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.

 

 

Association Member Engagement Mountain

Association Member Engagement Mountain

 For Associations, one of the most important and critical challenges facing them is Member Engagement. CEO’s and Senior Managers agree, the more the company is engaged the better the chance of member renewal. However, weak member participation, sinking retention, falling conference attendance and sponsor revenues are symptoms of a bigger and potentially dangerous challenge.  The Association’s Member Engagement Strategy may require a deep dive by CEOs and the Management team.

It’s important that in this day and age that Associations not “leave well enough alone.” The Stay or Go Imperative could impact an Association’s financial health and well being. If membership is a distraction instead of ROI, Corporations vote with their feet and instead invest in a different solution.

Yes,  Corporations have smaller corporate staff, in some instances one executive may wear multiple hats. However, if this executive makes the dues decision, then a strategy or a change is  necessary.

Read the Tea Leaves

Companies look for the connection to business objectives as part of their membership evaluation process. If these connections don’t exist, it’s difficult for any Association to execute an effective strategy to engage members. Metrics are like tea leaves they both paint a picture and they tell a story.

If Associations observe that conference attendance is equal or less to prior years, educational meetings and fly-in attendance is significantly lower, and member retention is down for three consecutive years,  it is time for an intervention. The marketplace could also signal one or more of the following: 

  • Negative view of the culture and overall effectiveness of an Association.
  • The Association is perceived as not being as impactful in educational, policy or advocacy programs.
  • Other solutions including coalitions, conference providers or other Association programs deliver greater value.

Never Hit The Panic Button

Associations should embrace the challenge and convert the situation into a strategic opportunity. When diagnosing, member participation and revenue fall-off rebuild the path to engagement: one company at a time, obtain clarity on business and policy objectives, and understand what members really must achieve from participation achieve.

CEO’s can keep in mind that success and failure are never final, the road forward offers hope, and a more definitive path to member engagement.

Develop Data Driven Strategies

Associations need to build a data set to help them understand why participation and revenues have fallen.  However, it’s key to put heavier weight on relationships; in a complex world the human connection matters. One member at a time, collect the following information:

  • Is the Association perceived as staff or member driven?
  • Does participation help executives achieve company business objectives?
  • Why do executives participate in other Associations or Coalitions?
  • How important is networking?
  • Would Social Media engagement on platforms such as LinkedIn reflect an attractive alternative?
  • Are educational and or certification programs relevant to career advancement?

While Associations may develop additional or different questions, these open the door to constructive dialogue with disengaged members. Tally the responses, create internal task forces of senior managers and key staff, develop solutions and new strategies, assign performance metrics and then execute.

Association Member Engagement Mountain

For Association CEO’s who have or who are looking into the abyss, there is light at the end of the tunnel. An Association Executive confronting the worst dues loss in decades once reported record gains in member participation, advocacy effectiveness and revenue growth. Stepping back, building an Association wide member focus with data driven strategies proved to be a year long process worthy of the effort. Yes, the participation, retention and growth outcomes were record highs but the data really reflected stronger member connectivity.

Climbing the Member Engagement Mountain is vital and necessary for every Association. It can also be the determining strategy helping Associations achieve revenue growth.

member engagementFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

 

Should Associations Revisit Sponsorship? Maybe.

Should Associations Revisit Sponsorship? Maybe

 Although U.S. reports 3% GDP growth in the first quarter, financial news out of Europe is not encouraging. Companies especially maintain a watchful and wary eye on expenditures. Some Associations report single digit revenue growth, others show no year over year increase. Yes, Associations are facing stiff headwinds as they aggressively secure existing revenue, and, work diligently to grow new revenue. Before the great Recession Sponsor Revenue was more reliable, but not anymore. It makes sense for CEO’s to revisit the strategy and definition of Sponsor programs.

Sponsors similar to members and prospects face smaller corporate budgets and immense pressure to deliver ROI.   However, there is one key factor Associations need to be mindful of; In hard times membership and sponsorship both are on the chopping block. There is a way to reposition and strengthen Associations to drive renewals and new members. The good news? There is an innovative way to reposition and grow Association Sponsor revenues too!

Strategic Review of Sponsor Programs

One Association Executive recently bemoaned, “Sponsor revenues aren’t nearly what they once were and we’re losing money.” Clearly a time to reassess the strategy and be prospective.

The three step Assessment model works as effectively for Sponsors as it does for renewals and new member recruitment:

Data Driven Strategies. What were sponsor revenues from 2006 through 2008?  What were sponsor revenues 2009 through 2011? Which companies participated pre recession and which no longer participate? What changed in the Company Sponsor evaluation process pre and post recession? What are the Sponsor’s business objectives post recession versus pre recession? Does your Association work with a C Level Executive or are you working with the Marketing Department?  What program or attendance dynamics at your Association events changed pre and post recession? What are your Association’s competitors doing differently now versus pre- recession?  Does your Association utilize post event Sponsor Surveys?  If so,  what are the takeaways? In meeting with CEO or C Level executives, what message do they convey?

Core Connections. All of the Data will inform Associations and uncover opportunities including the need to build allies in the C Suite of Sponsors as much as you do members and prospects.  In addition, Associations could realize that Sponsors are most interested in being partners and supporting an industry key to their business success.  This is the NEW Core Connection and requires a new strategy; instead of the Sponsor Program, Associations reposition to a Corporate Partner Program. This is a transition allowing these companies to fully partner with your Association.

Corporate Partner Engagement. As Corporate Partners, C Level executives will be able to interact on equal footing. Associations may consider creating a Corporate Partner Advisory Council and provide these investors a seat at the table.  If they perceive an ability to impact the direction of the Association and they perceive a welcoming community, the strategic transition is complete. Sponsors are a thing of the past, Corporate Partners achieve the same status as members, they are part of the fabric of the larger Community.

Should Associations Revisit Sponsorship?  Maybe.

It was an “ah ha” moment for one Association. Suffering considerable sponsor revenue losses, the staff engaged Sponsors directly. What was learned? The Sponsor wanted a strong industry but indicated that one of the first cuts is in the Sponsor area. Consequently it was the Sponsor who   helped the Association see a new path. This particular Association drives over $1 million annually in Corporate Partner Revenues.

In a booming economy Sponsor revenue was more reliable, but that is no longer the reality.  Uncertain times require a new look at how Association’s drive revenues. Although some argue that hard work is the best growth strategy, working smarter could hold the key to a brighter future.  In this instance, a strategic shift to a Corporate Partner program is the smarter strategy to grow and maintain an important Association revenue stream.

revisit sponsorshipFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

 

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.

Association Assessments: Critical for New CEO

 Association Assessments: Critical for New CEO

 On their first day, new Association CEO’s realize they are months away from making final decisions or presenting recommendations to their Board of Directors. Most of what they need to get their arms around is identified in a thorough Association wide assessment. It’s a challenging and critical task.  Done well, the new Leader can establish firm footing with their stakeholders, and launch their Association on a path of satisfaction and unheralded revenue and membership growth.

CEO’s who worked through this experience understand this process can be either a game maker or a game breaker. There is ample evidence supporting the connection between record performance and a well executed Assessment process.

Know What You Don’t Know

In any transition the Board of Directors expects a complete review of the Association. Consequently the new CEO should be prepared to aggressively pursue a thorough Assessment as much as they did their job. Some call the process ripping the bark off the tree while others view this initiative as peeling back the layers of an onion.

Utilizing the three step process, Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement process, new CEO’s can inventory key gaps and include these and recommendations in a board presentation. It’s important to engage the staff team as much as possible throughout the process. Transitions by nature are disruptive; involving staff does help maintain good morale.

1. Data Driven Strategies – Measure the actual impact the association has in real time, and take extra steps to obtain business intelligence. Soon enough it will help align the association’s strategies to member’s “pain point” issues.

Action Steps:  Confirm veracity of the Association’s financial standing including cash flow and cash balances. Confer with the Auditors, review at least three years’ worth of audits. Conduct a market competitiveness assessment, define member pain points, review existing contracts, and confirm there are no pending or threatened or legal action against the Association. Become familiar with governance issues as quickly as possible.

2. Core Connections Determine to what extent the Association is positioned to help member companies achieve their business objectives.

Action Steps: Review staffing structure, annual budget, advocacy agenda, products and services, website, social media strategy, position descriptions and performance objectives. These all must mirror “pain point” issues, those that don’t can be included in a board action plan.

3. Member Engagement –  A new CEO must identify whether or not member company executives view participation as impactful. Why? Securing the member revenue base is critical, steps must be taken to understand if members feel engaged with their Association.

Action Steps:  Review participation data at all programs and conferences from all member companies.  Large Trade Associations should assess participation from their largest dues paying members. The data may reveal significant gaps that must be addressed.

Association Assessments: Critical for New CEO

With a completed Assessment, new CEO’s are prepared to share recommendations with their Board of Directors for feedback and approval. Board leaders appreciate the candor. A forward looking vision that engages members, achieves member satisfaction, and delivers durable revenue growth is a win for the new Chief Executive.

While the temptation to take more immediate action is tempting, a thorough assessment will help new Executives build growth focused Association (see blog post http://bit.ly/17838wi). The process may take three to six months to complete, CEO’s will not regret time and effort  invested. It’s better to “identify the good, the bad and the ugly up front” says Paul T. Stalknecht, President and CEO, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).

Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC) CEO Steve Renna completed an exhaustive assessment process. Experiencing double digit revenue growth and growing conference attendance confirms how important it is for a new CEO to learn as much as possible before moving forward(see blog post http://bit.ly/117oxC3).

New CEO’s please note: In an era of ongoing uncertainty, top to bottom assessments of can position you and your Association for revenue and membership growth.

association assessmentsFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

 

Seeds of Association Growth Inside Strategic Plan

Seeds of Association Growth Inside Strategic Plan

 Association Executives can rely on their Strategic Plans to direct strategy, staffing and budget investment year over year. The document is developed on a foundation of data driven strategies, core connections and member engagement. Taken together these elements can assist Association’s achieve their mission, satisfy members and sponsors and attract non members to join. While there may be no certain way to success, the Strategic Plan is a likely starting point.

Governance

Based on recent history, CEO’s experience greater boardroom participation than ever. The great recession compelled Board members and leaders to play an increasing role as fiduciaries. For CEO’s this can be welcome news, after all Board Leaders want to solve problems and they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever possible to help their Associations achieve success.

It’s a perfect time to join forces, collaborate and achieve the win-win that makes an Association durable, relevant and successful.

Seeds of Association Growth

CEO’s can develop a performance dashboard, match it with the strategic plan and develop a priority list of possible solutions to engage the Board of Directors. This level of transparency will breed trust and display the level of leadership they expect in uncertain times.

Understandably Strategic Plans in a number of cases are out of date, this creates an even bigger opportunity:

Data Driven Strategies – Survey the membership, include non members and sponsors. Organize an internal marketing committee and conduct a competitive intelligence exercise. Develop themes and match them with current strategies and investments.

Core Connections – The updated dataset will help Associations reconnect or establish an even closer connection with their members business objectives.

Member Engagement – Data and participation metrics could either reassure Associations or cause them to transform their culture once again. Members want to know they are having impact on policy direction, otherwise they invest their time somewhere else.

Throughout this effort Associations are planting the seeds of growth, because data driven strategies, core connections and member engagement are key to member satisfaction and long term revenue growth.

Make Revenue Growth Possible

CEO’s can now deliver to their Board an action plan based on actionable data and member business concerns. They’ll know they had a hand in repositioning their Association. By all means suggest quarterly progress updates, reinforce the partnership achieved in the process to keep them engaged.

It’s now a good time to ask for their help, however the request should focus on Pain Point Initiatives identified in the Strategic Planning Process:

Deploy member recruitment campaigns – Your requests must reflect the Association’s policy agenda and require just a few minutes of the Board Member’s time. Show how the new revenue helps the Association achieve objectives outlined in the updated Strategic Plan.

Invite participation on at-risk member strategies – As Board participants they know the value provided to members and can be very helpful.

In these and other cases where you engage the Board, express appreciation and report the outcome. Tally the successes and then acknowledge the individuals who were helpful.

Seeds of Association Growth Inside Strategic Plan  

One CEO utilized this approach to realize a new revenue stream and grow membership. In another case a CEO doubled sponsor sales. Planting the seeds of Association growth in ground fertilized with data driven strategies, core connections and member engagement works.

It’s useful to leverage every approach available to drive member and sponsor satisfaction while Association’s achieve revenue growth. While boards hold CEO’s accountable, Board and CEO success or failure are inextricably linked. In baseball terms we know this approach “as stepping into the pitch.” Today CEO’s should step up to the plate and swing away.

strategic plan Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

 

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.

CEO Doubles Association Membership

CEO Doubles Association Membership

While the road to success differs from one Association to another Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement are critical to success. How these are applied are a different story. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) led by Paul T. Stalknecht, President and CEO, www.acca.org, are entrepreneurs and a mirror image of their members. Member focus and risk taking swelled their membership ranks from 2,000 to almost 4,000. The story doesn’t end there either as ACCA revenues have growth by some 272% during Stalknecht’s twelve year tenure.

Building a Foundation

Similar to many new CEO’s, Stalknecht conducted an extensive due diligence process. Upon his arrival he actively and aggressively asked key questions to learn as much as possible, separating the information into three distinct categories: Administrative issues, Membership marketing and Governance.  Over an intensive six month process, he spoke with staff, members and his board to gain a full understanding of all of the issues facing the Association.

Stalknecht assimilated all of the information into a power point document. The extensive report outlined areas of concern and clear action steps that ACCA should take in order to move the Association forward. Receiving Board support, he built a foundation which delivered almost 10 consecutive years of profitability.

Entrepreneurial Culture

Throughout the conversation, it’s easy for an observer to note Stalknecht’s self awareness. Openly he acknowledges his weaknesses before his strengths. However, he demonstrates how an effective leader leverages his skill gaps as opportunities to recruit high performing executives to help him build a high performing Association.

His passion about hiring the best people available would over time prove to be one of two game changing decisions for ACCA. Interestingly enough, the three Senior Vice President’s he hired from the beginning of his CEO service are still on staff at the Association.

Mickey Mantle Approach

Regardless of Baseball Team allegiance, what is compelling is how Stalknecht encourages risk taking. With margins of error narrow, he encourages his team to use a data driven strategies and feedback mechanisms to pursue new product or service ideas for the membership. The explosive revenue growth shows how taking a good hard swing at the pitch could pay off in the long run.

Core Connections

Core Connections means Associations position themselves as strategic partners helping member, prospect and sponsor companies achieve their business objectives. That is especially the case at ACCA. Their revenue streams, staff structure and capability are all connected to helping their market place achieve its business objectives. An integral part of this Association’s culture is listening.

Mapping to Core Connections

With annual revenues approaching $7 million, ACCA delivers income from three areas: Membership dues, Products and Training and their Meetings and Corporate Partner Program. Sitting atop of a diverse revenue streams is both necessary and advantageous. The membership, comprised of small company entrepreneurs, experienced considerable turnover which impacts the Association’s retention.  Recognizing this early on, Stalknecht and his team made key adjustments.

Game Changers

Prior to his arrival at ACCA Stalknecht observed the lack of a full time research and engineering staff. Building a highly skilled team the Association delivers leading standards and certification in printed materials and online training programs for the entire HVAC industry. Approximately one third of revenues emanate from their educational training and products area.

A critical shift during the great recession turned out to the “grand slam” ACCA needed. A Sponsorship program was newly defined as a Corporate Partner program. Companies now had an opportunity to invest in ACCA’s groundbreaking education and training programs and it’s advocacy mission. Company ROI is now realized all year long and at the annual convention. What was once a revenue stream of $140,000 well surpasses $1 million.

Tracking and Accountability

Stalknecht  emphasizes the importance of accountability and measuring  progress. Each day he views a cash flow report and profit and loss performance to make sure bottom line performance is meeting or exceeding his high expectations.

CEO Doubles Association Membership

Data Driven Strategies, Core Connections and Member Engagement are all part of CEO Paul Stalknecht’s leadership toolbox. What matters most to Stalknecht and his team is delivering the best possible ROI to his members and the HVAC community. Few would question a Team of entrepreneurs whose Manager applauds his team as they circle the bases year after year.

doubles association membership

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

 

Member Engagement and Culture Grow Association Revenues

Member Engagement and Culture Grow Association Revenues

 The key to consistent retention and revenue growth performance is engagement.  However the path to engagement is only achieved when Associations have the right culture. Taken together, member engagement and Association culture hold the key to revenue growth.

Yes, member engagement reassures CEO’s and Senior Managers that their value proposition is strong. At the same time, members need to see that their participation matters, that they will be heard and that their membership and sponsorship is more than an annual payment. Associations require the right culture, the best possible dynamic to consistently attract members and sponsors to policy committee meetings and annual conferences.

Unlocking the Path for Associations

Although Core Connections are crucial to Association growth, in and of themselves they are not enough. Maintaining member interest and attracting new members and sponsors has as much to do with engagement and culture as it does anything else.

As you’re reading this post, odds are this is likely one of hundreds of posts, tweets and e mail messages you view during a given workday.  In a connected global economy racing to achieve quarterly and annual earnings objectives is the norm. Certainly executives are under stress yet they need solutions. What becomes most important is setting the stage so executives see Associations as the critical solution.

Associations as a Third place between Work and Home

Many consumers enjoy that large Venti Starbucks cup of coffee to start the day. How many other stores in the U.S. or overseas have we seen or heard have the same long lines? It’s not just the morning rush either; during the day the tables are full, people are working away on their computers and friends and neighbors are catching up on their lives. In the evening people will meet and wind down, recap their day, have a treat, prepare for tomorrow.

The key to success for Starbucks? Making their stores a third place between work and home remains Howard Schultz’s passion. As Chairman, CEO and Founder of a global enterprise he created a sense of community, a place where people could go to establish that human connection. The Starbucks enterprise, despite fierce competition, remains a mainstay because their stores are a third place between work and home.

The Starbucks example is powerful yet simple. It starts with a cup of coffee but it is the human connection and sense of community that can make an Association a third place between work and home.

Member Engagement and Culture Grow Association Revenues

Recent posts on the Potomac Core Blog reflect innovation and double digit revenue growth at several Associations. Interestingly enough, member engagement is off the charts but each culture has the human connection and community focus. Revenue growth never happens on its own. It especially requires a community element with a strong human connection.As we’re thinking through the right strategies, let’s begin member engagement and Association culture. In addition to the dramatic success examples from the Business and Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), there are others that also report similar success. Utilizing this approach, one Association saw annual conference attendance, revenue and sponsor growth double in a two year time frame.

The tactical focus on Pain Points and Core Connections are essential to execute sales and growth strategies. These alone won’t motivate member engagement; a sense of community in a hyper competitive world engages and attracts members, sponsors and prospects. The end results will be sustained and durable revenue growth for Associations.

association revenuesFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com,www.icimo.com,and www.verticalleapconsulting.com.

Why should Association CEO’s worry about their culture?

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

Why should Association CEO’s worry about their culture?

association CEOCEO’s are the primary individuals who can effectively alter culture, and that responsibility can loom large.

In the work we do with our customers, the most common driver of change is the reality that keeping up with today’s fast-paced world isn’t easy. Associations feel the enormous pressure of a now-oriented world. The members of our Associations that want good service and they want it now.

So, the reality of our fast-paced world demands that Associations continually adapt and improve everything they do every day. The key point is that in order to meet the unique needs of today’s members and to ensure a great member experience, Associations need to be much more responsive.

Association CEO’s Support Culture Change

In order to be more responsive to member needs, significantly more decisions need to be quickly made every day. CEO’s can see where this is going: to succeed we need a culture that supports more effective decision makers. This ambitious, yet worthy goal can only occur if CEO’s shape their culture to support the goal.

In practical reality this requires we move real decision-making authority into the hands of those who are doing the work – employees. Of course this does not mean all decisions.  However, the decisions that directly impact the member experience need to be made by the people who are directly accountable for a great member experience.

Huge Association Culture Shift Required

Yet, many Associations, maybe even most, operate from a hierarchical management foundation.  This requires that decisions travel up and then down the chain of command. That takes time, and in this day and age, it takes too much time to enable a great member experience. Therefore, for most Associations, the opportunity to adopt a responsive culture demands a huge shift.

Why should Association CEO’s worry about their culture?

Members’ demand for speed and great service is driving many CEO’s to realize that they must change their culture to prosper. For most Associations the change demanded by our now-oriented world challenges the rock upon which they were built – the shared assumptions about “who decides?”

What makes an Association’s culture shift quickly? Some thoughts on that next week.