Eric Lanke

The Right Way

Eric Lanke

It's budget time at the association I work for.

Participation Tracking Is Not for the Faint of Heart

Eric Lanke

We track our members. We don't use face recognition software, metadata, or complicated algorithms. We use an even more diabolical mechanism. Microsoft Excel. What am I talking about?

System 130

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.

X Matrix by Darrell Casey

Eric Lanke

There’s a long subtitle here: “Strategy Deployment and Execution Process for Breakthrough Business Performance.”

The Chairman's Gift Revisited

Eric Lanke

I wrote a blog post back in July 2012 called The Chairman's Gift. It's a pretty popular post, making most of my year-end Top Five lists, and capturing the eighth most number of pageviews from among the more than 600 posts that have appeared on this blog.

Two Kinds of Association Executives

Eric Lanke

There are two kinds of association executives. Those that come from the industry their association represents, and those that come from the field of association management. I am the latter.

Customer Service Not Worth Emulating

Eric Lanke

A bit of a rant this week. On my most recent business trip, a staff member of mine rented a car for us. She is not a "preferred" member of the rental car company she worked with, so she had to stand in line and wait to be served. It was awful.

Contacts of Quality, Not Just Quantity

Eric Lanke

I lead a trade association. That means that our members are technically companies, not people; but, of course, the companies in question are made up of people, and we work hard to maintain good contacts and communications with those people.

Explaining Red Lights Is Good, But That Doesn't Make Them Not Red

Eric Lanke

This article on Forbes.com caught my eye this week.

Budgets and Bandwidth

Eric Lanke

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

Cost 158

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?

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.

System 141

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.

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.

Course 141

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.

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.

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.

Denver 141

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.

Tools 141

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.

Course 141

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.

Looking Back From a Feeling of Triumph

Eric Lanke

My daughter plays the piano and the violin.

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.)

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.

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.

Course 169

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.,

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.

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.

Tips 158

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.