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

 

U.S. investment in Private Equity skyrocketed to $57 billion in the first quarter of 2018 alone. In 2017 there were 3,283 transactions in the United States, Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associationstotaling $511.66 billion. These numbers reflect a post great recession high. Associations who haven’t yet experienced membership losses yet should expect to see these challenges land at their front door soon. Bobby Franklin, President & CEO, National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) in Washington, DC indicates that PE has the resources it needs to continue acquiring companies. According to PitchBook 2017 Annual PE and VC Fundraising report, Private Equity funds have almost $1 trillion in dry powder (investment capital) and that could foretell more company acquisitions.Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

Private Equity Background and Their Objectives

Understanding the threat is the critical first step for Associations, notes Steve Caldeira, President & CEO of the Washington, DC based Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA). Earlier in his career, Caldeira worked firsthand with Private Equity while at Dunkin’ Brands (2007-2009). The company was purchased by three PE Funds; Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group, and Thomas H. Lee Partners. It has been reported that each of the firms profited approximately $600 million upon sale of the company. Caldeira notes that these firms have a clear vision once they purchase companies:

  • Maximize return to its investors – Through due diligence and strategic rigor, they vastly improve the company’s operational performance and brand marketing to enable revenue growth and measurable profits to maximize its exit position.
  • Exit – Selling the company to a different firm or company or even possibly cashing out through an Initial Public offering.

Having this background is the starting point for the understanding of how and why Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations.

Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations: PE Too Has a Value Imperative

Nowadays executives don’t join anything without a direct connection to helping them achieve business outcomes. Busy executives will find other ways including starting their own coalitions or launching their own Associations to create an environment more conducive to business success. Private Equity is in many ways similar. Keep in mind that the key differences that define the Private Equity approach are highly disciplined strategies combined with a well established success formula for their investors. Understanding these differences will help Associations why Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations.

Two Steps to Engage Private Equity Owners

Steve Caldeira faced the Private Equity challenges as an Association Executive at two leading Trade organizations: International Franchise Association and now at the Household & Commercial Products Association. Understanding the Private Equity mandate, Caldeira applied a two step process that bridged critical gaps through an understanding of differences to work toward common goals:

  1. Early EngagementMeeting with the new Private Equity owners to understand the regulatory and tax impediments that keep them up at night. Then mapping these concerns to the Association’s federal and state advocacy teams.
  2. Volunteer Leadership – Inviting new owners to participate on the Board of Directors (with a potential pathway to the Officer level) or to participate in key Association committees. These opportunities help the new owners leverage the Association as an extension of their firm’s business strategy. They also create understanding (as well as business to business opportunities) for promoting dialogue between Private Equity owed companies and other members of the Association.

Organizations, in addition to the International Franchise and Household & Commercial Products Association, are utilizing the board leadership opportunity in similar ways, with many PE owned companies sitting on Association Boards. Associations with PE owned companies sitting on Boards include:

These two approaches are effective strategies in so much as they are determining factors as to whether or not Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations.

Private Equity Owners Also Insist Upon Clarity and Deliverables

Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires AssociationsCorey Rosenbusch, President & CEO, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Arlington, Virginia remains focused on the potential loss of dues and non-dues revenue as Private Equity companies consolidate memberships. Thanks to pro active strategies the Association has not lost a single private equity firm from membership when they entered the space.  Moreover, each of these companies have stayed engaged after they were purchased.

GCCA is delivering impressive results for Private Equity owned companies and overall membership through the mitigation of costs of regulatory compliance. For example, members achieved a decrease in the number of violations and OSHA fines per inspection.

Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

The Association also identified two other high ROI opportunities to support the new Private Equity owners with:

  • Technical resources – Helping reduce costs.
  • Talent development initiatives – Assisting with workforce challenges.

Rosenbusch notes “GCCA continually identifies new and innovative opportunities to maximize the ROI for the organization and for our Private Equity owned members.”

Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations

Make no mistake about it, Private Equity is increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with for all Associations. The high volume of available capital and Private Equity investors hungry for strong returns means Association CEO’s must create opportunities to engage their new Private Equity owners. Not doing so is risky and could result in considerable erosion of the membership base. Utilizing proactive and innovative strategies are the best tools that will determine whether Private Equity Hires Associations, Private Equity Fires Associations.

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Members Hire Customized Advocacy

Customized Advocacy

Members hire Customized Advocacy because they have no choice. They face turmoil driven by ever increasing new technologies, evolving consumer preferences, and political polarization. What’s more member companies are facing increasing demands for transparency from their board members, shareholders, and also from their consumers. Associations who customize their advocacy strategies will remain relevant. Those who don’t will falter.

Answering the Call to Action: Customized Advocacy

Association Boards insist that their CEO’s are as nimble and focused on the marketplace as they are. Members hire Customized Advocacy because of the dynamic nature of the business environment and they need results in real time. Your organization’s ability to creatively and rapidly respond to new and emerging challenges through Customized Advocacy is what your members expect.

Customized Advocacy Addresses Widespread Member Challenges & Opportunities

The magnitude of advocacy challenges spread far beyond the confines of the Washington, DC Beltway. In industries ranging from Food to Consumer Products, Associations are regularly challenged with legislative and regulatory activities at the Federal, State, and local government levels. Building timely and Customized Advocacy to respond rapidly is essential.

Associations will need ongoing connectivity with Board Leaders in strategic discussions about current and emerging Industry challenges. It also requires ongoing member interaction, and Industry focused research to develop and implement Customized Advocacy strategies.

NATIONAL MARINE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION 

NMMA represents boat, marine engine and accessory manufacturers, its members manufacture an estimated 80 percent of marine products used in North America.

Reflecting the Industry’s desire to continually maximize its Advocacy efforts, Thom Dammrich, President & CEO, NMMA continually seeks opportunities to utilize Customized Advocacy to maximize business impact for the Marine Industry. Part of NMMA’s Customized Advocacy focus is building, leading, and participating in coalitions to advocate and promote the Industry.

customized advocacyNowadays the most impactful resource that an Industry has is the data it utilizes to make its case with Legislators and Regulators. Where Industry numbers are presented in these conversations, it could have more impact if numbers were reflected in data released by the Federal Government. Recognizing this, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a coalition of twenty one outdoor recreation trade associations that includes the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Outdoor Industry Association, and the Motorcycle Industry Council galvanized their efforts. Their focus was to have Outdoor Recreation recognized by the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis:

  • Legislation was introduced and later enacted into law by President Obama in 2016.
  • The new law directed the Bureau of Economic Analysis to develop a measurement of the outdoor economy in the same way that it tabulates other Industries and the overall economy.
  • The Outdoor Industry Association updates its estimate of the Outdoor Recreation Economy in 2017.On February 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released a report showing that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.0 percent or $373.7 billion of current-dollar GDP in 2016.

customized advocacyThom Dammrich celebrated the Industry’s Customized Advocacy success, “As an industry, we are proud to generate millions of American jobs and be a driving economic force from coast to coast, and we are grateful that the BEA and the Department of Commerce have decided to recognize that.”

NMMA regularly conducts Industry research and is in the midst of a Strategic Industry Business Planning Process.

HOUSEHOLD & COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION

HCPA is a Trade Association that advocates for companies that make and sell $180 billion annually of products used for cleaning, protecting, maintaining, and disinfecting in homes and commercial environments. Association members employ 200,000 people in the U.S.

Since joining HCPA as its new President & CEO in January 2017, Steve Caldeira and his team continually communicate with their Board and members to stay connected to evolving member challenges and opportunities.

Their Customized Advocacy strategy incorporates Board direction for:

  • Collaboration with Supply Chain-related Trade Associations to maximize the Industry’s business impact.
  • Communication and responsiveness on increasing consumer transparency concerns with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and retailers who sell products.
  • Scientific Research to highlight and validate the Industry’s critical role in developing environmentally safe products for consumers.

Customized AdvocacyThe HCPA Customized Advocacy model delivered an important win through the passage and enactment of California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act in 2017. Environmental and public health groups believe that consumers and workers need to know a lot more about the cleaning products in their kitchens, bathrooms and work spaces. Product manufacturers want labels that educate their customers without alarming them or providing details so minute that they obscure serious concerns about human health.

The balanced solution that California lawmakers devised allows consumers and workers to see the facts they really need to know, because the labeling focuses on important ingredients, such as those that have been linked to various health concerns. The California law, was backed by more than 100 environmental and public health groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Women’s Voices for the Earth and the Environmental Working Group, as well as cleaning product giants such as ECOLAB, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, and SC Johnson. Both sides compromised after numerous meetings; a clear sign of a successful negotiation.

Customized AdvocacyReflecting upon the Industry’s Customized Advocacy success, Steve Caldeira notes that “our industry will always be open to collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders to successfully address our member’s interests.”

How Associations Build Their Own Customized Advocacy Strategies

Associations can develop Customized Advocacy through ongoing interaction with boards and members. What drives successful Customized Advocacy is a steady flow of communication and collaboration to help define the challenges and the business impact that the Industry is seeking:

  • Stay connected through a systematic approach to annual data collection through interviews and Industry (or Profession focused) survey research.
  • Utilize research to focus Board meeting discussions on Industry challenges and then deliver Customized Advocacy that adds business impact to the members.
  • Learn about member challenges firsthand. Whenever possible meet with members face to face.
  • Continually measure and assess business impact.

Each step will maximize the alignment between the Association and your members. Moreover, your organization will continually add business impact to members because of the Customized Advocacy strategies that you develop.

Members Hire Customized Advocacy

Despite strong growth forecasts member company CEO’s have a less robust view after 2018. From now on member companies will seek out those Associations that deliver business impact. Customized Advocacy helps position Associations as the valuable ally that members need to navigate the complex business landscape.

Organizations such as NMMA and HCPA are perceived as extensions of business and marketing strategies by their members and deservedly so. They demonstrate how important it is for today’s Association to help navigate and advance Industries through an ongoing era of disruption and turmoil. In doing so these organizations will increase their business impact and their relevance because of their Customized Advocacy focus.

Yes, it’s important to remember in 2018 that Members Hire Associations and Members Fire Associations. It’s just as important to recognize that from now on Members will especially hire Associations that deliver Customized Advocacy.

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Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations

Members hire associations

Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations is what the new mantra will be for Association Executives in 2018. The evolving external environment is continually redefining how member executives assess the impact of their memberships. At year end 2017, Association Executives would find it useful to see the world as their members do and understand what help they need to make progress in their Industry or Profession. While economists forecast a brighter global growth picture, your members still face a myriad of uncertainty. Cyber & nuclear threats, disruptive innovation, and increasing competition for market share will continue to reshape how members view their memberships. This means organizations will require new and different external research to understand what tools they must provide in order to help their members make progress.

Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations

Since the end of the great recession, Boards are helping their Associations see the world as they see it. Pushing an all you can eat buffet as your value proposition is now the dark ages. Even connectivity to business and professional challenges and providing immediate solutions represent a smaller fraction of evolving member expectations. In other words, if your Association is not perceived as a vehicle to help drive progress for your members and prospective members then your organization:

  1. Will likely be fired by your members.
  2. Will not be hired by your prospective members.

In 2018 the new mantra will be: Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations.

Research Keeps Associations Connected to Member Problems that Need to Be Solved

For organizational CEO’s embracing the new marketplace that Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations you’ve taken an important first step. As Boards insist upon more operational rigor at their Associations, they are turning to externally focused and segmented research. This data is playing an increasingly important role in strategic planning and product development. In several cases, Association CEO’s are assessing strategies, products, & services as for profit executives do at global enterprises.

The National Association of Independent Schools

NAIS is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,800 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,500 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.


Members hire associationsAs the new NAIS President, Donna Orem, her Board, and her team set out to build a segmented research study to profile the market of Private Schools. Their research identified four segments in their marketplace. What they learned was how each segment differs in terms of goals they hope to achieve, professional needs, and demographic characteristics. While each segment presented different implications, NAIS leveraged Board guidance and took to address the differences in each member segment. This work only took them so far, however. After learning from a board member about the Jobs To Be Done framework, the board and leadership team agreed that this approach, which explores what causes someone to hire or fire a product or service, could provide even more actionable insights.

“Jobs to Be Done” Approach

Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christiansen has researched what makes businesses successful in his over twenty years of teaching at Harvard Business School.  He is most well known for creating the theory of Disruptive Innovation. He put forth the “Jobs To Be Done” Approach in his recent book Competing Against Luck.  The underlying premise is that in today’s marketplace “people no longer buy products or services. Instead they hire them to make progress.” The NAIS team utilized this approach to develop value propositions that addressed the struggles that heads of schools and administrators face and to understand how those struggles change as they progress through their careers.

The process changed the way the organization and the Board develops and delivers value to their members, and redefined how the Association thinks from strategy through implementation.

NAIS is already utilizing their newly minted strategies to retain and acquire new members and accordingly Donna Orem notes, “We found the JTBD work to be transformational.”

Club Managers Association of America

The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) is the professional Association for managers of membership clubs. CMAA has close to 6,700 members across all classifications.


Members hire associationsFor Jeff Morgan & his team, it’s imperative to have a business minded research systematic approach in product management and strategy. They utilize approaches developed management consulting firms including the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, Ansoff, and Blue Ocean Strategy. Their assessment process helps the CMAA team reach a “problems to be solved” determination on each of their products:

 

  • Ensure the Association is serving its members (Mission)
  • Make better (supportable) strategic decisions
  • Help to prune portfolio of products to make room for new ones
  • Improve internal resource allocation
  • Product-lifecycle focus
  • Strategy alignment (internally/externally)

These steps have helped CMAA deliver increased strategic and operational rigor to their product management approaches. The process has been “an integral part of how the organization delivers increasing value to Club Management Professionals at each stage of their careers.”

American Bakers Association

The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C. based voice of the wholesale baking industry. ABA represents the interests of bakers before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and international regulatory authorities. ABA advocates on behalf of more than 1,000 baking facilities and baking company suppliers.


energizing member engagementRobb MacKie, President & CEO sees the Baking Industry experiencing unprecedented disruption and evolving consumer attitudes. Determined to identify a “problems to be solved approach,” they launched a research based strategic planning process. What’s different about it is how the process is geared toward an external perspective of business challenges and how ABA could accelerate its impact on all segments of the Baking Industry. The Association also seeks to determine how they can continually increase their alignment with the Industry they serve.

Similar to NAIS and CMAA, ABA’s business focus is drawn partially from leading business authors including Chris Zook, “Profit From The Core. Growth Strategy In An Era of Turbulence.”  Through this process Robb Mackie, the Board, and the Senior Team have surfaced & identified the core challenges and problems to be solved for the Industry today. Their focus is to build a new and more nimble strategy that continually aligns ABA with the Baking Industry.

Part of ABA’s Operational Rigor includes an evaluation and assessment planning process to ensure that the organization is best positioned to address & solve Industry problems for the members:

  • Sunsetting process to identify their noncore products
  • Operational Readiness Assessment on existing & New Core Products
  • Developing Metrics to measure new product & service impact on Industry Business & Growth Challenges

Because of externally focused and segmented research, NAIS, CMAA, and ABA have greater understanding into what’s next for Associations,  Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations.

Ongoing Alignment Test: Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations 

Part of the next evolution of Association strategic planning and product development is how externally focused and segmented research is driving strategy and implementation to help members solve their problems.

Members hire associationsEarlier this year, NPES launched an ambitious strategic plan to align and grow the global printing and imaging Industry. As part of its strategic overhaul Thayer Long, President, is focusing the organization to more quickly and readily adapt to emerging Industry challenges. He sees ongoing research as necessary to maintain ongoing alignment with the members. Through ongoing research NPES is increasing its understanding of why members hire/fire Associations. For example, the Association now:

  • Maintains an Alignment dashboard focused on Industry performance.
  • Conducts an annual Industry Alignment survey research to measure its impact on the problems that need to be solved.

Having this additional research will help NPES and other organizations who are embracing the new reality: Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations.

Members Hire Associations, Members Fire Associations

Strategic planning and product development are rapidly changing. These are not just one time exercises. Instead, its ongoing research that will continually help to identify member problems that need to be solved. It’s more comprehensive and it requires drilling down through segmented qualitative and quantitative research to surface the member problems that need to be solved.  This is a four step process that will position Associations to drive ongoing progress for its members:

Members hire associations

As the curtain rises in 2018 the new reality is Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations.  Adjusting to the new reality requires externally focused and segmented research that helps your organization understand what help members need in order to make progress. Welcome to 2018: Members hire Associations, Members fire Associations.

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3 Association Radical Transformation Strategies

Association Radical Transformation Strategies

Are persistent growth challenges and global uncertainty opening different pathways for Trade Associations? In several instances, several Association CEO’s are utilizing radical transformation strategies to increase their relevance to the members and the industries they serve. Do Association’s need Radical Transformation Strategies to remain relevant enough to keep their members engaged over the longer term?

Association Radical Transformation Strategies

In 1982, as the global competition and market disruption accelerated, Tom Peters introduced a new way of thinking in his book “In Search of Excellence.” Instead of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” he said “If it ain’t broke, you just haven’t looked hard enough.” As market conditions drive tighter margins and uncertainty limits opportunities for industry growth, Tom Peters bias for action is a clarion call for Associations. The following 3 Association Radical Transformation Strategies will help to radically transform your Association and better position your organization to more impactfully engage your members:

  1. Dispense with traditional Association Strategies, Connect the Value Chain

Engage the entire value chain (suppliers, original equipment manufacturers, producers, customers, and customer’s customer) through qualitative and quantitative research. Identify similarities among business challenges and growth opportunities. In doing so, your organization is positioning itself as the place to address solutions and drive growth from one end of the marketplace to the other.

  1. Forget Competitive Boundaries, Lead and Convene the Value Chain

Forget competitive association boundaries. Convene the industry or profession value chain through your association, collaborate with other associations to address industry business challenges and identify new pathways to top line growth. For example, leverage advocacy resources of the entire value chain to reduce compliance costs. Your bias for action is no longer about your products or services, it’s about industry business outcomes. Driving these outcomes throughout the entire value chain provides the results they must have to succeed. If they succeed, then they remember who helped drive their success and reward you with a renewal or a new membership.

  1. Association Promotion becomes secondary, Promote and Grow the Industry or Profession throughout the Value Chain

In a hyper competitive world, relevance is the key that can unlock the business and professional outcomes that your members need. This is the bias for action that matters, promote the industry through actionable research. Utilize it to demonstrate the industry’s impact to advocate with elected officials, regulators, and industry customers. Also, develop actionable research to identify opportunities to increase efficiency or unlock growth opportunities throughout the value chain. Having the value chain at the table creates allies to drive business outcomes.  Anything less and your Association’s membership is at risk.

Transformation and Action

Trade Associations who demonstrate a bias for action and transformation are increasing. As global market complexities increase, several CEO’s are embracing transformation as the better pathway to keep their Association’s relevant. What’s more, each of these Associations is finding it easier to engage their members because of the relevance to their business challenges and outcomes.

Association Radical Transformation Strategies

Thayer Long, NPES President since May of 2016, sees his organization’s strategic planning process as an ongoing act of invention. Although the plan was approved by the organization’s Board of Directors in December 2016, this is a larger effort to support global growth for the print and imaging industry. An NPES Core Team is convening representatives of the value chain (original equipment manufacturers, printers, and brand owners) to ensure that new products and services provide real time solutions to drive business outcomes. Actionable data and acting on what they know versus what they think is now a part of the NPES DNA. The association wants to remain nimble to take full advantage of any new opportunities help reduce costs or to support top line growth for the industry they serve.

Association Radical Transformation StrategiesCorey Rosenbusch, Global Cold Chain Alliance President & CEO maintains a relentless focus on a strategic plan reflecting the business outcomes of refrigerated food and logistics industry around the world. GCCA developed disruptive advocacy strategies to lower the costs of regulatory compliance for their members. What’s different today? The association leads and convenes an ongoing broader industry effort focusing on cost reduction.

Since adoption of its new strategic plan GCCA has experienced 25% growth in annual revenue.

Association Radical Transformation StrategiesHeidi Brock, President & CEO, the Aluminum Association and her team have transformed the way they serve their members. Tightly aligning advocacy strategies with member business outcomes and continually providing actionable research to share with elected officials and prospective customers of the industry keeps the Association relevant. Moreover Brock, her team, and the Association’s Executive Committee work towards quantifiable outcomes for the Aluminum Industry.

The Aluminum Association is experiencing 11% membership growth, retention improved 3%, and their core revenue is 6% higher than the prior year.

3 Association Radical Transformation Strategies

Should your Association adjust its bias for action? Start by asking these four questions of your Board and your members:

  1. As you think about the Association over the last 3-5 years what has the organization achieved in terms of direct impact on your costs of doing business and your opportunities to grow your topline revenue?
  2. Over the next 3-5 years what are the industry’s most significant challenges, threats and business growth opportunities?
  3. How aligned is the Association with these challenges and opportunities?
  4. Would you like the value chain at the table with us to help build solutions and drive future topline growth?

The answers to these questions will provide the basis you need to launch your 3 Association Radical Transformation Strategies.

Association Radical Transformation Strategies

 

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available upon request for all Association Executives at Potomac Core – Association Consulting

4 Association Disruption Strategies

4 Association Disruption Strategies

The 2017 PWC 20th annual CEO Survey, fourth quarter domestic GDP numbers and the 2017 Conference Board Global forecast of 2.3% economic growth show just how challenging business conditions are for today’s business decision makers. Organizations can help their members convert these challenges into growth opportunities by utilizing 4 Association Disruption Strategies. In doing so you, can position your organization as disruptive growth agents for the Industry or the Profession you serve.

Disrupt Ourselves

Embracing the hyper competitive environment is essential in a time of global uncertainty and disruption for all Association and Professional Society Leaders. “We have to disrupt ourselves every day,” notes Thayer Long, President of Reston, Virginia based NPES.  He points to how his Association is answering the call and positioning itself to be a growth agent for the printing and imaging industry.  In a recently completed Strategic Plan update, he reflects on how NPES with Board and Market guidance is addressing  challenges and competitive threats for the Industry and the Association.

Transforming into agents of change and growth helps keep your organization more relevant. In today’s environment, members demand real time solutions that advance their concerns and achieve results. By adding these 4 Association Disruption Strategies into your planning process, your organization becomes an important part of everyday conversations.

4 Association Disruption Strategies

  1. Obtain Actionable Data – Understanding challenges and opportunities for the Profession or Industry you represent is a must. Utilizing an impact and member engagement focused survey can help you obtain more realistic assessments of how relevant and connected your organization is to the outcomes that members seek to achieve. Taking your members pulse annually through impact and memebr engagement surveys will especially help keep your organization aligned with your members and their customers.

2.  Position the Association as an Outcome Driver Changing the conversation from “here’s what you get for your money” to “here’s the power of engaging with others in your Industry/Profession to create new, innovative solutions” positions your organization as a thought leader and a solution provider.

3. Deliver Products to Drive Impact  Avoiding the “all you can eat buffet” environment that adds more products dilutes value and dampens staff enthusiasm over time. This posture also causes your members to perceive your Association or Professional Society as less relevant. For example, a data based approach that utilizes survey results from members and their customers can validate what your members need to achieve their business outcomes.  Using this approach NPES was able to affirm the need to deliver actionable Industry Research for Global Print Manufacturers, Printers, and the Big Brand Companies.

4. Keep Strategic Plans NimbleAs business cycles shift, your organization must be able to adapt and remain relevant. For instance, it’s not yet clear on what the Post Brexit environment will look like nor is it clear how health care policy will evolve. Collaborating with your board to build and adjust an organization Business Plan instead of the traditional Strategic Plan helps you respond instantaneously to market changes.

Applying these 4 Association Disruption Strategies to develop your new Business Plan can help your Association or Professional Society accelerate its relevance and motivate higher levels of Member and Industry engagement. By doing so, your organization becomes the focal point for the Profession or Industry you represent. For NPES, extensive survey research and strategic deliberations with their board positions the organization as the focal point for the global imaging and printing industry growth.

4 Association Disruption Strategies

4 Association Disruption Strategies

The Merriam Webster definition of disrupt helps to frame the decision point for you as an Association Executive or an Executive Director:

  • “to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way: to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)”

In today’s uncertain and anemic growth environment, should Associations and Professional Societies utilize their Business Planning (formerly known as Strategic Planning) process to “disrupt themselves?” Is there any other choice?

4 Association Disruption Strategies

 

 

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available upon request for all Association Executives at Potomac Core – Association Consulting

Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

advocacy drives business outcomes

For leading Associations, their mantra is clear Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes. These organizations collaborate with their boards to make sure that the Association’s Advocacy Strategies reflect the growth challenges and opportunities that their members care most about. Even though the U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3.5% in the third quarter of 2016 growth forecasts for 2017 remain mixed. What also remains to be seen is just how much disruptive technologies and policies of the new Administration will impact the business landscape in the new year.

What is becoming increasingly more clear is how Associations can accelerate their business impact for their members in 2017. There is already evidence that CEO’s are leveraging organizational resources to engage their members in ambitious policy and regulatory agendas. In doing so these Associations are key allies in helping their members overcome challenges, reduce costs, and in several cases enter new markets.

Policy Priorities Mirror Industry Outcomes

Associations including the Global Cold Chain Alliance, GCCA,  and the American Bakers Association, ABA, utilize their Advocacy Strategies to link member dues investments to the cost reduction and top line growth outcomes that their members seek.  GCCA’s strategic plan incorporates advocacy and business outcomes and ABA emphasizes the impact of its advocacy strategies in an annual video. The Fertilizer Institute’s, TFIAdvocacy Strategy is laser focused on helping its members manage its costs through a slow growth cycle. Each of these organizations demonstrate how advocacy drives business outcomes.

The Board leaders and the Association are collaborators and make sure policy priorities reflect the challenges and opportunities facing the industry per Heidi Biggs Brock, President and CEO, at the Aluminum Association.

Engaging the Board on External Issues

As the global marketplace grows more increasingly complex some Associations have found it difficult to increase board attendance and active participation at their meetings. Organizations who structure their board meetings as more of a “knowledge sharing” and strategic focus for attendees are finding higher levels of interest and engagement.

Measuring Advocacy and Policy Outcomes

Advocacy Drives Business OutcomesShowing how advocacy delivers a return on member engagement is a critical element of what organizations like the Aluminum Association provide for their members. Being able to demonstrate how your organization measures and tracks these outcomes is especially impactful in the minds of the dues paying member.

Expanding Advocacy Impact

Building and recruiting allies inside and outside your industry is a staple for Associations who seek to magnify the impact that they can deliver for their members. Identifying who else needs to be at the table to help your organization build an even greater base of support is essential.

 Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

In an uncertain world board leaders and members insist upon direct return from their investment of time and financial resources. The Aluminum Association, the American Bakers Association, the Fertilizer Institute, the Global Cold Chain Alliance, and several others have already transformed their organizations. Through tightly focused Advocacy Strategies Today’s Associations are upping their game and helping industries reshape the external business environment for their members. They are doing so by communicating how Advocacy drives business outcomes.

Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

 

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available upon request for all Association Executives at Potomac Core – Association Consulting

 

post brexit associations

Post Brexit Associations

The Brexit vote in the United Kingdom along with modest and subdued global economic growth will continue to affect corporate decisions on external costs not related to top line growth and operating performance. Associations in a number of instances are increasingly more relevant, and have strategic objectives closely aligned with the industries they serve. These organizations also have the characteristics that define Post Brexit Associations.  However, in a rapidly evolving global market, how aligned is your association in order to help your members and their industries meet new challenges?