Eric Lanke

Boards and Annual Conference Venues

Eric Lanke

I've had two recent experiences that have made me think critically about an association board's role in selecting venues for their association's annual conference.

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.

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Generalist > Specialist

Eric Lanke

Been reading (and thinking) about the pros and cons of hiring generalists vs. specialists. Some of what I've read seems aimed at large organizations, much of it arguing for the advantages of generalists over specialists. They don't have to convince me.

Associations Are Non-Profits for a Reason

Eric Lanke

There is a clear and important reason that associations are organized as non-profit organizations, and it isn't so they can get out of paying taxes. My musings in this regard were inspired by this post by Anna Caraveli on The Demand Networks blog.

Innovating the Lean Startup Way

Eric Lanke

Elizabeth Weaver Engel of Spark Consulting has another white paper out. It's the third or fourth one I've read from her shop, and it's another good one.

Actors in the Play

Eric Lanke

image source I keep finding myself in discussions about the role of committees in association governance and management. Some folks think all committees must report to the Board. That is their natural home, they say. They're made up of volunteer members, after all.

Going on Vacation

Eric Lanke

image source What do you do when you go on vacation? No, not where do you go and what do you do there, but what do you do about all the people who may want to get a hold of you while you''re gone? In my association I try to make it as clear as possible. Vacation is for vacation.

Breaking the Ice

Eric Lanke

image source Last week I wrote about a facilitation workshop I recently attended--a workshop to learn how to be a better facilitator and how to teach others to do the same.

Team 46

Member Engagement and Association Building Blocks

Eric Lanke

image source Thanks to my co-presenters, Elizabeth Engel and Peggy Hoffman , and all the folks who joined us at our "Walking the Walk of Deep Member Engagement" learning lab at last week''s ASAE Marketing, Membership and Communications Conference.

Flipcharts Don't Lie

Eric Lanke

image source Two weeks ago, in Mental Rules for the Staff Retreat, Part 2 , I continued writing about the process I used to create my association''s values statement, despite some misgivings about the value of values statements I''ve previously shared and still hold.

Eric Lanke: Provocative Proposals for Change

Eric Lanke

I just finished reading an advance copy of Shelly Alcorn's "Provocative Proposals for Change," a report she authored based on Appreciative Inquiry interviews she conducted with more than 200 association executives

Leadership and U-Shaped Tables

Eric Lanke

image source I''m just returned from what was a very successful strategic retreat with the Board of Directors of my association. Like many of the Board meetings we''ve done before, we used a U-shaped table for several of the sessions. With the open end of the U facing a projection screen, we''ve found that it gives the Board members an equal opportunity to see and interact with each other and to view the many presentations we use to report progress and explore strategic concepts.

All Committees Are Not Created Equal

Eric Lanke

Got into a friendly argument with a colleague about last week's post , where I revisited an idea that I've discussed before : that program committees should report to an association's Chief Staff Executive, or CEO, and not its Board of Directors. His take? Absolutely not. Never.

On the Right Track

Eric Lanke

image source So we had a great time at the WSAE meeting last week with Humanize authors Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. In addition to the session they conducted for everyone, Notter and Grant also facilitated a private discussion with the association CEOs in attendance, which focused on the unique role that the staff executive has in changing and shaping the culture of any organization.

Team 41

Six Rules of Living Your Values: Conclusion

Eric Lanke

image source Over the last six weeks, I have tackled the six rules of living your values, as defined by Francois Nader, CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals in this HBR blog post. Those rules, and my posts about them, are: 1. Define the values in simple, sixth-grade language. Don’t post plaques on the wall declaring the values. Teach people what the values mean. Recruit people who naturally are inclined to live your values. Make values a primary filter for performance evaluations.

What Happens When Non-Board Members Attend Board Meetings?

Eric Lanke

image source We did something brand new at our latest Board meeting. For a while now, our Board has been organized into three task forces--each focused on one of the three strategic priorities of the organization.

Eric Lanke: Bucking the Trend

Eric Lanke

McKinley Advisors is out with the results of their 2012 Economic Impact on Associations study. I think it's their fifth one. Throughout the recent recession and slow climb back to prosperity it's been an interesting way to check the

The Importance of Sharing Survey Results

Eric Lanke

image source Like a lot of associations, mine is in the habit of surveying our members. We do a fair number of small, ad hoc surveys, but we also put a lot of time and energy into a biennial satisfaction survey.

The Limitations of Crowd-Funding for Associations

Eric Lanke

In many ways, associations are the original crowd-funded organizations. Long before the term became popular and proliferated across digital kingdoms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe, associations were gathering money from many to support programs and services that were valued by all.

Eric Lanke: Which Committee Are You On?

Eric Lanke

Here's a hypothetical for you. Let's say that you're an active volunteer in an association whose mission you care about. You serve on two committees for this association--one of which you chair. Because this association has

A Faster Horse

Eric Lanke

image source "If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse." We've all heard this quote attributed to Henry Ford. And if you don't know who that is, I'm sure you've heard one the dozen or so similar quotes attributed to Steve Jobs.

We Can Only See the Destination By Moving Towards It

Eric Lanke

image source These words came out of my mouth in a conversation with one of my staff people yesterday. Our association is venturing into a new area of activity--something we all know is necessary, but for which few of us have any natural aptitude.

Eric Lanke: Stop Calling It Strategic Planning

Eric Lanke

So I'm working my way through Humanize, and like most everyone else, I'm really enjoying it. This will probably be the first of several posts describing the thoughts it provokes for how I am and should be running my

I'm Not Building a Navy SEAL Team

Eric Lanke

image source Quick rant this week. I attend a lot of conferences where the focus is leadership and how to build and lead effective teams. One common type of speaker I see at these conferences is someone retired from the military (an ex-Navy SEAL Team member was the latest example), talking about their own experiences with team-building and team leadership. The talks are always interesting and inspiring.

Opposing Views Are Allowed to Co-Exist

Eric Lanke

I''ve been writing about a facilitation workshop I recently attended--a workshop to learn how to be a better facilitator and how to teach others to do the same. It was organized and led by Jeffrey Cufaude of Idea Architects.

Member Engagement? It's.Well, It's Complicated.

Eric Lanke

image source A big thanks goes out to the more than forty association professionals who joined me on Wednesday, September 4 for an informal discussion on member engagement.

Assessing Your Willingness for Dialogue

Eric Lanke

image source Four weeks ago, in On the Right Track , I wrote about some of the things I''m doing in my organization to diffuse leadership and decision-making across our hierarchical levels. It was partially inspired by the CEO-level discussion facilitated by Humanize authors Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant at a recent WSAE meeting. But that wasn''t the only thing that grew out of that meeting.

Team 31

Eric Lanke: Should Committees Report to the Board?

Eric Lanke

I've been thinking a lot about this question lately. It's a question, I know, that never even occurs to leaders in many associations. "Should committees report to the board?" " they might say. "Of course they should. Who else are

Six Rules of Living Your Values: Introduction

Eric Lanke

image source This HBR blog post on building a new company culture has been sitting in my inbox for a while. In it, Francois Nader, CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals, talks about how focusing on a new set of core values helped him turn that company around.

The Mission Driven Volunteer

Eric Lanke

image source I was interviewed and my association is featured as one of the case studies in the new white paper--The Mission Driven Volunteer--from Mariner Management & Marketing and Spark Consulting. What is mission-driven volunteering? Well, according to the white paper itself.

Accessibility vs. High Fidelity

Eric Lanke

image source Read an interesting blog post about the changing nature of music industry. According to the author, after generations of working to make the music being produced more accessible, the industry is changing its focus to deliver the highest quality sound experience possible.

Your Leader Is In Control

Eric Lanke

image source I do a fair amount of reading on leadership issues. And in doing so, I encounter the following sentiment--most recently in this Corner Office column --again and again. I have learned that leadership is all about demonstrating and exuding confidence.

Being Data Driven Is Harder Than It Sounds

Eric Lanke

image source This week I was struck by two charts from the 2014 Economic Impact on Associations Report published by McKinley Advisors. And as I explored them in more depth, I retaught myself a lesson about how data is not often what it appears to be at first blush.

When Consensus Is Not Enough

Eric Lanke

image source Sometimes I struggle to understand what's missing around the Board table. We've got smart people on the Board, people who are committed to the mission and goals of the association.

The Most Important Value of All: Self-Reflection

Eric Lanke

image source Two weeks ago, in In the Eye of the Beholder , I continued writing about the process I used to create my association''s values statement, despite some misgivings about the value of values statements I''ve previously shared and still hold.

Sharing Information Helps You Think

Eric Lanke

image source That''s one of the conclusions I''ve come to as I continue to take steps to better manifest a chosen behavior from my organization''s values statement in the day-to-day interactions around my office. I last wrote about this two weeks ago, in The Case for Sharing Information.

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Why We Don't Take Risks

Eric Lanke

image source I recently had a reason to re-review the four principles of innovation and the four barriers to adopting them in the association world that were identified as part of WSAE's White Paper on Innovation.

Eric Lanke: Don't Rush to Fill the Silence

Eric Lanke

This is one of the toughest lessons I've had to learn as a leader. And it is something I still don't always get right. In a staff meeting, on a conference call, at the Board table--there are invariably times when silence occurs, when

Eric Lanke: Who Revolves Around Who?

Eric Lanke

I've been reading a bunch of blog posts about people's reaction to ASAE's choice of James Carville and Karl Rove as General Session speakers at their upcoming Annual Meeting. Jamie Notter provides links and offers his

When Red Lights Mean Go

Eric Lanke

image source I just got back from an annual strategic retreat with the Board of Directors of my association. It always comes at the end of our fiscal year.