Association Management Blog

Greg Kohn

Recent Posts

Disruptive Standards

Posted by Greg Kohn on 2/24/16 3:08 PM

disruptive_standards.jpgWhen most people think of standards, they think of companies in an industry coming together to address common points of pain or to collaborate on technical specifications that would benefit the entire ecosystem. In other words, traditional standards efforts tend to support the "all boats rise" notion that when standards are developed and adopted, everyone wins. 

Read More

Topics: Technology Standards, Standards

A Powerful Mission Statement, in Two Words or Less

Posted by Greg Kohn on 2/12/16 10:11 AM

mission_statement.jpgWe've all been there: those tedious board meetings spent hammering out modifications to an organization's mission statement. After all, the not-quite-right mission statement is the reason why membership is down, adoption is low, and so forth. Of course it is! 

While I have always believed in the value of a crisp, succinct mission statement, I recently witnessed the power of boiling a mission statement down to its most simple form. The FIDO Alliance, one of our client organizations, exists simply to "eliminate passwords." Sure, the organization does have a wordier "official" mission statement, but the unofficial two-word version is really why its membership has grown significantly, its members are deeply engaged and –most importantly– it stands a great chance to actually achieve its audacious goal. 

Read More

Topics: Association Management, Mission Statement

Spinach and Standards: Much in Common

Posted by Greg Kohn on 9/22/15 7:00 AM

My neighbor is a spinach farmer. Because his work is so much different than mine, I ask him about it whenever I can. What I’ve learned most through our conversations is that in farming, timing is everything. This past week is a great example of that. Ordinarily my neighbor would have seeded for his spring crop last week, to ensure that the seedlings would mature enough to survive the first frost. He couldn’t do that, though, because our area received significant rain last week, softening the ground too much to accept the seeds. That meant, by his calculation, yesterday and today were the only two days available to get his spring crop planted. That his team’s plows kept running in the field until 3 am this morning demonstrated that he wasn’t taking any chances on missing that critical window. 

Read More

Topics: Standards

Demonstrate member value by frustrating your members

Posted by Greg Kohn on 2/4/15 7:00 AM

You’re right, that title seems really counterintuitive. Let’s be honest, it’s really never a good idea to frustrate your members. Ever. But a recent experience on my home front brought that concept to mind. Let me explain. 

Read More

Topics: Association Management Companies, Membership Value

Keep your Board members off email (at least during your meetings)

Posted by Greg Kohn on 1/21/15 12:50 PM

Are your in-person board meetings the ideal environment for your directors to do their email? (Or, worse, play the latest Angry Birds release?) Does your Board struggle to be conversational around critical or strategic topics? While every board is certainly different, below are some methods that have moved the needle within some of the most engagement-resistant groups: 

Read More

Topics: Meetings, Association Management, Board, Association Boards

The Three “I”s of Successful Tech Associations

Posted by Greg Kohn on 5/1/14 2:43 AM

As someone who's worked around technology associations for a long time, I often get asked: "So what are the secret traits of the groups that are the most successful?" Quite honestly, these secrets traits aren't really so secret. In fact, I like to call them the three "I"s. All of the better-performing organizations I have worked with have had at least one of these traits; some of the great ones have had all three.

Read More

Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Technology, Management, Membership, Leadership, Standards, Association Management Company

Maybe It's Time to Dust off that Old IPR Policy

Posted by Greg Kohn on 7/22/13 6:20 AM

For a technology consortium that plans to create any type of deliverables -- particularly specifications -- an intellectual property rights (IPR) policy is absolutely essential. Not having one will almost certainly discourage some or all participants from actively contributing to such efforts. Worse, adoption of your organization's specifications will almost certainly be limited if implementers are not sure what licensing rights they have or need. Consortia do themselves a big favor, then, by defining and making readily available IPR Policies as early into the organization’s life cycle as possible. What's more, associations are generally encouraged to develop such policies before any work on deliverables has begun. While all IPR Policy negotiations among members of a technical consortia can expect to get contentious at some point -- and why not, given the potential financial stakes involved -- the process only gets thornier when a late-to-bloom IPR Policy is the only thing standing in the way of technical progress.

Read More

Topics: Governance, Adoption, IPR, Specifications, Tech Consortia, Standards, Intellectual Property

Will it Fly?

Posted by Greg Kohn on 3/19/13 7:20 PM

One of my favorite business books is Will it Fly by Thomas McKnight, who among other ventures helped create the popular newspaper USA Today. As a serial entrepreneur and investor, McKnight decided to publish a book to guide new business owners around common missteps and pitfalls when starting a new venture. Someday I'd like to write a version of this book just for associations [after all, just because you can create a 501(c)(6) organization, it doesn't mean you should.] Until I get around to that project, I've boiled my "Will It Fly -- Association Edition" list to four main topics:

Read More

Topics: Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Launching an Association, Conference Planning, Membership, Association, strategic counsel, Budgeting, Experience

Mission Accomplished! (Or maybe not…) – Part II

Posted by Greg Kohn on 3/7/13 7:42 AM

In my last post, I wrote about some business-related issues associations and consortia should consider before they publish a specification. In this post, I'm going to cover the same topic, but from the perspective of looking at some things to consider on the technical side of an organization:

Read More

Topics: Working Groups, Consortia, Technical Specifications, Membership, Life Cycle, Association, Training

Mission Accomplished! (Or maybe not…)

Posted by Greg Kohn on 1/16/13 6:03 AM

For any trade association that develops specifications or other technical documents, publication is a tremendous milestone. It marks the end of a journey comprised of significant contributions from many member resources around the world. While it’s always a good idea to celebrate such an achievement within an association, it is important to remember that while publication of standard or technical document is the end of one process, it’s also the beginning of a new one. Many associations miss this point, leaving them unprepared to tackle their post-publication duties. In this blog post, I’m going to focus on the more business-oriented activities associations should focus on after a specification has been published. (In my next post, I’ll focus on the technically oriented activities that should be on the horizon around spec launch.)

Read More
badge-small

CONTRIBUTORS


Andy Freed
President & CEO

Greg Kohn
Executive Vice President

Bruce Rogers
Founder & Chairman

Terry Lowney
Senior Vice President, COO

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all

Follow Us