Posts Tagged ‘Volunteerism’

I read several business related blogs.  One of them is called Leadership Freak, written by Dan Rockwell.  Today Leadership Freak had an interesting post about what leaders do to energize (and sometimes de-energize) their teams.

Read the post here.

The theory behind the post is that everyone has energy inside them.  A leader’s job is to exploit that energy and build on it.  In other words, to quote REO Speedwagon, leaders need to “Keep the fire burnin'”.

Of course that’s easier said than done.  What kinds of things can leaders do to ignite fires in their team and keep those fires burning?  Also, what should leaders do to avoid putting out the fires in their team?

In his post today, Dan offers several answers to these questions.  Here are a few of my own:

  • Serve your teammates.  Nothing energizes people more than being served – especially by their leader
  • Use positive words and expressions to get your point across – ALWAYS
  • Smile
  • Ask your teammates about things they’re interested and invested in – their family, their hobbies, etc (Be interested)
  • Even when you don’t feel high energy – fake it until you make it – people you lead will follow your example
  • Find out what energizes (and de-energizes) your teammates

What do you do to “Keep the fire burnin'” among your team?




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Whether you are a volunteer leader of an association or an association staff member, its critical that you are doing everything you can to help your Board of Directors perform at its best.  Hopefully the reason is obvious – if a Board is performing at its best, the association it is leading should achieve its mission.

Traditionally there are many avenues pursued to help Board’s achieve “greatness”.  There is Board orientation, Board training, rules of conduct, understanding of roles and responsibilities and more.

I read an article on this subject in Association’s Now recently that was very interesting.  The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) has conducted a three year long study into successful associations and, in particular, what the Board’s of successful associations are doing.  The findings probably won’t surprise you but they will definitely give you something to think about.

Bottom line:

1.  Successful Boards are focused on strategic issues.  Not just once every three years, but all the time.

2.  Successful Boards are committed to training and hold themselves (as a Board and as Board members) accountable.

3.  Successful Boards have solid Board member recruitment and mentoring efforts in place constantly, not just once a year.

The article goes on to recommend that associations form a Board Development Committee whose responsibility goes beyond future Board member recruitment.  The committee can help to form the culture of the Board.  Its members can mentor current and new Board members and can help to keep the Board focused on the things that will make it successful.

Do you have a Board Development Committee that goes beyond recruitment?  Are there other qualities of a successful Board that you’ve witnessed?  Share them here.

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On Friday, January 17 I had the privilege of moderating an esteemed panel of experts in a discussion titled, The Future of Associations at the National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations Winter Meeting.

The audience included more than 100 association executive members of the NAM CMA and more than 200 people joining live via webcast.

If you missed the session, you missed a lot.  However, don’t be upset because you can view the entire session by visiting this link.

I thought the points of view offered by the three panelists were very interesting and in some ways surprising.  All in all, the panelists agreed on one major point:  In five to ten years associations will not look like they do today.

Each panelist had very different points of view as to why associations will change and what exactly associations will look like in ten years.

I would like for this blog post to become an opportunity for all of you (association executives, association staff, association volunteers) to share a dialog about the future of associations.  Think about the following questions and reply with your answers to some or all of them.  Let’s see if we can shape the future of associations instead of letting the future shape them for us. 

1.  What kind of thinking should associations and association leaders be doing to deliver value to members in the future?

2.  How are demographic shifts impacting associations now and in the future?

3.  With major demographic shifts occurring, how will associations deliver value to their significantly different members in the future?

4.  How are volunteers and volunteering changing in the future?

5.  What are the key drivers of change in associations?

6.  Will the consensus process of decision making change in the future?  If so, how will that change affect associations?

7.  Who/What will be the three greatest competitors of associations in the future?

Let’s get this discussion going.  I’m excited to see the results.

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One of the most important responsibilities of leaders is to have a vision for the future of their organization and to be able to communicate that vision in such a way that all stakeholders (employees, customers, members, investors, etc) share the vision.  All stakeholders need to be able to see the same vision.

This week, I will be moderating a panel discussion titled, “Association of the Future” at the National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations (NAM CMA) meeting.

The panel is made up of three well respected, visionary leaders in the association management space.

1.  John Graham, CAE.  President and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  ASAE is the professional society for association managers.  ASAE conducts research, delivers educational programs and creates networking opportunities for its members.  As CEO, John is the leader of the profession.  Check out ASAE here.

2.  Jeff De Cagna, FRSA, FASAE.  Chief Strategist and Founder of Principled Innovation.  Principled Innovation offers consulting and speaking services to associations.  Jeff is a former association executive and has been delivering visionary services to associations for many years.  Check out Principled Innovation and Jeff here.

3.  Seth Kahan.  Author and Change Agent.  Seth is the founder of Visionary Leadership, offering consulting, speaking and advice and counsel to associations.  Seth has authored several books on ‘change’ and ‘innovation’.  Check out Visionary Leadership and Seth here.

I can’t wait to hear what the future of associations looks like to these three leaders and visionaries. I am confident you will find it valuable.  Before participating, give some thought to your association and what it will look like in five or ten years.  See if your vision of the future is shared by any of the expert panelists.

Click here to register to view the panel discussion live on Friday afternoon.

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Americans have long been known as volunteers. Since its beginnings, America has been the land of volunteers. Associations, both trade and professional, were born in the US. Americans love to give their time and their money to charitable causes, research and development and professional and business development.

During the last two years, the US (and world) economy has been in a tailspin. The housing market “bubble has burst”, unemployment is probably over 10%, US businesses have had their biggest struggles in history. As a result of these and many more challenges, Americans are having to re-evaluate where they give their time and money and how much, if any, they have to give. In short, volunteers are giving less – a lot less.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the economy. Eventually (probably in 2011) our economy will turnaround, our businesses will recover and Americans will will have secure jobs, money, etc.

My question is, will they still be willing to volunteer? I hope so. Let me know what you think.

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