Tim Hopkins, a senior consultant at McKinley Advisors, builds empathy and understanding by making time for conversation.
Know your staff. Knowing the names and skills of everyone inside your organization goes a long way. Make it a priority to schedule regular in-person or virtual conversations with staff at all levels to build rapport and trust and gain a better understanding of the people you can rely on when needed most. Doing this is also a great way to identify mentorship opportunities for up-and-coming leaders of your organization.
Visit with members. It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day business and lose perspective on the member experience out there in the field. Make time to connect directly with members where they work to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges they face. If visiting in-person is difficult, arrange a virtual tour or video call. This can be useful for anyone in an association, from those building digital experiences to those handling customer service.
Participate in board meetings. It’s important to hear directly from board volunteers representing members’ interests as they set out the association’s organizational direction. This perspective may better inform the products and services you deliver. In addition, offering an opportunity to attend or listen in to a board meeting is a great way to introduce next-generation staff members who want to one day become leaders.