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COVID-19 has many lessons to teach, and like the legendary nun brandishing a ruler, they are often harsh. The value of effective leadership, in times of crisis, is one truth we are witnessing on a daily basis.  In writing Association 4.0: Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption , Kevin Ordonez and I had the privilege to interview some of the most innovative executives in the association community. I am struck by how often their advice is pitch-perfect for managing the current disruption. The following are my top five nuggets, recommendations that I believe will help every leader to navigate today’s uncertainty and support the agile, entrepreneurial ...
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Designing a new office space and making the move is no small venture. When the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) planned to move from downtown Chicago to Chicago’s Triangle Plaza near O’Hare International Airport they knew that they would need outside support to manage the project. .orgSource Senior Consultant, Kevin Martlage, had recently been working with the group on an internal business culture enhancement initiative and was happy to take on this responsibility. .orgSource would oversee construction, moving, IT, design, and decommissioning of the old space.  Everyone was thrilled to be headed towards a light-filled, contemporary office. ...
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On July 20, 2020, .orgSource celebrates 15 years in business. We are deeply grateful to the friends and clients who have contributed to our success. This journey, which has been filled with amazing people, projects, events, and education, began with a simple list. I was searching for the perfect nine to five job. But a nagging voice in the back of my mind kept repeating that I was on the wrong track. Managing someone else’s business was not going to make me happy. When I’m considering a tough decision I always make a list. Seeing the options laid out in columns assures me that an answer is a keystroke away. I created an inventory of things that I love ...
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A start-up is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty —Eric Ries   Associations can be as steeped in tradition as a Japanese tea ceremony. What can they learn from business start-ups? Entrepreneurs take uncertainty as a given, and I’m convinced that they have plenty to teach us. The minimum viable product (MVP) is one of those lessons.   Now that we have collectively experienced extreme disruption, it is time to accept this as a permanent state. With or without COVID-19, association leaders must adjust to a digital marketplace where constant adaptation is required for survival. ...
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A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. -Martin Luther King This quote from Martin Luther King defines what great association leaders do best. By promoting a culture that supports working together toward common goals, they create an environment where consensus happens. A consensus-friendly culture might seem more like a utopia than a real-life possibility, especially these days. Getting a group of diverse people on the same page is not easy. When difficult decisions must be made quickly the challenge is even greater. A remote work environment only adds complexity. The current situation is not likely to change ...
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Associations aren’t known for their ability to easily change course. The benefits of organizational agility have gained traction over the last few years, but most groups haven’t taken the concept further than lip service. Associations tend to plow through the bad weather rather than navigate around it. That’s understandable; getting a 2-ton bureaucracy to pivot is a daunting process. Being nimble isn’t just about shedding layers. Agility is as much a state of mind as it is a dynamic organizational structure. Cultivating the vision to recognize shifts in the business landscape and initiating the decision-making processes to quickly address challenges and seize ...
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Here at WSAE, we are committed to providing resources to support our members in achieving their goals. Education is the foundation of success.  Webinars . Webinars are offered once or twice monthly. Join live, or review our webinar archives list of recorded webinars to watch whenever fits your schedule.  CAE and CMP exam prep. WSAE partners with the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) to offer CAE preparation courses that incorporate study guides, reading comprehension questions, flashcards and practice tests. MSAE offers their member rate to WSAE members, which represents a $100 savings. In addition to CAE prep courses, MSAE ...
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Lately, we’ve all been doing a complicated juggling act; and, just when you think you’ve nailed the rhythm, another ball gets tossed into the mix. Managing a remote workforce , making tough financial decisions, planning a virtual conference , budgeting for the unpredictable, and finally, strategizing how to get your team safely back to the office are just a few of the challenges. It’s a lot to handle, especially when there isn’t a clear end in sight. The good news is help is available. People think of consultants as guides for long-term projects. But we are also white knights. A consultant can provide just-in-time rescue from a difficult situation ...
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COVID-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. But disruption, whether from biology, technology, or culture, is here to stay. We can’t stop the challenges; But we can be resilient enough to take them in stride and move forward to become stronger. What exactly does resilience mean? Why is it important, and how do you build it into your association’s DNA? Recently, .orgSource has been studying this question. We’ve researched, conducted focus groups, and compiled interviews with forward-thinking industry leaders. Those conversations led to our two Association 4.0™ books: Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption and An Entrepreneurial Approach to ...
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"In my mind, it's inevitable that we'll have a return of the virus … when it does, how we handle it will determine our fate," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, April 30 . Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning might make you want to put your mask over your ears instead of your nose. We would all like to see no COVID-19, hear no COVID-19, speak no COVID-19. Unfortunately, ignoring the health and economic danger is impossible, and neglecting to plan for an extended roller-coaster ride with Coronavirus is probably a recipe for disaster.   According to Rantt Media as of May 17, only nine states reported ...
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This article, by author Richard Kyte, Director of the D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and Endowed Professor of Ethics at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of VantagePoint magazine , the quarterly publication of WSAE. When Gallup released the results of their annual survey of honesty and ethics in the professions earlier this winter, nurses once again earned the top spot. This marks 17 straight years that nurses have ranked higher than any other profession. Eighty-four percent of respondents rated them very high or high in honesty and ethical standards. Medical doctors came in ...
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The economic and social challenges of this pandemic have cast a harsh spotlight on leadership. If you are sitting in the corner office, you have a unique opportunity to prove that you belong in that big chair. Although there is no playbook for this crisis, there are attitudes and behaviors that support the heavy lifting required to motivate your team and advance your mission in the face of extreme disruption.   Several years ago, we realized Industry 4.0 , or the intersection of the digital and material worlds, would be a proving ground for leadership, and .orgSource began exploring the future of associations through that lens. This research resulted in ...
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Technology is our silent partner in the challenging job of keeping the economy moving during COVID-19. This health crisis has taught us that the more we make the digital world our world, the better equipped we will be to manage both business and life in the face of disruption. Associations who were early adopters of digital strategies made the transition to a remote workplace with minimal distraction. For others, the abrupt technological, administrative and cultural shift has been destabilizing. I have heard about challenges ranging from lack of equipment to the complete inability to accommodate virtual business.  If your organization was, or is, struggling ...
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Should we cancel the conference? Are layoffs needed to keep the organization afloat? How much of the reserves can we safely spend?   Responsibility for the decisions that make or break an organization is the tough side of leadership. Selling a solution to everyone who must agree can be even harder. But you don’t need nerves of steel and a will of iron to survive. Having problem-solving strategies at the ready and understanding how to use them effectively will pay you back in hours of lost sleep, make you feel better about going to work and give you a tool to build a more resilient association.    Be Ahead of the Curve One way to avoid the most challenging ...
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Canceling a conference is a decision that most association CEO’s never imagined they would be forced to make. But many organizations recently faced that challenge, and more will probably do so in the near future. Fortunately, technology now gives us alternate ways to continue our work, including providing members with education and fellowship. Virtual conferences and meetings are more than an option. They are an increasingly popular way of convening that organizations should embrace for reasons that go well beyond the current challenge. Every association that depends on an annual meeting for a major percentage of budget should have virtual plans ...
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In a crisis, like the current pandemic, an integrated digital strategy can make the difference between business as usual and a meltdown. Travis Cheatham, Director of Technology Operations and Digital Solutions at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, has firsthand understanding of how the right approach to technology can impact an organization’s ability to navigate tough times. If COVID-19 has brought your association’s technology deficit out of hiding, Travis’s perspective on AACE’s digital transformation will be both helpful and hopeful. Travis Cheatham   When a hurricane hit Jacksonville, AACE didn’t worry about the accessibility ...
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Living in the shadow of COVID-19 can feel like being stuck in a bad science fiction movie, but there are positives to be found in this challenging situation. Many of us will have the opportunity to be our best personal and professional selves. If you are heading a remote team, you can be a leader who helps your group to find stability and motivation despite the uncertainty and fear that is as easy to catch as the virus. The association community is a latecomer to the remote workplace. Until two weeks ago many organizations were still reluctant to integrate regular work from home policies into their business practices. In contrast, the majority of the for-profit ...
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My email and phone are burning with questions and concerns from leaders facing the tough decisions that COVID-19 is forcing upon us. Choices that plunge a budget deep into the red and threaten member engagement are gut-wrenching, but the difficult decisions are easier when you have expert advice.   We looked to our colleagues Adele Cehrs, author and CEO, When + How Agency , and her partner Chip Massey, former FBI hostage negotiator and special agent, for advice. Adele and Chip are seasoned crisis managers who have a long history of successfully navigating disruption. I’ve summarized some of their strategies for changing panic into purpose and keeping ...
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What do you think these three questions have in common?   “How might we survive and flourish amid tensions and contradictions?” Elsa Fridman   “What is it about your business today that you can’t answer?” Brian Panosian   “What if competitors worked together?” Michelle Rigan-Ranson   In the eyes of author/journalist, Warren Berger, each of these questions is beautiful. Berger describes a beautiful question as one that is ambitious but also actionable. The search for an answer returns more than facts, it might alter your perception and bring about significant change.   Asking the right beautiful question ...
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Of all the experiences involved in writing a book, and there are many—both frustrating and fascinating, what you learn is the most rewarding. Association 4.0™: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Risk, Courage and Transformation , which I wrote with my business partner Kevin Ordonez, is my second adventure as an author. The entrepreneurs we interviewed taught us how some of the most innovative leaders in the association community manage the precarious business of growing a company from start-up to maturity.  The book launch is planned for .orgCommunity’s, February 20 Innovation Summit , in Schaumburg, IL. Participants at the event will have the ...
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