Association Management Blog

Winning Lessons from the World of Sports

Posted by Andy Freed on 5/14/14 4:00 AM

In Boston sports, these are “the good old days.” With the Sox winning championships, the Bruins contending for the Cup and Tom Brady slinging passes, it’s pretty fun to be a sports fan here. In honor of Boston sports, here’s what our four teams can teach associations:

From the Red Sox: “Know your role.” When a ball is hit up the middle in baseball, you never see the shortstop and second basemen collide as they both go for it. That’s because they know exactly where the other one will be.

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Governance, Association Management, Membership, Leadership, Experience, Standards

Meetings 5.0: Five Ways to Improve Your Events

Posted by Andy Freed on 1/14/14 6:34 AM

This week I’m speaking on a panel at the New England Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the session title is. But I know it has something to do with “innovations in meetings and programs.”

And while I’m not entirely sure of the topic, I’ve got some thoughts on how meetings are changing. Here’s my “high five.”

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Topics: Organizational Development, Governance, Association Management, Technology, Board of Directors, Conference Planning, Membership, Training, Association Management Company

Scouting for Talent within Your Association Membership

Posted by Andy Freed on 12/4/13 3:41 AM

New York Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, retired at the end of this baseball season. After all the years Rivera he’s spent in the league—he’s retiring at age 43—it’s easy to forget where he came from. But I won’t make you look it up. Rivera is a product of the New York Yankees farm system. (If you’re not a baseball fan, the farm system is a network of minor league teams that supports the major league teams—it’s where talent is developed).

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Topics: Operations, Governance, Association Management, Board of Directors, Membership, Experience, Association Management Company, Hiring an Association Management Company

Lessons in Association Management: How to Communicate Your Group’s Vision

Posted by Andy Freed on 11/27/13 3:38 AM

I recently read a great article in The New York Times about how challenging it will be for Microsoft to find its new CEO, given the diversity of businesses that the company represents. The article ends with a quote from Harvard Business School professor, David Yoffie:

“I think the fundamental question for the next CEO of Microsoft is, what is his vision for Microsoft?”

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Topics: Operations, Organizational Development, Governance, Board of Directors, Membership, Experience, Association Management Company, Hiring an Association Management Company

Why Your Professional Association Needs a Strategic Plan…Right Now

Posted by Andy Freed on 10/2/13 5:00 AM

What’s an eight-letter word for association management? Strategy. And even though it should be the driving force behind your professional association’s agenda, strategic plans are often lacking in their most basic elements—including the imperative to stay current.

Meg Whitman once described the evolution of eBay’s strategic mission in observing that strategy meetings went from being

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Topics: Operations, Starting an Association, Organizational Development, Governance, Membership, Technical Process, Association Management Company, Hiring an 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.

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

Board Room Health: Ending Slide-Induced Comas

Posted by Greg Kohn on 11/8/12 12:28 PM

In an earlier blog post, Andy Freed, Virtual’s President, encouraged association boards to avoid “Death by PowerPoint” in order to create more dynamic and productive meetings. Clearly not enough people read his entry. Case in point: Not so long ago I attended a full-day board meeting (which I did not facilitate) that featured 232 slides. (Yes, I counted them.) These 232 slides were distributed across 14 different slide decks. Only 10 of the slides had anything more than bulleted text on them; the 10 “special” slides had tables on them. There were zero graphics altogether. While the intention of this armament of slides was to inform the board about every slice of activity in the organization, in reality it created results that were utterly predictable, if not downright sad.

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Topics: Governance

Association's "To Don't" List

Posted by Andy Freed on 1/24/12 5:00 AM

Today marks 15 years since the publication of one of my favorite business books, Built to Last, by James Collins. Given the title, it’s appropriate that its lessons have been “built to last” as well—having stuck with me for the 15 years since I first read the book.

Collins writes of what it takes to make a company that survives and prospers for more than 50 years. He has examples of companies like Proctor and Gamble, surviving changes that make the changes of today pale by comparison—things like the advent of electricity or the transcontinental railroad.

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Topics: Operations, James Collins, Governance

We All Have Issues

Posted by Mary McRae on 1/17/12 8:00 AM

Yes, it's true.

If you're an association of any kind, chances are extremely high that at least one of your committees or working groups has a list of open items, or issues. It could be items that the group hasn't yet reached consensus on, parking lot items that the group hasn't yet had a chance to discuss, problems that have been identified but not yet resolved, or even an inventory of decisions it has already made.

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Topics: Governance, Technology, Technical Process, Standards

Five Ways to Get More From Your Board Meeting

Posted by Andy Freed on 9/29/11 5:00 AM

I go to over 200 Association Board meetings per year. Some are great. And some, well, a little less than great. As I think about what makes the great one’s work, a few simple rules come to mind:

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Topics: Operations, Governance, Board of Directors, BoA

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