Eric Lanke

Engineering for Eighth Graders

Eric Lanke

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

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.

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.

Annual Conference Mode

Eric Lanke

On the day this posts, my association's Board meeting and Annual Conference will be two short weeks away. This has traditionally been my time to enter what I call my "Annual Conference Mode." What does that mean?

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.

Avoiding the Rubber Stamp

Eric Lanke

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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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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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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.

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.

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%.

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.

Program Goals and Marketing Objectives

Eric Lanke

I've been thinking this week about metrics for the marketing and communications function of my organization. Specifically, what's the best way to measure the contribution of our marketing efforts in the achievement of our program goals? Maybe I need to explain that. In my organization there are program goals. We want to recruit new members. We want to increase the number of members attending our conferences. We want more members to volunteer their support for our workforce development programs.

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.

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 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.

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 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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