Tag Archives: People

Getting It Right.

What are the tough trade-offs your association never seems to get quite right?  There is no shortage of ways to go wrong.  If every organization exists only to serve and leaders by extension exist only to serve those who are serving others, there is one area that rises to the top pretty quickly.  In the “risks versus rewards” world of being a leader bringing the right talent, to the right project (or problem) at the right time will rank head and shoulders above all the rest in 2010.

Paul Russell Global Head of Learning and Leadership Development at Google makes the point.  “Development can help great people be better—but if I had a dollar to spend, I’d spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door.”  Associations face very real challenges in being certain they have the right talent in the right places.  A recent announcement by the American Petroleum Institute that it was laying  off 40 people was also coupled with an announcement that a “handful of job openings for positions with specialties in new forms of communications: social media, grassroots advocacy and digital outreach” would be available.  The long held educator’s axiom—we are educating students for jobs that don’t yet exist— is coming true.  Being an SEO specialist has real currency in today’s marketplace, but that job didn’t exist five years ago.

Which brings us to your organization.  What talents and skills are essential to the future growth and well-being of your organization?  Where will those talents come from?  How will you find them or perhaps grow them in 2010?  These are serious questions deserving serious discussion time among your leadership team.  A Center for Work–Life Policy  2008 survey shows, the number of employees expressing loyalty to employers plunged from 95 percent to 39 percent. Likewise, the Academy of Management Journal found that after a round of layoffs, voluntary attrition spikes by as much as 31 percent.  The report suggests that precisely the wrong people — those who have the strongest track records and brightest employment prospects even in a recession—are most likely to leave.  Generic “rightsizing” and careless talent management doesn’t make associations stronger, it makes them weaker and more vulnerable.  That’s would be exactly the wrong way to start 2010.

No Dues. Just The Experience.

A Contribution to Acronym’s Big Ideas theme…

If your association couldn’t charge dues, would your members pay you for the experience of belonging? It’s a serious question. The dues value versus member benefit proposition has been thriving for decades.  Associations have been selling it and thankfully there have been an abundant number of buyers.  Until now.  With the economy in the doldrums, the enlightened self-interest of members sends them in search of cheaper alternatives to the services and solutions your association customarily provides.  Dues it seems are dispensable.  Experiences however are not.

Our appetite for self-revelation—the experience of learning, seeing, feeling or living into something new—appears insatiable.  And if we can’t experience it ourselves, many it seems will gladly live vicariously through others.  There is a hallucinatory pastime feeding a celebrity saturated culture captured by People, US Weekly, OK, Star, and In Touch magazines, the E! television channel, and myriad alleged newscasts about stars.  While White House gate crashers, adulterous governors and golfers, misanthropic politicians, and avaricious financiers rise and fall on the swells of the voracious 24/7 celebrity news cycle, real people and serious work is being done elsewhere.

While the desire for meaningful experiences has been twisted by a popular, media-drenched culture, there are social entrepreneurs, innovative nonprofits and forward thinking leaders busily creating experiences so emotionally compelling they are fueling an astonishing rise of donors, members and funding sources unseen in previous decades.  It is important to remember that although the Internet boom and bust of the late 1990’s slowed growth, it did not eliminate innovation.  Likewise today’s economic downturn has not destroyed all of the world’s wealth.

If as some suggest, the world is will turn away from the material and financial excesses of past decades, then surely the renewed human desire for revelation and fulfillment offers an unbounded opportunity for associations, professional societies and the philanthropic community to illuminate and elevate the experience of belonging well beyond dues.  It is beyond time to think about it.  It is time to act.