Pandemic and Economic Recovery: Hope and Opportunity

Institute for Organization Management faculty member Bob Harris, CAE led a webinar based on the title of this blog and started with flexibility - your leadership and your staff.

It was a very positive message, it’s our time to share!  It’s our opportunity to show the value of your chamber to your members, non-members and the public in your community.

 

And part of that positive message is talking about an economic recovery not just Covid-19.  He went on to lay out some best practices for your chamber.

 

Communications:

  • Have a single spokesperson for your chamber throughout this process to have a consistent message;
  • Now is the time for that elevator speech (and it should be tight); and
  • Track and share good deeds.

Bob stressed you need to continue to recruit new memberships on the work you are doing.  Do you have an ROI Dues Value Calculator?  If so, now is the time to publicize it.  Do not stop sending those invoices.  If you’re out of business, you won’t be useful to anyone.  And a thought I’ll throw out there, have you thought about a GoFundMe site?

 

Board Governance

  • Extend terms if needed;
  • Now is the time to empower your executive committee in these times of possibly having trouble in getting a quorum at a full board meeting; and
  • Reduce meeting agendas and make sure you are using the consent calendar to your advantage.

He went on to talk about pausing your long-term plan and pivot to creating a recovery plan for the next three to six months.  Make it specific on how you’re going to help your members get back in the game.

 

You might want to set-up some short-term task forces to deal with specific issues and not worry about your standing committees at this time.  And remember, these task forces go away in the near future!

 

And he ended with:

  • Now is the time for advocacy to champion the interests of your members;
  • Repurpose your events - in-person to online programming; and
  • Work with your sponsors to find value for them and keep them involved in your organization.  Always keep your lines of communication open.

 Good luck!

Communicating and Collaborating in the Remote Work World

This blog post is based on a recent webinar I attended with Carol Vernon and Carol Hamilton from Communications Matter.

Building Trust - your members want to hear from you, we are the conveners to collaborate - show value to your members.

And don't forget to use one-on-one communications to ask your members how they are doing (i.e. phone calls).

Communication is the foundation for effective collaboration - who are your key stakeholders that you need to keep these lines of communication open?  Obviously, you need to keep in touch with all your members.

Don't oversell but do show up consistently for your members!

Think strategically when communicating with your external stakeholders - they identified 3 key best practices.  And don't be afraid to ask them how they want to communicate with your chamber.

1. Create a remote communications document based on:

  • What do they already know, and what resources do they already have?
  • What do they want from your chamber?
  • What do you want them to know, what do you need them to know?

2. Communicate with empathy, support and resiliency:

  • And listen to your members, ask how you can help, and deliver on that ask if you can.

3. Fine-tune your voice for remote communications:

  • How people interpret what you say in person - body language 55%, vocal 38%, words 7%.
  • What is the key for remote communications?  Listening is the key!

They went on to remind us of some best practices when conducting online meetings.

Effective Online Meeting Tips

  • Your virtual meetings should have a facilitator, chat monitor and tech support.  Match your tech tools with the speaker and participant skill sets.

During your online meeting:

  • Start by a soft opening to let people get comfortable, (i.e. ask a quick question, tell folks to mute their audio, etc.).
  • Create a visual focal point; and
  • Signal your turns - you want people to stay with you, especially online.

For resources on virtual meeting platforms go HERE.

They ended with a recommendation for a great read - Can You Hear Me, by Nick Morgan.

5 Steps to Crisis Recovery Planning

I recently attended a webinar on the title of this blog post presented by Pam Green, pamelajgreen.com, and the following comments are from her talk and PPT.

Stages of a Crisis

  • Warning
  • Risk Assessment
  • Response
  • Management
  • Resolution
  • Recovery

Each group needs to define where you are in the above stages and respond accordingly.  In the Covid-19 we’re in the two steps forward and one step back.

 

Focus on how you must change to do business not the “hole” of the pandemic.  What can you do to keep your chamber relevant?

 

The Leader’s Role in a Crisis:

  • Lead decisively – don’t be afraid to fail forward.
  • Frame and reframe the crisis – curate all the new information you can to make appropriate decisions.
  • Actively communicate – internally and externally with your stakeholders.  You want to be the go-to resource at the local level.
  • Flexibility – maintain a mindset of being radically flexible and prepare for the unexpected.
  • Credible intelligence – consider multiple viewpoints from the right sources.  As stated earlier, think being a curator on the information.

The discussion was fascinating!

 

5 Steps to Successful Crisis Recovery

  1. Recognize – is it over?  Or are we going to have to deal with this all over again?
  2. Recalibration – think about where you want to focus your program of work moving forward.  This might be a good time to kill some sacred cows.  For a blog post on that subject go HERE.  It’s important to be focused on the new normal in delivering value through the right technologies.
  3. Repair – articulate a communication strategy for your key stakeholders.
  4. Redirect – communicate more, not less, accentuate the positive, share best practices and resources that are out there.
  5. Reinvigorate – focus, focus, focus on value.  Deliver value to your members, they need it now more than ever!

She ended with authenticity and genuine concern for your members are priceless!  People will go with you if you’re authentic and genuine in dealing with the issue at hand.  It’s Covid-19 today, it will be something else on another day.

 

For more resources on crisis management go HERE.

Setting up a Covid-19 Task Force is a Proactive Strategy

How do we anticipate and adapt to the current Covid-19 situation? Roy McGrath, IOM and Michael Gellman, CPA conducted a webinar on creating task forces as a proactive strategy.

A place to start is to manage your focus, expertise and deliverables on a specific task.  If you do, that will lead to your outcomes.

 

Public health vs economics are the two key areas most chambers are focusing on right now for their small business members and the community at large.

 

They went on to talk about the different uses of task forces in these Covid-19 times:

 

Task Forces can be set-up to:

  • Help give advice on internal changes at your organization (strategic planning, etc.)
  • Reopening guidance for your small business members.
  • How you will conduct future events for your chamber members based on the latest information from the local and state health care professionals.
  • Safe work environment for chamber staff when they re-engage back in the office.

They gave some best practices advice you should think about when forming a task force:

  • The task force should be expert-driven, and it should have external partners.
  • It’s key to set expectations for the task force with clear roles and duties of its members (3-5 task force members).
  • Task forces give advice and information and have no direct authority or approval functions, that’s the role of your board.
  • Keep each task force focused on their specific issue and not stray from that task.
  • Task forces should report to CEO and then secondarily the executive committee.
  • Communications should be clear both ways.
  • Weekly meetings might be a place to start.  You can adjust as you move forward.
  • Set a 90-day task force period with the option to extend if needed.
  • Transparency and messaging is key from senior management of the chamber.  It’s about telling your story!

They ended with reminding those participating that the four key points of a task force:

  1. Resource to your chamber;
  2. Can be nimble;
  3. A team of specialists; and
  4. It’s your consulting team to provide solutions.

A task force can help you manage through these unprecedented times.  Set-up your task force/s today!

Board Selection: What’s Your Role?

If you’re like most other chambers you’re selecting one sixth of your board each year.  That statement is based on a typical board appointment of two years, renewable for three terms.

Does that sound familiar?

Ok.  Now what role do you play in identifying or selecting new board members.

I’ve written many times in the past that you want three things from a board member:
  • Passion
  • Intellect
  • Money
The other piece of the puzzle that many have written about in the past is getting the right skill-set on your board.  I couldn’t agree more!

What does that mean?

In the simplest of terms, do you have a lawyer, CPA, educator, transportation expert, workforce, economic development and technology experts, etc. on your board?  Do you have diversity as it relates to size of businesses, geography, ethnic and yes, all age groups in the workforce (Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and now Gen Z)?  All can contribute and play a vital role in the conversation.

The more diverse your board the greater the conversation.  Embrace it!

Now back to your role in identifying and selecting new board members.  If you don't, you should have a file in your desk drawer of potential new board members.  Are you grooming new board members by asking them to serve on committees or task forces first?  If not, you should.  What a great training ground for future board participation.

What you don’t want is a board made up of what I’ll call, “friends of friends.”  Whether you’re officially on the nominating committee or not, you at least can fill the pipeline with quality candidates.

That’s the CEO’s role, at a minimum, in the volunteer selection process.  For more information on board management go HERE.

Good luck!

Chairman/CEO Partnership

Yes, I said partnership in the title.  At the end of the day, if you don’t have a partnership with your chief volunteer, you’re not in a good place.  Not for you and not for the organization.

We all know that the board, led by the Chairman, sets the policy and direction of your chamber, but it is the CEO that implements that policy with his or her staff.

The strength of the relationship between the Chairman and CEO will have a direct impact on the success of the chamber and its program of work.  You must have open and regular communication with your board Chairman.

And then there’s – Trust!

Without it you will have no partnership.  You must both come from a place where you trust each other.  You both need to be accountable for the work of the chamber and its success!

The CEO gets a new Chairman every year.  And each year that can bring new challenges and opportunities in the relationship between the two.

The Chairman and CEO should always stay focused on the two being aligned, focused and share the same vision for the Chamber.

For resources on the Chairman/CEO partnerships go HERE.

Elements of Good Governance

I was recently reading the 2020 ASAE’s Board Brief and was fascinated by the chapter on governance and the research done by their Foundation on the subject matter.

The data’s interesting and they broke it down into the following areas:

Policies and Procedures – make sure your manuals are well documented and followed.

Structure and Function – what is the size of your board and is it working as well as how man board meetings are you conducting a year?

Diversity Goals – do you have a plan and are you tracking your progress?

Self-assessment – are you surveying your board members and asking how they feel about their participation and effectiveness?

Performance Evaluation – do you have a formal reporting mechanism to your board or membership of the results?

Goal Setting – do you set goals (think scorecards) as a way of tracking your goals?

Preparation and Training – are you conducting that board orientation for new board members outlining their responsibilities: Duty of Care, Loyalty and Obedience (which I’ve written about before and can be found HERE)?  And are you giving outside training on how to read a nonprofit’s financial statements?

For the original source for the article go HERE.