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Mind Your Management Style

Mind Your Management Style

“Develop a daily habit of introspection.” According to Harvard Business School Senior Fellow Bill George, this was the Dalai Lama’s simple response when he asked him how the nation could develop a new generation of compassionate, mindful leaders. In a recent article for the Huffington Post, George acknowledged that while this would be no easy feat, many companies have taken steps in the right direction to promote mindful practices. He offered these examples:

  • Google trains 2,000 engineers in meditation each year.
  • Financial services firms Blackrock and Goldman Sachs offer mindfulness courses for their employees.
  • After partnering with Duke University to study meditation and yoga, Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer, now offers similar programs to all employees as well as its insured customers.

George also offered this observation about the connection between leaders’ emotions and their ability to make good decisions: “Our hearts are where essential leadership qualities like passion, compassion and courage reside. By practicing mindfulness, mindful leaders exhibit high levels of self-awareness and intentionality in their actions.”

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Board Battles: 3 Strategies for Resolving Conflict Effectively

Board Battles: 3 Strategies for Resolving Conflict Effectively

As much as we all might want to get along, conflicts often arise in group settings despite everyone’s commitment to shared goals and objectives. This certainly can be the case with association boards.

In our travels, we’ve heard a variety of scenarios that created conflicts between staff and board members or among board members themselves. Ironically the diversity of perspectives that associations strive for in their boards of directors can be a source of conflict.

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Going for Good Governance: Starting a Conversation about Change

Going for Good Governance: Starting a Conversation about Change

"Two-thirds of study participants reported a time commitment of three or more years to implement governance changes."

—ASAE Foundation 2013 Good Governance Survey

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Understanding Stress: Challenge vs. Killer

Understanding Stress: Challenge vs. Killer

Hard data indicates that non-leaders experience greater stress in the workplace than their bosses and it often has a negative effect on their performance, according to Michael Lee Stallard, author of Connection Culture (ASTD, 2015).

Stallard is a leading expert on how emotional connections increase employee engagement and strategic alignment to boost productivity, innovation and organizational performance. He believes it’s critical for organizational leaders to understand the distinction between two primary types of stress: challenge and killer.

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Tech Training that Works: What Your Association Needs to Consider

Tech Training that Works: What Your Association Needs to Consider

“Most teachers are very busy. They are already juggling a great many things just to do their job. Try to make training as convenient and appropriate as possible, and provide teachers with time to learn the technology before expecting them to use it.”

—Robin Smith, educational technology specialist, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Pennsylvania

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Get Out of the Weeds

Get Out of the Weeds
  • "I can’t afford to relax because things are too busy right now."
  • "With so many deadlines and demands, some priorities will have to be sacrificed."
  • "It’s too crazy now; I’ll focus better once things settle down."

If these statements sound like you, you’ve likely entered what author Jesse Sostrin calls the danger zone, which he says is the place at which “shrinking resources and increasing demands stress our capacity to the breaking point.” It is also at this point that leaders find themselves pushed out into the weeds, an overwhelmed place where according to Sostrin, “it’s easy to get into reactionary mode where priorities get blurred by the fatigue of doing more with less.”

In a recent post for Leading Blog, Sostrin asserts, “The bottom line is that you can't lead if you’re lost.” So how do leaders get out of the weeds and return to the performance zone where they take a balanced approach to meeting demands and manage well again the challenges of the day?

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Send Them to Technology Planning Summer Camp

Send Them to Technology Planning Summer Camp

Summer camp isn’t just for kids. Have you ever thought about setting a specific block of time to focus on technology planning and evaluate staff members’ skills?

That’s essentially what the Nebraska Library Commission did by hosting Technology Planning Summer Camp 2: Don’t Just Survive, Thrive! The event was designed to help libraries that received grants as part of the Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities initiative make the most of the new technology available to them. This is a great idea that associations might adapt for their organizations.

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Making Board Presentations: 3 Tips for Being More Effective

Making Board Presentations: 3 Tips for Being More Effective

The last thing you need is for your association’s board members to become bored during presentations at your meetings. The key to making board presentations more effective is careful attention to planning and identifying the goals you want to achieve.

Consider these three tips from Kip Knight at Thomvest Ventures for nailing your next board presentation:

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Summer Planning: 4 Tips for Teachers and Your Association

Summer Planning: 4 Tips for Teachers and Your Association

Now is a great time to start planning for the final quarter of this year and the beginning of the New Year. We tend to underestimate how much time we actually need for planning. Then before we know it, we are in the throes of our day-to-day activities and planning takes a backseat to more immediate concerns.

To allow sufficient time for planning, associations might take a lesson from teachers — the proverbial ants, who make the most of their summers by planning for the next school year. Here are four summer planning tips that Lessonplans.com suggests for teachers that might also be applicable to your association:

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Measuring Performance: 5 Characteristics of a Good Metric

Measuring Performance: 5 Characteristics of a Good Metric

“A metric is a meaningful measurement taken over a period of time that communicates vital information about a process or activity, leading to fact-based decisions.”

—Professional Practice Statement on Performance Measurement & Metrics, Association Forum of Chicagoland

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The Download on Dreamforce: A First-Time Attendee’s Survival Guide

The Download on Dreamforce: A First-Time Attendee’s Survival Guide

Attending Dreamforce for the first time can be overwhelming. There’s so much to do and see while you’re in San Francisco. With this premiere event a little over a month away, we wanted to offer first-time attendees some suggestions for making the most of their time at Dreamforce. As veterans of the event, we’ve got a good idea of what you’ll want to do before you go as well as while you’re there.

Before you go

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Off the Ice: A Lesson in Leadership from Figure Skater Christine Gao

Off the Ice: A Lesson in Leadership from Figure Skater Christine Gao

Knowing when to lead and when to let go is often a difficult transition for leaders of organizations. They may have achieved some level of success in their endeavors; yet they want to do even more. However, sometimes the better decision they could make is to recognize they’ve done their best and begin a new chapter.

Champion figure skater Christine Gao’s decision to retire and “start college all over again” illustrates this point. Gao first enrolled at Harvard University in 2012, but decided to take a yearlong leave to train full-time in hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Unfortunately, she didn’t make the team.

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Beyond Board Books: Implementing Online Portals for Directors

Beyond Board Books: Implementing Online Portals for Directors

The traditional board book is bulky and time consuming to produce. If an organization is shipping them to its board members, they are costly as well. Fortunately, there’s a much better alternative.

Many organizations have developed means for communicating with their board members electronically before, after and during meetings. Some are relying on email messages while others have advanced to the point where they’ve implemented web pages or online portals (communities) for their boards.

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CRM Counts: Usage Trends

CRM Counts: Usage Trends

Businesses in almost every sector, including associations and other nonprofit organizations, recognize the importance of managing customer relationships effectively and efficiently. In recent years, more and more of them have turned to CRM software to facilitate this process of managing and analyzing customer behaviors and preferences. However, the question still remains: How are businesses actually using CRM technology?

Capterra’s 2015 CRM Industry User Research Report offers some answers. Earlier this year, Capterra surveyed 500 businesses of all types to compare their CRM usage and identify trends. Here are two key findings from the survey:

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My Top Three Session Picks for ASAE’s Annual Meeting

My Top Three Session Picks for ASAE’s Annual Meeting

With the opening session of ASAE’s Annual Meeting in Detroit about a week away, I wanted to share my top session picks. No doubt all of the speakers at this year’s meeting have important insights to offer, but I chose My Top Three based on the recent trends that we’ve observed while working with associations to either identify or implement a new technology solution.

This first is “Data Governance: What It Is, Why Your Association Needs It, and How to Get Started.” During the session, attendees will learn about the elements of a sound data governance program and hear from a peer who has implemented such a program. One of the co-presenters is Wes Trochlil, President, Effective Database Management LLC, who we have featured on this blog, and we continue to be impressed with his approach to addressing this key area of data management.

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Building on Board Members’ Relationships: 3 Questions You Need to Ask

Building on Board Members’ Relationships: 3 Questions You Need to Ask

Determining how people in Hollywood are connected to Kevin Bacon has become the stuff of legend and much laughter. As comical as it may seem, you might want to try a similar exercise with your association’s board members.

How much do you really know about their connections and networks outside your organization? In a recent article for About.com, Josh Mail, chief marketing officer at Relationship Science, writes, “Your board is not just for fundraising or decision-making. Its relationship capital is worth a lot more.”

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Casting Customers: Build Their Profiles and They Will Come

Casting Customers: Build Their Profiles and They Will Come

“....anyone that may have an interest in your nonprofit organization’s products, benefits and services,”...

William D. Pawlucy, founder and CEO of management consulting firm Association Options, offered this definition of customer in his recent article about how technology has impacted the nonprofit membership model. I like his definition, but I also think it’s a broader one than many associations might have considered in the past.

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App of the Month: Cloudingo

App of the Month: Cloudingo

Ding Those Duplicates in Your Data

Yes, there probably is an app for that, for just about anything you want to accomplish professionally and personally. But how do you know which apps are the best ones for your association?

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Keeping Your Best on Board: 3 Strategies for Retaining Board Members

Keeping Your Best on Board: 3 Strategies for Retaining Board Members

To hear some associations tell it, good board members can be hard to find. Once your association has them, you certainly want to keep them.

In a previous post, I highlighted three scenarios that might drive board members away. This time I would like to highlight some important strategies for keeping your best board members.

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The Shift to “As a Service”: Are You Ready?

The Shift to “As a Service”: Are You Ready?

Recent findings from a study, conducted by HfS Research and sponsored by Accenture, confirm the importance of a trend that we’ve been monitoring for quite some time: the shift to delivery of highly scalable, plug-and-play services on-demand through an “as-a-service” model.

According to Information Management contributor Bob Violino’s recap of the study’s findings, 68 percent of 716 organizations surveyed are not yet prepared for this shift, reporting that their core processes will not be delivered as-a-service for five or more years.

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