Eric Lanke

Constraints + Creativity = Innovation

Eric Lanke

My association sponsors an undergraduate education program we call the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. Essentially, it challenges undergraduate engineers to design and build a human-powered vehicle (typically a bicycle, but not always) that uses my industry's technology (i.e.,

Traveling Is So Much Fun

Eric Lanke

I flew in and out of LAX this week. It's not a frequent airport for me -- I can't even remember the last time I was there. But something happened there that I thought was worth blogging about. When I arrived for my return flight home I didn't at first recognize anything as unusual.

Inside Baseball

Eric Lanke

I'm not much of a sports fan, but one sports analogy I use pretty consistently is the term "inside baseball." I use it to describe a situation when I'm going into too much jargon and detail in front of an audience that doesn't understand or doesn't need such an in-depth explanation.

Association 4.0 by Sherry Budziak and Kevin Ordonez

Eric Lanke

This book was handed to me at a recent WSAE event I attended -- handed to me not by the authors (who were also there) but by the WSAE staff executive, and with a specific request. Eric, you like to read. Will you please read this book and write a review of it.” Sure,” I replied.

Member Visits Are the Way

Eric Lanke

Two unconnected things got connected this week in a fun and interesting way. First, at the beginning of the week I was in Texas for another one of the conferences I've been talking about.

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Talk About How You Will Live Your Values

Eric Lanke

It worked. There's not much more to say than that. Last week, in Behaviors Are a Necessary Part of Values , I wrote about an upcoming discussion on values at my association's Board meeting.

When Decisions Get Made

Eric Lanke

Amanda Kaiser at her Smooth the Path blog gave me a good reminder this week about association membership dues notices. The most interesting result from the member research on renewal notices is that these letters, emails, and phone calls do not serve to change most member’s minds about renewing.

Ode to the Lonely Trade Show Worker

Eric Lanke

I attended a trade show this past week. It's something I haven't done in a while, and I was surprised by how little things have changed. Aisle carpet, booth numbers, giant computer screens, shiny products on lucite display stands. And, of course, booth personnel.

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We're Number Two!

Eric Lanke

Something interesting happened this week. The office building where our association is located had a Halloween door decorating contest.

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The Facilitator's Job

Eric Lanke

I was asked to facilitate one of the breakouts at the last conference I attended. (If If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that last week I said I had six more conferences and workshops to attend before the end of the year.)

Other People See Connections You Don't

Eric Lanke

I attend a lot of conferences and workshops. I attended one last week and I'm attending another one this week. In fact, looking ahead on my calendar, I've got six more conferences or workshops to attend before the end of the year. Obviously, it's a big part of my job.

Before You Begin: 5 Co-Creation Tips

Eric Lanke

Back in May 2018, I participated in a virtual conference session on co-creation. It was called SURGE Spring 2018, and the organizers just posted a blog summary of some of the points I made in the session.

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Is My Bonus Plan Needlessly Complicated?

Eric Lanke

I had lunch with a colleague this week and our conversation turned to staff bonus plans. In prefacing my description of the bonus plan I've put in place for the staff at my association, I described it (with a bit of tongue in the cheek) as "needlessly complicated."

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The Idea Swap

Eric Lanke

I attended an educational conference last week and a wonderful thing happened to me there. I got a new idea. I don't know yet if it's a good idea or a bad idea. Maybe you can tell me. But that's not the point.

Growth for Growth's Sake

Eric Lanke

A shout out this week to Jeffrey Cufaude at the Idea Architects blog , who recently offered this piece of wisdom regarding the growth goals set by many an association board in many a strategic planning session: Double our membership. Increase conference attendance by 50%.

Going Where There Are No Podiums

Eric Lanke

Not too long ago I wrote a post about Getting Out From Behind the Podium when giving a talk at my association's Annual Conference.

When Decisions Get Made, Part 2

Eric Lanke

Last week, in When Decisions Get Made , I talked about when a member's decision to renew or not to renew their membership in an association gets made.

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The Three Things That Matter in Our Performance Evaluations

Eric Lanke

I don't know when was the last time I've written about performance evaluations on this blog -- or indeed if I have ever written about performance evaluations on this blog before -- but they've been on my mind this week.

Run Your Next Welcome Reception Like an Apple Store

Eric Lanke

This week I reviewed the free e-book, Fueling Exceptional New Member Experiences , from Amanda Kaiser at Kaiser Insights and the Smooth the Path blog. My favorite part was the section that talked about the importance of making a positive first impression with new members.

Trade Associations Really Have Organizational Memberships

Eric Lanke

I have to take issue with Amanda Kaiser of the Smooth the Path blog, who said in a recent post that trade associations don't really have organizational memberships. Your key contact member understands that some of their colleagues at their organization can be members.

Thinking in Four Colors

Eric Lanke

I attended a conference last week where one of the sessions was on the Hermann Whole Brain Model. Not familiar with it?

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We Are Making a Difference

Eric Lanke

It's not always obvious. In fact, sometimes it feels like you're not making any progress at all. But then, something happens that allows you to see what you've accomplished from an outsider's perspective, and suddenly, you realize that you ARE actually making a difference. What am I talking about?

Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 4

Eric Lanke

Two weeks ago, in Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 3 , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our most recently completed Board meeting.

Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 6

Eric Lanke

Four weeks ago, in Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 5 , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our two most recently completed Board meetings.

Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 5

Eric Lanke

Three weeks ago, in Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 4 , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our two most recently completed Board meetings.

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Millennials Are Lazy?

Eric Lanke

Here's a rare post on the subject of generations in the workplace. Recent readers of this blog may not be aware that I cut my blogging teeth on the subject when I hosted (with Jamie Notter ) The Hourglass Blog from 2009 to 2012.

You Must Be Staff Driven

Eric Lanke

Last week I wrote about a presentation I would be giving at one of my association's major conferences -- a presentation on the work product of one of our technical committees.

Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 3

Eric Lanke

Four weeks ago, in Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 2 , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our most recently completed Board meeting.

Adopting the Point of View of Your Members

Eric Lanke

Kudos to Amanda Kaiser and her Smooth the Path blog for her post, " Our Point of View is Not Our Members’ Point of View." In it, she reminds all of us association staff that what we think about the value of our membership benefits is often not what our members think of it.

Who Is In and Who Is Out of Your Association?

Eric Lanke

I participated in a SURGE Spring 2018 session on co-creation. Don't know what SURGE Spring 2018 is? It's an online, virtual conference put on by Association Success. Sessions were recorded and were broadcast May 2-4, 2018.

Design Constraints Make Innovation Happen

Eric Lanke

I participated in a SURGE Spring 2018 session on co-creation. Don't know what SURGE Spring 2018 is? It's an online, virtual conference put on by Association Success. Sessions have been recorded and are being posted this week (May 2-4, 2018). Mine will be posted on May 4. Go here for more info.

Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications, Part 2

Eric Lanke

Two weeks ago, in Step Four: Discussing the Strategic Implications , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our most recently completed Board meeting.

Membership Sales Is About More Than Just Increasing Membership Numbers

Eric Lanke

We focus a lot on membership sales in my association. This year perhaps more than at any time in recent memory because we have identified increasing our membership numbers as our Wildly Important Goal for the year.

Step Three: Writing Snapshots for Each Scenario, Part 2

Eric Lanke

Two weeks ago, in Step Three: Writing Snapshots for Each Scenario , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our most recently completed Board meeting.

We Feed Our Own Whirlwinds

Eric Lanke

We had Chris McChesney speak at my association's Annual Conference a few weeks back. If you don't know who that is, he's one of the authors of The Four Disciplines of Execution , also know as 4DX.

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Getting Out From Behind the Podium

Eric Lanke

My association's Annual Conference was last week, and among the things that means for me is making a presentation to the assembled membership on what the association has been doing over the past year. It's not the first time I've done this.

Step Two: Creating Scenarios Based on Megatrends, Part 2

Eric Lanke

Two weeks ago, in Step Two: Creating Scenarios Based on Megatrends , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our just completed Board meeting.

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80% Is Good Enough

Eric Lanke

I used to blog a lot about innovation in the association environment. I used to think a lot about the subject, I helped write a white paper on the subject, helped launch a regional conference focused on it, and have tried to move my association on to a more innovative footing.

Step Two: Creating Scenarios Based on Megatrends

Eric Lanke

Two weeks ago, in Step One: Identifying the Megatrends , I continued a description of a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our upcoming Board meeting.

The Joy of Membership Interview

Eric Lanke

I was recently interviewed by Joy Duling of The Joy of Membership blog, for The Movement Summit , an online event she is creating and hosting, which will be happening live next week, November 6-10, 2017.

Oranges Are More Important Than Apples

Eric Lanke

Lately, I've been spending more time than usual on my association's financial operations.

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Step One: Identifying the Megatrends

Eric Lanke

A few weeks ago, in Letting the Future Guide the Present , I provided some background for a Scenario Planning exercise my Board chair and I decided to conduct at our upcoming Board meeting.

When Action Items Aren't Action Items

Eric Lanke

Last week I wrote about a message my Board chair and I had crafted to help frame the discussion at our recent Board meeting.

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