Lunchtime Links: A Management Structure Without Managers

Management lessons from a Twitter cofounder and his latest endeavor, Medium. Also: what not to do when planning your next association event.

Would your association ever consider a management structure that had no managers? How such a system could encourage your staff to work harder.

That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Who’s the boss? As one of the cofounders of Obvious Corporation, the experimental Internet R&D shop that brought the world Twitter, Ev Williams is known for his penchant for radical innovation. But Williams’ creativity extends beyond social communication on the Web. As Obvious churns out its next venture, Medium, a new digital publishing platform, Williams and his band of computer whizzes is experimenting with an entirely new corporate management structure. Dubbed Holacracy, startup funders First Round Capital describe the approach as a company without managers “that’s laser focused on getting things done.” It is yet another radical idea from Williams. And while your association probably won’t consider cutting out managers entirely, First Round assures us “companies don’t have to go all-in on Holacracy to reap the benefits.” Obvious Corp. compatriot Jason Stirman suggests changes your organization can realistically make to improve camaraderie and relieve stress in the workplace: show an interest in your coworkers’ personal lives; be open and honest about what’s going on within the organization; and get different people within your organization together in a room talking, regardless of their place in the management pecking order. What can your association do to shake things up?

What not to do: Your annual meeting is coming up. And your association’s to-do list is predictably a mile long. But are all those tasks on your checklist truly going to add to the conference experience? Writing for the Event Manager Blog, veteran meeting planner Jill Stone offers six “to-don’ts” when planning your next association event. For starters, take a hard look at your speaker list, Stone says. Forget cheesy music and inspirational phrases. Go for “fresh and concise.” Think about your attendees’ needs. Don’t forget to install charging stations, so they can plug in and power up. Also, “[d]on’t forget where you are,” she says. Be sure to incorporate local flavor from the town or city that’s playing host to your event. Other suggestions: don’t forget to offer plenty of networking opportunities; cut down on the amount of paper you use by looking for digital alternatives; and, whatever you do, please put some thought into your door prizes. “Don’t offer giveaways that will just end up in a drawer or, worse, the trash,” Stone says. “Make sure your swag fits your theme and event.”

Time to innovate: As an association leader, you’re always looking for that next big thing that will help your organization achieve its mission. But innovation is an art form. And getting to the future sometimes requires looking into your past. In a recent post, SocialFish blogger Maddie Grant recounts nine time-tested tips for innovation from famed entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki. Among his suggestions: “Jump to the next curve,” “Don’t worry, be crappy,” and “Churn baby, churn.” What do those mean? Read on for a full explanation.

What are you reading today? Tell us in the comments.


Corey Murray

By Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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