Eric Lanke

I Want the Right Pageviews

Eric Lanke

This week's blog post is partly inspired by this post on Seth Godin's blog. In it, he makes the case that the idea of "reach" is overrated. Why do you care if you can, for more money, reach more people? Why wouldn’t it make more sense to reach the right people instead? I agree entirely.

Are Site Visits an Art or a Science?

Eric Lanke

This past week I was on the road again -- this time siting a couple of properties for a future Board strategy retreat. My current association takes the word "retreat" pretty seriously.

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Budgets and Bandwidth

Eric Lanke

Budgets and bandwidth -- two words that have received a lot of attention from me this week.

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Associations Are Not Responsible For Hotel Rooms That Go Unused

Eric Lanke

A while back I wrote a kind of mini-series on this blog I called Paradoxes in Association Management , which I described as the counter-intuitive practices that we must embrace if we want to be successful. I'm not sure if this one really qualifies, but I'm going to try and frame it that way.

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The Carver Guide Series on Effective Board Governance by John Carver and Miriam Mayhew Carver

Eric Lanke

Back in 2007 I read Boards That Make a Difference , which lays out the Carver Model of Policy Governance in book form. This series is comprised of twelve short pamphlets, intended to be read by Board members, that explains and accentuates important portions of that overall Model.

Risk and Reward

Eric Lanke

I think I've written on this blog before about the Technology Roadmap that my association maintains for the industry we represent.

Clarity Is Fleeting

Eric Lanke

I was on the road for much of this past week. I was attending one of my association's major workforce development programs in and around Denver, Colorado, but where I was and what I was doing is not really relevant for the purposes of this post.

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The Tightrope

Eric Lanke

Sometimes I feel exactly like the tightrope walker in the picture accompanying this post -- out on a thin and dangerous wire, leaving one position of safety with the hope of reaching another, alone, and with only the balance pole of my wits and my association's mission to stabilize me.

Back on Campus

Eric Lanke

I took a short break this week to do a college visit with my 17-year-old son. He's thinking about studying engineering (or math), and so we've been touring a couple of relevant universities to help him decide where he does and does not want to apply.

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Always On the Go

Eric Lanke

I had a day this week that defied logic. In the office at 7:00 AM, on the road at 9:30 AM, a conference presentation at 11:30 AM, back on the road at 12:30 PM, a conference call in the car at 1:00 PM, a planning meeting back in the office at 3:00 PM.

Engineering for Eighth Graders

Eric Lanke

My association sponsors an outreach and education program for eighth graders.

Staying Ahead of Your Members

Eric Lanke

There's an old saying among association executives. To be successful, you need to stay ahead of your members. but not too far.

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Looking Back From a Feeling of Triumph

Eric Lanke

My daughter plays the piano and the violin.

Planning for Staff Dinners

Eric Lanke

This week we had a planning meeting for our upcoming Annual Conference. Because our Annual Conference is popular with members this year, and because we ran out of sleeping rooms at our conference hotel, we've moved our staff to another property about a mile and a half down the road.

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.

Closing the Office vs. Working From Home

Eric Lanke

This past week brought the Polar Vortex to the Midwest and with it record-breaking temperatures well below zero.

Avoiding the Rubber Stamp

Eric Lanke

Phone Interviews Are No Longer Just a Skills Check

Eric Lanke

My association is hiring again, and this week I spent a lot of time doing a series of phone interviews. The phone interview has always been a key part of my screening process. If anyone were to ask me, I would have said that I use the phone interview to screen for the skills I'm looking for, and then use the in-person interview to screen for values and cultural fit. And this time, things started very much on that footing. My questions were very much about skills.

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.)

Strategy Development and Deployment

Eric Lanke

Couple of conversations this week with members of my association's Board on the differences between strategy development and strategy deployment. I probably need to provide some background first. My Board recently decided to change our cycle of strategic planning.

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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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.

Give Me Free Afternoons

Eric Lanke

This post in Associations NOW recently caught my eye, arguing, as it does, for association conferences that span a fewer number of days in recognition of the increasing desire for "work-life balance" among association members. I've got a different take.

Don't Put Association Benefits Before Member Outcomes

Eric Lanke

Amanda Kaiser on her Smooth the Path blog had a good reminder last month for all us association professionals about the importance of speaking to members in a language they understand.

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.

The Association CEO Handbook by Paul A. Belford

Eric Lanke

The subtitle here is “A Personal Guide to Leadership and Career Fulfillment in Association Management.” How it came into my possession I no longer remember, but my copy is signed by the author himself. Sept 25, 2013 Eric - Thought you might find this of interest.

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.

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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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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The Importance of Interviewing for Values

Eric Lanke

I interviewed a candidate for a position my association is looking to fill this week. I think I've written before about how interviews are one of those places where the values of an organization need to come into play, and my experience this week was a great illustration of why.

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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My Top 5 Blog Posts of 2018

Eric Lanke

As we end another year, here's a look back at the five posts on this blog that received the most page views in 2018.

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.

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.

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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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%.

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.