If Your Association Disappeared, Would Anyone Notice?

lookingYou invest a ton of resources and personal energy into running your association.

  • When is the last time your leadership team sat down and discussed does your work matter?
  • If your association disappeared, would anyone notice?
  • With the first huff of slight insult, the answer is, “Of course!”

However, after you take a deep breath and start to really talk, you may be surprised what you come up with.

  • In a recent Strategic Fast Chat, a group of volunteers and association execs explored questions around if their association mattered.
  • There were some big ah-ha’s.
  • And a few oh my’s.

What will your leadership team discover when you roll up your sleeves and have an honest conversation?

Check out the mind map of our discussion here.

Who Wants (and Needs) Volunteers?

volunteeringFor years volunteer leaders have told me all they wanted was more volunteers.

  • More volunteers would be the solution to most of their problems.
  • Ease their lives.
  • And help them move their mission forward with ease.

AND more volunteers can also bring their own set of challenges.

  • Some unexpected.
  • And may be more challenging than actually finding the volunteers.

Am I saying new volunteers are bad?

  • Absolutely not.
  • When you are prepared for them they can be a wonderful addition to your chapter.
  • The key is being prepared.

Thus our Strategic Fast Chat focusing on volunteers – who needs (and wants) them?

  • We explored the pros and cons of 25 volunteers showing up ready to go.
  • This mind map is just the start of a conversation.
  • You need to have a full conversation with your own leadership team to maximize your efforts.

Click here to download the mind map we created about volunteers.

Reason #38 Why People Do NOT Serve On Your Board

Do you really wonder why people don’t want to be on your board?

Imagine overhearing the following conversation….

skeleton-womanHe said: You look tired.

She said: I am whipped. Board meeting last night. You know what that’s like.

He said: I remember. Did the meeting go late?

She said: Did it ever! I’m exhausted. I usually try to take the day after board meetings off so I have time to recover.

This one was a doozy! I keep telling myself I’m almost halfway done with the year…

Why on Earth would this conversation:

A. Take place?

(Especially since the person who ran the meeting – and could change the experience – was the one complaining very loudly.)

B. Take place in a PUBLIC place surrounded by potential members and future leaders?

Does this conversation sound familiar to you?

  • If it does, you’ve got some work to do.
  • People don’t want to sign up for painful experiences.

Whether blowing off steam or telling the truth, this conversation should not have happened as it did.

NOTE: Names and places are change to protect the not so innocent.

 

Getting More Strategic with Mind Mapping

YP-Mind-MapFor the last two months, I’ve hosted Strategic Fast Chats.

  • They are 15 minute conversations.
  • Focused on a single pressing issue.
  • My goal was to expose leaders to how to approach strategic issues.

I’ve been asked some questions about mind mapping and decided to answer them here.

Are the mind maps we create in Strategic Fast Chats the right answer for my association?

The answer is no on two counts.

First of all, the goal was to teach you how to break a critical issue down – not give you an answer to anything.

  • The mind mapping we do live on the Fast Chats – are just fast ideas from an anonymous group of leaders and association executives.
  • Yes, some great ideas do rise to the top – including how you might approach the issue in your own association.
  • However, the creators of these generic maps do not know your association – you need to do your own maps.

Secondly, the mind mapping process we are doing is incomplete.

  • It’s fun to throw ideas onto a map.
  • The real value comes in the challenging and examination of the big story the map tells.
  • We do not take time to do that during the Strategic Fast Chat session.

What software do you use to mind map live with us?

  • I use MindJet MindManager because it’s fast and works for me.
  • There are lots of options on the market.
  • Including some free ones.

What tips do you have for me if I want to mind map live like you do?

  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Mind mapping is a skill and speed is important.
  • Also, get good at asking thought-provoking questions as you go.

Can I use mind mapping with my board of directors or volunteer leaders?

  • Of course you can.
  • You can create mind maps in advance to pull feedback on an issue.
  • I worked with one association where we did this for two different levels of the association.

We hosted multiple mind mapping sessions for both levels of leaders.

  • The leaders loved being involved and given a voice.
  • As a side benefit, the experience helped to boost attendance at the next association meeting.

The mind maps were fascinating.

  • By doing multiple maps by level, we were able to note patterns of who said what.
  • What was not said was also very significant.

You could use a process like this to get volunteer leaders involved in giving feedback to your board.

  • It engages members at a variety of levels – they feel a sense of skin in the game.
  • The mind map findings can be highlighted in an executive summary.
  • Your board may also like to view the raw maps.

You can also mind map live at an event.

  • NOTE: You will want to use an accomplished mind mapper.
  • It is tedious when someone slowly types in content.
  • In a virtual session, cut and paste speeds things up.

Mind mapping could be helpful to do with a small group of my staff, do you do that?

Can I get a copy of the last Strategic Fast Chat’s  mind map about finding future leaders?

I Feel Special...

CynBBallTallFor the last few years, James and I have followed the Michigan Women’s Basketball Team.

  • We attend most of home games.
  • Love seeing the athletes in action.
  • Enjoy being at the games.

When the senior game comes around each year, you would think the women graduating were my personal friends or daughters.

  • I have such a sense of pride about their accomplishments.
  • Can tell you a lot about how they played ball for the last few years.
  • And even get a little teary-eyed.

The new assistant coach, Megan Duffy, just called me.

  • She wanted to say hello and introduce herself.
  • Shared she had been with the team for just a few months.

And then Megan amazed me…

  • She started talking about me.
  • Told me she had looked me up in social media.
  • And even knew I did leadership stuff and other things.

Megan called to remind me to buy our season tickets.

  • So unlike the automated or call center outreach that follows a script.
  • Megan made me feel part of the team’s family - and interesting to her.

I’m already a huge fan of Michigan Women’s Basketball – now I’m a fan of Megan Duffy too.

Can’t wait to see how the team looks this year!

How do you make your members feel special and part of your association family?

 

Retirees Rule - Or Do They?

seniorWhat kind of impact will retirees have on your association?

At the last Strategic Fast Chat, we took a look at the following scenario:

What if 50% of your current Boomer members retire AND stay members?

  • Is it a great day for your association?
  • Or a challenge you didn’t expect?

A group of association executives and volunteer leaders pondered the scenario and potential impact.

Click here to download the mind map we created together live during the Strategic Fast Chat.

As always, just a few reminders… 

  • This was a fast conversation, not an in-depth analysis.
  • Your association may be very different than what we came up with.
  • The best strategy is to have strategic conversations like this with your own leaders.

The Perilous Seduction of Young Professional Groups

Younger membersYou need younger members – bad. And they are different than many of your current members.

  • How they act.
  • What they want.
  • How they communicate.

A young professional group sounds like a natural cure for providing value for this new population in your association!

Or is it???

Several association executives and volunteer leaders got together last week to quickly analyze the pros and cons of creating young professional groups.

  • Surprisingly, the con list was longer than the pro list.
  • Many attendees had not thought through potential impact beyond being more attractive to young professionals when they try to recruit them.
  • Seeing all the answers in a mind map created new questions for many.

Given all the cons, does this mean you should NOT do a young professional group?

  • No. Not necessarily.
  • It means you need to do your own analysis customized to your association.
  • Then weigh out what works best for you.

You can use the mind map we created as a tool to help launch conversations about young professional groups and their impact on your own association.

To learn more about upcoming Strategic Fast Chats, click here.

 

When Boomers are NOT Enough!

retirementBoomers have started to retire.

  • Job postings are booming.
  • Some say in just two years, every time you breathe, a Boomer will retire.

What kind of impact will that have on your association?

  • Where are Boomers heavily involved in your association?
  • How can you start preparing now for possible changes?

Last week, a ton of association executives and volunteer leaders gathered virtually for a Strategic Fast Chat to explore the challenge of when Boomers are not enough.

  • If I was leading a normal strategic conversation session with your association, we would delve into a few different scenarios.
  • Given we only had 15 minutes, we focused on one possible scenario.
  • I mind mapped it live as attendees shared their responses.

The Scenario: What will happen if 50% of your Boomers drop their membership in the next five years?

  • Click here to see the mind map we created together for you to see.
  • It’s just ideas at this point – no guarantee of results or ultimate answers.
  • That said, it was a big eye-opener for many attendees.

You can use the mind map as a tool to launch conversations about Boomer retirement impact on your own association.

To learn more about upcoming Strategic Fast Chats, click here.

 

Find and Develop Future Leaders with Simple Succession Planning

LostMore new for this fall…

Do you struggle to find future leaders who are ready to step up to leadership and succeed?

I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

First the bad news:

Corporations have been cutting back on leadership development for years.

  • Many don’t have leaders trained for advancement in their organizations.
  • They’ve got a bit of a scramble going on with internal development.

What does this mean for you?

  • You have to train your future leaders if you want them ready to succeed at the start of their term.
  • It doesn’t happen magically without help.
  • This process needs to be managed – it’s called succession planning.

As you probably know, I’m always looking for ways to help make things easier and more effective for chapter leaders.

  • Based on research and experience, I created a three-part model for simple succession planning.
  • It breaks succession planning down into specific activities any chapter leadership team can do.

I’m creating videos to add to the Chapter Leader Lounge to teach this model to members.

  • Decided to record live webinars this fall so leaders can ask questions and get more specific information.
  • The recordings will be available after the events in The Chapter Leader Lounge for members to use.

Details about the webinars:

  • All three run 1:00 – 1:15 PM Eastern
  • Each webinar will cover a different part of my simple model for succession planning.
  • You will need to register for each date that you want to attend.

 Dates are as follows:

Tuesday, Sept. 12th: Simple Succession Planning, Part 1

  • This first session is open to the public so everyone can learn the model.
  • Guests will also get to see the kind of programs members of The Chapter Leader Lounge get access to.
  • Register here. It’s free!

Tuesday, Sept. 30th, Simple Succession Planning, Part 2

Tuesday, October 7th, Simple Succession Planning, Part 3

I’ve been doing a ton of research and crunching to make succession planning as easy and doable as possible for chapter leaders.

Can’t wait to share with you!

Oh, and the good news…

Given how leadership turnover is accelerating, you can position your chapter as a partner in leadership development when you implement what you learn in the Simple Succession Planning program!

Using my Simple Succession Planning approach can be a big boost to your recruiting efforts.

(Sound interesting for your chapter leaders? This program can also be delivered as a live speech by Cynthia.)

 

Live Strategic Fast Chats - New for Fall 2014

new-cynthiaAre you ready to get strategic with me this fall?

Many leaders say they don’t have time to think strategically.

With my new live Strategic Fast Chats, that’s no longer true – and will be a lot more fun than doing this by yourself!

  • Strategic Fast Chats feature a single issue and are only 15 minutes long.
  • They are designed for association leaders.
  • We’ll play with the big picture concepts – not share specific how-tos.

Here’s the Fall 2014 line up:

9/10: When Boomers are NOT Enough!

9/24: The Perilous Seduction of Young Professional Groups

10/8: Retirees Rule – Or Do They? The Graying of Your Association

10/22: Future Leaders, Where Art Thou?

11/12: Your Mission: A Turn-On or Turn-Off?

11/25: Volunteers: Who Wants (and Needs) Them?

12/10: If Your Association Disappeared, Would Anyone Notice?

Click here to learn the details and register for any (or all) of the Strategic Fast Chats

The Strategic Fast Chats are my give back to the association industry.

In other words, there is no charge to attend!

Can’t wait to get strategic with you!

Register Now