Lunchtime Links: Bold Thoughts on Association Leadership

From shaking up the board to loosening up the management structure, association bloggers offer tips on changing things up.

Do the clothes make the man (or woman)? Or is it what they do on the job? And who says your members have to pay, anyway?

As long as employees know when certain types of attire are most appropriate … it shouldn’t matter what they wear.

Some thoughts on assocaition leadership from the blogosphere:

  • Make employees feel comfortable: Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt is against dress codes, saying it’s not what you wear that makes you a good employee but what you do. “As long as employees know when certain types of attire are most appropriate (e.g., when speaking at conferences or representing the organization at meetings), it shouldn’t matter what they wear.”
  • Go freemium? Steve Drake of SCD Group points out how the Small Business Association of Michigan increased its membership by using a freemium business model, offering its “low-value” services to a larger group of people. While the ROI numbers have gone down a little bit, the association has increased its clout by tripling its membership from 5,000 to 15,000 in just four years — and has thought deeply about how to monetize its larger member count.
  • What’s up with the board? Spark Consulting’s Elizabeth Weaver Engel bounces off an idea she had during ASAE 2012 and asks why we have boards, which are at times ineffective. “We, as association professionals, do a poor job of properly training and preparing them for board service, and then setting and enforcing boundaries. It’s no wonder they have a tendency to run wild.” She notes, however, that nearly all associations are legally required to have a board — though they at times get out of hand. So, what’s the alternative?
  • Focus on engagement: Consultant Jamie Notter follows up on a study he covered the other day (we mentioned it here) and says leaders need to focus on humans to help build their associations. “Our organizations are failing because they are designed, at their core, to value mechanical efficiency over human purpose, and we have crossed the tipping-point line where the costs of that approach are outstripping the benefits.”
  • Keep your management structure lean: Idea Architects’ Jeffrey Cufaude pitches the idea of a minimally viable structure, “the highly limited boundaries needed to get a group of people in action.” He says additional structures should be added only when needed.

How do you keep your leadership style dynamic?

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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