3 Strategies Help Association Overcome Shrinking Market

Market consolidation is a reality for many Associations, however, can this powerful global market trend be overcome? NPES, an Association representing over 400 global suppliers of printing, publishing, & converting technologies equipment thinks so.

Listen, Visit & Engage

shrinking market

 

Through relentless ROI focus & human connections, Ralph Nappi, President & CEO, along with his team build member relationships, identify needs, & deliver real time business solutions. Spending 100+ days in face to face meetings, Nappi actively reinforces NPES’s connection with  board members & members.

 

3 Strategies Help Association Overcome Shrinking Market

NPES operating profit performance is driven through 3 key strategies:

  1. Low barrier of entry. Affordable dues encouraging maximum participation from a larger cross section of companies.
  2. Visible ROI. Assist members grow markets; Industry statistics, issue advocacy & trade shows connecting members with client opportunities.
  3. Global market mover.BRIC country”  presence; offices in Brazil, Russia, India, & China helping members expand markets.

Added Resources Reinforce Organization’s Strategies  

Through its 4 other organizations, NPES adds market support, industry brand visibility, & advocacy of an important industry standard:

3 Strategies That Help NPES Overcome Shrinking Market

shrinking marketRunning counter to global market forces demands close member interaction & flexible  strategies in order to achieve positive results. In NPES’s case, they report 94% member retention, & from 2009 through 2011 over $1.5 million in net operating performance.

 

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

shrinking market

Organizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth

organizational culture and missionOrganizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth. Associations and Societies are busy revisiting their strategic plans and business models. After all, new paths to member engagement and revenue growth are essential nowadays. While CEOs employ different approaches, one in particular applies culture as a growth accelerant. A.S.P.E.N., the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and it’s CEO Debra S. BenAvram leverage culture and their mission to operate a functional and thriving community ( http://bit.ly/1GWhVgL). A strategically engaged board combined with an energized and innovative staff are consistently hitting on the right cylinders.

Imagine a Different Future

A.S.P.E.N. works to insure that all patients receive high quality nutrition. They reinforce their vision by trumpeting the best evidence based practice for support to patients in need of specialized nourishment. Starting her career as the organization’s Director of Education, BenAvram developed leadership values and strategies that would best support the board’s goals and motivate a high performing team. Moving into the CEO role, she applied years of thought and study to develop a strategic plan and an “outside the box” staffing model.

Open Communication

As CEO, BenAvram wants “imagery around culture and values all of the time.” Unlike many organizational charts with tiered or complex structures, they employ a “staff circle model.” The approach looks to achieve excellence focused on high engagement and high quality performance.

Balanced Revenue

With a staff that has grown to 20, A.S.P.E.N has a healthy mix of revenue almost evenly divided across membership, their annual meeting, and peer review journals. Serving a diverse constituency of medical professionals ranging from Pediatric Surgeons to Endocrinologists, they utilize data and feedback to stay connected to their members and their mission.

Organizational Culture and Mission Drives 66% Growth

Regardless of debates on traditional and nontraditional management structures, one thing is clear: A business model minus silos can stimulate innovation and collaboration, mobilize board leaders, and energize staff performance to exceed expectations.

Staff leaders acknowledge that the second wave of innovation and growth is even more challenging to achieve. Undaunted, CEO BenAvram and her team are more confident because they already understand Peter Drucker’s axiom “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Why? $2 million growth is a reflection of just how important culture is to engaging and satisfying members.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

organizational culture and mission

 

Can Silos Stunt Association Revenue Growth?

Association Revenue GrowthCan Silos Stunt Association Revenue Growth? “We’ve met the enemy head on and it is us.” Is this true? Absolutely, yes.  Silos at Associations can do more harm than good. Why?  Although a well defined organizational structure is effective in defining roles and responsibilities, they at times erect unnecessary walls and can create a fiefdom.

Beware of the Silo Effect

The symptoms are easily recognizable. If Senior Managers consistently debate boundaries, direct reports challenge colleagues and managers to “stay out of their portfolios” then your Association is seeing some of the silo effect. Regardless of the motivation it’s harmful to your bottom line. In time, Association morale and focus is diminished along with focus on members and revenue growth.

Can the silo effect be avoided or changed? Yes!

3 Steps to Motivate Association Revenue Growth

Regardless of the time of year, CEOs can alter their Association’s trajectory and focus. Implementing these three steps can help increase member satisfaction, elevate retention, drive member growth and deliver sponsorship and conference attendance increases. Really? Increasing your market satisfaction and execution in a highly competitive environment can’t help but up your game:

  1. Reward and reinforce and team results.  Recognize staff publicly, be specific, share how collaboration achieved renewals, new members, sponsors, conference attendance growth.
  2. Shared Performance objectives. All job descriptions and performance objectives should carry the same message. Everyone helps everyone else satisfy the marketplace and grow revenue.
  3. No one more is important than other team members.  Setting and reinforcing this practice is powerful. One diva impedes progress where an entire team working together can overcome anything. Coach Norman Dale, the iconic basketball Coach from the movie says it best” Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit team team, team, no one more important than the other.”

Can Silos Stunt Association Revenue Growth? 

An Association recovering from its worst revenue performance ever implemented all three of these steps the following year. They achieved dramatic improvements in total revenue, new member growth, retention and exceeded their net growth objectives.

At a time when Associations need collaboration and accelerated market focus, staff silos blur the external vision necessary to satisfy members and achieve revenue growth objectives. Removing the silos and creating a culture of collaboration will up your Association’s game. Actually, it just might have your team coming from behind and winning just like the Hickory Huskers.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

 

10 Keys Remove Association Culture Change Mystery

10 Keys Remove Association Culture Change Mystery

Association Culture change has long been the stuff of hocus pocus and black magic. Many people talk about it, but it seems difficult to find real success stories because the levers of success are less than obvious.

What is known is that a direct assault on Association culture doesn’t work; you don’t alter behavior by publishing new values and running workshops on the new expected behaviors. It’s been tried and it never works.

Association Culture

Association Culture is not the result of new talk. Association Cultural change is the result of new actions, routines, roles, and expectations for specific and defined actions. The structures and processes of an organization’s management system is what shapes these factors more than anything else, and so when the management system is changed, the culture changes. This assumes the leaders of the organization are serious about the changes they are making, and work hard to be models of the new ways.

Here are 10 things to remember as you think about Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed:

1. Culture is the great lever of Association change

2. Culture determines if a given change will be accepted or rejected

3. Today’s economic world demands Associations move quickly

4. The speed of an Association is governed by the speed of decision making

5. Your management system defines your decision making strategy and quality

6. A culture that moves decisions to where the knowledge is greatest, which is the front line, will make the fastest and best decisions

7. To set people up for success in their decision making, management has a lot of work to do in advance

8. Leaders have to accept that change is now the constant, and the only way to keep people is to let go of centralized control

9. Culture change is much more readily accepted when people gain control not lose it

10. More than any other thing, changing the management system causes the biggest shift in Association culture

10 Keys Remove Association Culture Change Mystery

Association culture

John. M Bernard, Chairman & Founder, Mass Ingenuity

One of the biggest surprises for me in learning about organization development has been understanding the relationship between the complex nature of human beings, and the work they do. What I have learned is that mechanical things such a strong, healthy, and structured business reviews can have profound impact on cultural components such as human beliefs, behaviors, and trust.

The better we understand the interplay between structured management processes and human behavior, the more control we have in shaping Association culture.

Association Culture does not have to be the accident accumulation of unspoken norms and behaviors. It can and should be intentional.

Thanks for joining me in this series on Association culture.

Managing Teams Through Crisis

managing teams through crisis

Managing Teams Through Crisis

Every leader, whether it is in the Association world or any other work arena, must deal with their own version of “chin music.” Even Mike Tyson is right that “Everybody’s got plans, until they get hit.” Unexpected surprises come out of nowhere and sometimes even worse than expected circumstances land in the leader’s lap. Since Management and Board Members expect results, leaders know they must swing into action and get the job done.

Good leaders can find the pot of gold, even when there is no rainbow. New York Yankee Manager Joe Girardi for instance, looked to the 2013 season with optimism. Why shouldn’t he?  A storied franchise with star power and a $200 million plus payroll helped him field a powerful team. Then thirteen players suffered injuries and landed on the disabled list. What many viewed as a nightmare scenario is instead an interesting case study on managing effectively, despite crisis.

With most of his team out for the foreseeable future, Girardi and the Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman collaborated on fielding a team of some veterans and many replacements. Fans who expected a team collapse and even Yankee haters might be scratching their heads. At least for now, the 2013 Yankees sit atop the American League’s highly competitive Eastern Division.

Rise Above It

The tough situations can define the most effective leaders. Joe Girardi’s leadership reminds executives that while a field of play can’t be changed, it can be managed.  For Girardi and Managers in general, building on a solid foundation of trust is a sure winner.

6 Ways Managers Can Thrive During a Crisis

  1. Apply Constant Optimism – Pessimism is “poison for the soul.” Identify the opportunity for someone to step up and make great things happen.
  2. Offer Sincere Praise – Be specific, recognize what a team member achieved. It elevates morale and motivates others to step up and lead too.
  3. Preparation Really Matters – In tough situations, spend extra time developing strategies and options. Know the team’s capabilities, and how they fit into any given scenario.
  4. Consistency Plays Well –  Leaders should be who they are in good times and bad times. Consistency displays reliability and it reinforces trust with the team.
  5. Clear Vision – Leaders must identify the path and deliver. Collaborate with superiors, mentors      and colleagues as they could provide an idea a leader had not thought of.
  6. The Golden Rule – Successful Leaders almost always had great Managers and Coaches. Many remember how words of encouragement and coaching sessions lifted morale. Lifting people up works. Leaders who take credit and blame others decimate morale and performance.

Managing Teams Through Crisis

With more than one half of the Major League Baseball Season yet to be played, it’s tough to know how the New York Yankees will finish the season.  What’s been accomplished thus far is a teachable moment for Managers. Even the toughest of challenges can be overcome. Using similar approaches, one Association executive, after losing a top sales performer, turned their year end into a success from almost certain failure.

Do optimism, praise, preparation, consistency, clear vision and the golden rule by themselves assure success? No, but they offer a solid framework for any Manager to utilize when the worst happens. “It ain’t over till it’s over” said Yogi Berra, and now with 6 strategies built on a foundation of trust, leaders could have the capacity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

managing teams through crisis

Changing Your Association Management Changes Your Culture

This is the ninth in a series on Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

Changing Your Association Management Changes Your Culture

 As you likely know, the concept of “management as a system” is not commonly talked about even among experienced Association leaders and academics. However, if you understand that a process is a collection of activities that target a specific output, and that a system is a collection of processes that target a larger aggregated output, then buying the concept of a management system isn’t much of a leap.

Why does this matter?

association managementWhen we understand that management itself is in fact a collection of specific processes, it allows us to apply process thinking and tools to the work of management. So, like any other process, the management process can be understood, assessed, measured, and improved.

It took a long time for me to understand the connection between an Association’s  management system and its culture. In fact, I learn something new about that relationship almost every day as I interact with customers and discover things I had not seen.

What is clear is that as an Association moves from an informal management system to an intentional and effective one, such as the Now Management System®, the leaders start to actually gain control over their results. This happens because process improvement is all about transparency (seeing where things are breaking down), accountability (measuring results and making it clear who has the responsibility to fix problems), problem solving (ensuring that process owners know how to fix processes), and the elimination of fear (which creates the safety to risk taking action on the problems).

NOW Management System

While the Now Management System systematically creates clarity, it shifts culture by establishing clear norms of accountability, new routines for transparency, and standard disciplines for solving problems. Our system achieves its maximum return on investment by shifting culture at the heart of these dimensions.

Changing Your Association Management Changes Your Culture

Association Management

John M. Bernard, Founder & Chairman, Mass Ingenuity

Culture is all about patterns, roles, routines, language, and expected behaviors. A good management system addresses every one of those dimensions of organizational functioning. As an example, one of our clients recently held their Quarterly Target Review and reported improvement in 46% of their processes measures quarter over quarter.  This organization has dramatically shifted its culture to one of transparency, accountability, problem solving, and shared success.

All in all, I have never seen anything change culture as effectively and as positively as changing an Association’s management system.

Next week, the final post on this 10-part series on Association culture.

What Accelerates Association Cultural Change?

This is the seventh in a series on Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

What Accelerates Association Cultural Change?

No single leadership factor is a more essential prerequisite to successful change than trust. Every new change raises the underlying question that Association leaders must answer which is “Why?” People who will be impacted by a given change, need and deserve to understand the answer to that question. If trust is not present, much time and energy will be lost trying to figure out the real reason for the cultural shift.

If a change at an Association is well reasoned, it shouldn’t be that hard to explain the why behind it. But the test that determines how quickly the change gets underway is whether or not people believe the answer is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The Association Staff Trust Challenge

Employees may have good reasons not to trust their leaders. The trust challenge you face may have little or nothing to do with you. It may be based upon past experiences either inside or outside your organization.

We humans are often skeptical, and life sometimes has a way of giving us good reason to be so. So, as a leader you have to talk straight. Then, we have to demonstrate the truth through our actions.

The Why Opportunity

Cultural ChangeEven if the reason for change is delicate, leaders who want their culture to change cannot ignore the reason for change. People will trust leaders who explain why the organization needs to get its costs down in order to stay competitive, or the fact that the budget is not growing as fast as the demand for services requiring cost control.

What Accelerates Association Cultural Change?

Our people need and deserve the truth, and in my experience they’ll support the change if they understand it is the right and/or necessary thing to do.

With the truth on the table, people will likely find the change is for the better. And if it’s better, acceptance will help it move faster.

Next week I’ll explore the question, “What does it take to create a culture that actively supports Association change?”

What’s Culture’s Affect on Association Change?

This is the sixth in a series on organizational culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

 What’s Culture’s Affect on Association Change?

As a leader setting out to sponsor change, it is important to understand what that change will bump into in the Association’s culture. The more conscious the potential collisions are made, the more they can be avoided.

Professor Edgar Schein, a former MIT professor, identified 10 factors that transmit and embed culture. They are:

Formal statements of organizational philosophy (mission, values, imperatives, goals, etc.).

Design for physical spaces.

Deliberate role modeling, teaching, and coaching by leaders.

Explicit reward and status system, and promotion criteria.

Stories, legends, myths and parables about key people and events.

What leaders pay attention to, measure, and control.

Leader reactions to critical incidents or organizational crisis.

Organization design and structure.

Organizational systems and procedures (such as its management system).

Criteria used for recruitment, selection, and promotion.

Association Leaders

As a leader, this checklist is useful in assessing the gap between where the Association is, how it got there, and where it wants to go. By walking through these potential collisions, an Association leader can significantly improve the odds of success.What’s important in these assessments and subsequent communications about them is to not cast judgment on the past. The past just is what it is – we can never understand the motives of people nor fully appreciate the circumstance in which things happened. If we offer criticism we set a judgmental tone – even condemnation. That approach does nothing to increase the sense that the coming change will be safe to embrace and that related struggles will not be subject to the same criticism.

What’s culture’s affect on Association change?

Association ChangeAs we work with customers on the Now Management System® we directly and overtly address items 1, 3, 6, and 9. But we encourage, advise and support addressing every single item in order to ensure their culture change sticks and that it delivers the business results that led to the desired change in the first place.

What are the attributes that allow an Association to make changes quickly? I’ll share some thoughts on that next week.

 

 

What creates a willingness for Association culture change?

This is the fifth in a series on Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

by John M. Bernard

What creates a willingness for Association culture change? So much has been written about change management. However, during my 30+ years doing this work I have discovered the primary lever to successful change, especially cultural change. Understanding that lever doesn’t mean Association culture change comes easily, but it does significantly increase the chance of success.

The primary lever to successful Association culture change is that the change makes sense to people.

In my experience, the reason our Association management system drives culture change is not mysterious.  In fact, the management system works because the underlying premise rings true in people’s heads and hearts.

What is is true about the Association management system are the following beliefs:

  • Every human being has gifts, interests, and passions
  • Every employee wants to be in service to some effort or cause bigger than themselves
  • Leaders must respect what people have to offer and effectively put it to work to create winning organizations

This set of beliefs — in the value of each and every human being — is what breathes energy and excitement into the Associations that choose to work with us.

Change They Believe In

Association CultureAs you look at Association culture change, understanding that people will embrace change they believe in, establishes the test for the success of any change effort.

Once people understand that their Association leaders authentically share in beliefs such as those mentioned above — and genuinely want to bring them to life — they cannot help but respond supportively.

Change is never easy, but it is much easier when it is good and when it is right.

What creates a willingness for Association culture change?

I’ll close with one thought, one that has become very clear to me as Mass Ingenuity grows. We as a company have to be diligent about preserving our foundational beliefs in the inherent good of people. As we grow, this is sacred ground for us, ground which we must protect because it is the foundation of our success.

Next week I’ll share some thinking on the ways on organization’s culture can hamper change.

Can Association cultures change quickly?

This is the fourth in a series on Association culture, its role, how it is shaped, and how it can be changed.

Can Association cultures change quickly?

Association Culture is changed when expectations and roles are changed. This is especially applicable to the role decision-making plays in a culture.

association culturesFor example, if a team is having problems meeting expected work output, and an employee has an idea for how to solve that problem, in a hierarchical culture the team would not be able to make any changes without discussing it with their manager first. And their manager may need to discuss it with her manager. This cultural norm significantly slows down decisions and hampers (if not prevents) solving the problem even when viable solutions exist.

When you slow down decision making an unintended consequence is that you reduce the number of decisions that are made.

If we want to better meet members’ unique needs, we need to alter processes, roles and routines and move decision-making down. In fact, to do this we must alter aspects of our Association’s management system. A management system is an Association’s underlying approach to setting priorities, communicating expectations, monitoring performance, and making adjustments to resources to achieve outcomes. The Association’s management system communicates beliefs and defines expected behaviors — and when we alter those two things we redefine important cultural dimensions.

Association Management System

Every Association has a management system, even if it does not call it that. So whether the system is loosely structured or completely unconscious, a management system communicates culture through the expectations it sets (or does not set) and the behaviors it expects (or does not expect).

Most experts agree that you cannot change culture by simply declaring a new set of behaviors or values as the new norm. Instead, my experience has been that the most effective way to change culture is to change the management system. When you do that you change the routines and the roles. That shift then creates a shift in what’s normal, and that begins shaping new cultural norms. All this, of course, takes time.

Now Management System

One of the best methods for changing expectations through the Now Management System® is created by effectively designed and well-run quarterly business reviews. For example, when measures are in place for a team, and those measures are in “red” or “yellow” at the time of the business review, the team is then expected to report on their progress in using our 7-Step Problem Solving process (or whatever process improvement methodology the Association has selected) to turn that measure to “green.” This quarterly business review routine communicates clear ownership of the problem, the expectation of transparent and focused action, and use of the organization’s methodology for improvement.

Bottom line is that these business reviews create a new pattern of behavior, and that behavior will alter cultural norms as it redefines processes, routines, and roles.

Can resetting expectations and changing culture be done quickly?  Of course it takes time and focus to build the system, create sustainable new routines, and teach people their new roles and behaviors, especially regarding problem solving and decision-making. However, in our experience there are certain techniques and best practices that speed the process of cultural change and move decision-making down to the front line.

Can Association cultures change quickly?

“You can see the culture shifting from one quarterly review to the next,” is a sentiment we often hear from leaders. “Our people are learning it’s safe to show that there are problems.”

Coming Up Next: What creates a willingness for culture change at Associations? Next week I’ll share some thinking I have been doing on that topic.