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Posts Tagged ‘CM Services’

Meetings are necessary to achieve consensus – especially in associations.  We’ve all been in those meetings that were a complete waste of time.  Make sure meetings you run are not a waste of time but are productive and help your organization work toward achieving its mission. 

To do so, we have identified seven keys to running successful, productive meetings:

  • Have an agenda for every meeting
    • Every meeting should have an agenda that identifies all the items to be covered during the meeting.  The agenda should clearly state the purpose of the meeting and the expected outcomes for the meeting and should be distributed enough in advance of the meeting for participants to review and give thought to the items being addressed.  The purpose and expected outcomes should also be restated by the leader at the beginning of the meeting. 
  • If you need volunteers for activities, get them lined up before the meeting – never ask for volunteers during a meeting
    • So many times it happens, an item is discussed and after it’s decided upon, we seek a volunteer to “lead it”.  You know in advance the items being addressed and discussed so line up your volunteers before the meeting.  This will help assure you get interested, passionate people leading your activities.   
  • Make sure all planned actions during the meeting are related to strategic goals of the organization
    • If it’s not helping to achieve your mission, you shouldn’t be doing it. 
  • The meeting leader (President, Committee Chair, etc.) should be a facilitator, not a dictator
    • This is very important and is often a difference between for profit corporate leaders and successful association leaders.  Remember all members are equal.  It’s the job of the meeting leader to facilitate the discussion – make sure all points of view are given an opportunity to be discussed and debated.
  • Achieve consensus
    • Before any votes are taken, make sure all participants understand what they’re voting on and give ample time for discussion. 
    • Do not allow people to filibuster or to repeat positions already articulated by others. 
    • See our blog on achieving consensus for more information.
  • Make sure all decisions are clearly articulated at the end of the meeting
    • In order to assure the expected actions occur between meetings, it’s important the decisions are clearly articulated.  If assignments are created, be sure due dates are also assigned.
  • Be sure accurate minutes are taken during the meeting and distributed promptly following the meeting including any assignments and due dates
    • Minutes are the historical record of your meetings and decisions.  Be sure you have accurate minutes for all your meetings.  Additionally, between meetings, follow up with people who have assignments to be sure they’re on track

If you follow these seven simple steps your meetings will be efficient and will lead to successes for your association.  Happy Meeting!

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We’ve all seen them.  Some of us have written them.  I’m talking about lists…not grocery lists or to-do lists.  I’m talking about the tenets of leadership lists.

I love reading other people’s tenets of leadership lists.  I like what those lists allow me to learn about the people who wrote them.  The lists give a real insight into the kind of leader these people are.

I’m constantly working on my tenets of leadership list – I hope you are too.  I’ll share a few of my tenets here.  However, I encourage you to read two other recent blog postings I’ve read to see what others think are important leadership tenets.  The first is 16 Ways to be the Leader of Choice.  Interesting title for that blog.  I must admit I really like a few of these tenets (some of which closely align with some of mine).

For example:

  • Choose meaningful goals.  I suppose this is obvious.  However, if a leader’s goals aren’t meaningful, who will follow them?
  • Respect others.  Absolutely critical in leadership.  The caveat is you can’t ask for or “demand” respect.  You have to earn it.
  • Sacrifice for the benefit of others.  I love this one.  Putting others first is one of my tenets.
  • Have enough ego to aspire to leadership but not so much that you forget leadership is about service.  I laughed when I read this.  Not because I don’t agree with it – I do.  But I just thought of all the “leaders” I have known who were egomaniacs and thought leadership was about being served, not serving others.

The other leadership blog I read recently was about former North Carolina basketball coach, Dean Smith, who passed away this week.  I have always liked North Carolina basketball.  Perhaps it was because of Michael Jordan and that unbelievable shot he made as a freshman in the National Championship game.  Or perhaps it was because Dean Smith attended the University of Kansas, my alma mater, where he learned basketball from the best ever – Phog Allen.  Read the blog posting here.  I think you’ll agree Dean Smith was a great coach, mentor, and leader.

So, what are some of my leadership tenets?  Here are a few:

  • Always do what’s right.
  • Put others before yourself.
  • When possible, lead by example.  When not, don’t lead.
  • Be a caring servant of others every day.
  • Commit yourself to your goals.

They are still a work in progress.  I hope you find some you can use.

 

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NBA great and Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley once famously said, “I am not a role model”.  I like Sir Charles and even can understand his point to a certain extent – I think he was trying to let parents and teachers know that they have daily interactions with children and should be their role models.

Unfortunately, Charles was wrong and so are many leaders.

You see, whether he liked it or not, Charles was in a leadership position.  He was and is a leader of his family, he was a leader on his team, and as a high profile professional athlete, he was a leader of young athletes everywhere.  As such, it was and is his responsibility to set a good example – to be a role model.

I read a great blog posting on the topic of leaders as role models recently.  Click here to read it.

The posting points out that no one is perfect and even the best leaders occasionally aren’t the best role models.  Nonetheless, when in a leadership position, every action you take (or don’t take) and everything you say (or don’t say) is seen and heard by your team – by those you lead – they deserve your very best.

So this blogger had a list of the six “saboteurs” of being a positive role model:

  • It’s what you were taught
  • Just this one time
  • It’s easier
  • It’s faster
  • You’re frustrated
  • It feels good to let off a bit of steam

I know I’m not always a great role model – and therefore probably not always a great leader.  However, understanding that as a leader I am a role model is vital.  What great leaders do is find ways to make being a positive role model a habit.  And habits are hard to break.

 

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Just about everyone knows who Lou Holtz is.  Some people love him, others may not care for him (especially if you’re not a Notre Dame fan).  For those who don’t know, Lou Holtz was a very successful (mostly college) football coach.  He is probably best known for coaching Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996.  During that time he lead Notre Dame to an unmatched record and a National Championship.

Coach Holtz credits much of his success to the lessons he learned from his mentors.  He also credits it to a philosophy he honed during his early years of coaching.  While Holtz has many beliefs, he boils the philosophy down to three key points:  Trust, Commitment and Care.

I have heard coach Holtz speak.  He is very motivational.  I recently watched an interview with him on a Golf Channel show called, “Feherty”.

I was pleasantly surprised that coach Holtz’s philosophy to success so closely mirrors the values we believe in at our company.  You see, we have said for twenty years that there are six core values to success in our business – Trust, Commitment, Responsibility, Care, Growth and Enjoyment.

More specifically, we say:

  • Be trustworthy
  • Commit ourselves to each other, our company and the industries we serve
  • Act responsibly
  • Care about others
  • Grow every day
  • Have fun

We try to apply these values in every action we take and every interaction we have.  We believe that doing so leads to success.

Coach Holtz at least agrees with Trust, Commitment and Care – they are his cornerstone values.

What values do you consider critical to success?

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Interesting article in Associations Now today.  The article asks the question, ‘Can a company or organization survive without a CEO’?

Read the article here.

I was confident I knew the answer without reading the article – “NO”!

But I read the article anyway.  I guess I was curious more than anything else.

Turns out my instincts were right.  It seems a few organizations have tried to be run without a leader (where the buck stops) but it doesn’t appear they have been resounding successes.  In fact, my impression from the article is that companies that have tried such a model have increased their middle management numbers, decreased their efficiency and created cultures where accountability is questionable.

That’s not to say that new models for leading businesses cannot be found.  In fact, one of the hallmarks of great leaders, in my opinion, is they are constantly thinking about ways to adjust or change their business model to make it better.  Great leaders are always thinking about the culture of their organization and how to make it better; the efficiency of their organization and how to make it even more efficient; the value their organization is delivering to its customers and how to become even more valuable.

Can a company survive without a CEO – probably on the short-term but for the long-haul organizations need a leader who is developing their culture, refining their vision and LEADING the employees to deliver value to their customers.

 

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Remember that song by the seemingly timeless band Chicago?  The lyrics go something like, “Hold me now, it’s hard for me to say I’m sorry, I just want you to stay; after all that we’ve been through, I will make it up to you, I promise to”.  You can almost hear the Chicago trademark horns in the background as you read those words right?

I’ve been thinking about apologies a lot lately.  I’ve had some of my own to say and I’ve heard some from very public leaders.  (Think Chris Christie, LeBron James and others).

The thing is, apologies have become shallow.  Do you really believe Chris Christie is sorry about the traffic incidents caused by the “bridge closings”?  I get the feeling he is more sorry to have been put in this situation.  Or do you really believe LeBron James is sorry for using the word “retarded” (a truly offensive word to many)?  Or was he really just sorry it came out of his mouth in public.

The thing is, apologizing isn’t just the act of saying the words, “I’m sorry”.  Apologizing means you are willing to and will make a significant effort to change the actions that created the need for you to apologize in the first place.

Check out this article I recently read on the subject.

What does this have to do with Leadership?

It’s simple, the ability to see a mistake, apologize for it and take corrective action is a true leadership quality.  Someone willing to do that is someone I am willing to follow.  Think about great leaders you have known.  They were human so they made mistakes.  When they did, did they just use the words or were their words followed by actions demonstrating they were truly apologetic?

I believe that our society has cheapened the apology.  We will say “I’m sorry” for anything and do it without thought, consideration or action.  The fact is, it should be hard to say “I’m sorry”.  We should apologize for wrongs we commit.  However, it shouldn’t stop there.  We must take the necessary steps to correct the situation – even if they’re difficult or embarrassing.  Why?  Because if we don’t we’re not sorry (as in apologetic) we are sorry (as in pitiful).

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I subscribe to an electronic newsletter published by booz&co called ‘strategy+business’.  It often has interesting business and leadership related articles.  If you read this blog regularly, you know I enjoy reading about leadership, particularly business leadership.  I even have a few opinions of my own on the topic that I occasionally share.

A recent article in ‘strategy+business’ caught my eye.  It was titled, “After 500 Years, Why Does Machiavelli Still Hold Such Sway?”.  I was drawn to the title because I don’t think much of the leadership style Machiavelli espoused.  However, over the years I have met many people whom I would characterize as “Machiavellian” – incorporating the values (or lack thereof) described by Machiavelli in his work ‘The Prince’.

So the writer of the article makes his claim that Machiavelli’s theories are alive and well today in leaders who practice “realism” or “situational leadership”.  He goes on to describe a study he conducted of business school students.  He provided the students with two case studies of successful business leaders.  One was a leader who had developed core values and stuck by those values even when doing so seemed to be against his “best interests”.  The second was a leader whose behavior toward others was “situational”.  If he needed to be a ruthless bully, he would be.  If he needed to be compassionate and caring, he would be.

Guess what  – the students wanted to be more like the “situational leader”.

I thought the article was interesting, but flawed.  I don’t think having uncompromising values and being situational in one’s behavior are mutually exclusive.  In other words, I believe a leader can have core values by which he governs his decisions while at the same time can recognize that every situation and every person is different.

Unlike Machiavelli, I believe great leaders develop core values and make decisions based on those values – never compromising them.  What do you think?

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