Governance: Balanced Boards

There are a lot of books and articles on the subject of this blog title and I’d like to highlight the ideas put forth by Glenn Tecker at Tecker International LLC, in a slide deck he recently shared with the association community.

He starts out by talking about the 3 key attributes you should look for when identifying potential new board members.

 

Skill set – marketing, lobbying, legal, finance, fundraising, etc.?

 

Diversity – this would include but not limited to generations, geographic, industry sector, gender, ethnic, etc.?

 

Experience – what experience do they have in the community, working on a board and knowing the work of the chamber?

 

The slide deck included a list of the “Six Key Attributes of Board Members.”  This list below is verbatim from his slide deck (Copyright 2020 Tecker International LLC).

  • The ability to think strategically and analytically and to effectively communicate thoughts and the reasons for them.
  • Possession of earned respect of other key stakeholder group members.
  • The ability to work well with others as a member of a collaborative group with group decision-making authority and an understanding of the fiduciary duties of loyalty, care, and obedience.
  • A demonstrated understanding of the differences between “oversight” and “supervision.”
  • An earned reputation for emotional maturity, personal integrity, and honesty.
  • A demonstrated familiarity with the body of knowledge related to both the process for which the group is responsible as well as the substantive content of the subject area within which decisions are choices will have to be made.

I wrote about the Duty of Care, Duty of Loyalty and Duty of Obedience of board members in a previous blog post that can be found HERE.

 

I’ve also talked about creating job descriptions for potential board members in previous blog posts.  Have you thought about creating a set of interview questions to ask your prospective new board members?  This is where you may want to go back to the skill set and attributes comments above for specific examples.

 

Remember, these new board members will be with the organization for the next six years, if you’re like most chambers who have two year terms renewable for three terms, and picking the right ones is key to your and your organizations success!


For more resources on board governance go HERE.

Connecting with People on Facebook

I attended a fascinating webinar presented by Jannelle Watson with Facebook.

The following are my notes from her session.

She separated her discussion into four different areas; the basics, the tools, content strategy and resources.

The Basics

  • You need to be on a Facebook page not a profile
  • 218 M active every month
  • 166 M return every day
  • 156 M use Facebook on mobile every day
  • 90% of discovery happens on mobile.  Optimize for mobile.
  • Use simple vertical images and graphics, and remember, less is more! 
  • Ensure page security.  Set strong passwords, two-factor authentication.

 The Tools

  • Comment moderation.  Comment policy, profanity filter and page moderation.
  • Facebook Live - most engagement.  10x the comments while Live.
  • Live Premieres - schedule and debut on-demand videos as Live moments.
  • Facebook Groups - you can tie it to your page.  A great resource to continue conversations with select attendees.
  • Events - tool used to promote your events.
  • Messenger - send important messages to your subscribers or use to set auto responses.
  • Messenger Rooms
  • Stories - show your personality.  You’re at the top tray when your people sign into Facebook.  You can use it to interact with your members.  Remember, your story goes away after 24 hours.
  • Facebook and IG ads - paid advertisements vs organic reach. 

Content Strategy


What Works?  Make sure it’s authentic, interactive, timely and consistent and varied.

  • Authentic - make it feel personal and a connection to the community;
  • Interactive - answer questions from your members, go Live, like and reply to comments and tag other pages;
  • Timely - discuss hot topics, breaking new (i.e. press releases or program deadlines) and write quality long-form content.  This can be cut and segmented and promoted on Twitter; and
  • Consistent and varied - develop a content calendar (for a previous blog post on that subject go HERE), post regularly, aim for daily posts and use a variety of post types, photos, videos, stories, links and Facebook live.

Resources

  • Google Facebook Resources
  • Fundraising tool for 501 c3’s only
  • Facebook speakers are free
  • Facebook Live Producer
  • Facebook.com/gpa - has everything she talked about
  • Facebook Help

Great tips to take advantage of this social media platform.

Monetizing Virtual Events

I recently attended a webinar on the title of this blog post by a senior staff member of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

It was a timely session on how to pivot and monetize your virtual events.

She led a discussion on how to pivot your program of work and redirect your resources (strategic plan) to show value for your members.
 
Redirect your priorities and define your core competencies. Focus on the short-term and that may mean creating a new strategic plan.
 
Identify the opportunity - convene, create free resources to help your members gain an advantage.
 
She went on to talk about how they created a Business Support Series - twice a week programming, two experts, hosted by the Chamber CEO and Sponsor (think revenue).
 
They sold four-week sponsorships (eight episodes) with logo placement and introduction of speakers.
 
Sponsors were allowed to ask speakers a question at the end.  These webinars are fully scripted programs.  The key to make these programs successful is to lead with quality content.
 
Identify sponsors and align a sponsor with the content you plan to highlight.  All sponsors get the same deal.
 
When identifying sponsors, think companies who are doing well and have something to sell.
 
Create a special landing page on your website for this series and you can archive the meeting and any collaterals you might want to share with members and non-members for future reference and selling opportunities.
 
Things to think about when creating this series:
 
  • Consistency
  • Cost
  • Frequency
  • Benefits
  • Urgency
 
Get out there and monetize something.  For a resource on monetizing your virtual events go HERE.

Good luck!

Creating Member Experiences and Engagement

Shari Pash is an Institute for Organization Management faculty member and I always like to attend her webinars.

Here are my notes from a presentation sponsored by Institute.

 

Emphasis on the overall experience of your programs.  You need to be creative and innovate moving forward.  Digital is the new normal.

 

She posed the question.  What’s the holistic member experience?

 

Transactional vs Relational?

 

  • Transactional - looking for that dollar for dollar value.
  • Relational - investment as a way of doing business, having their back and industry while keeping it personal.

 

She went on to talk about sponsor experiences - matching up a company with a specific event or program of work (think thought leadership).  What about a happy hour on a topic of the sponsor?

 

You could send a bottle of wine, have it reviewed by a Sommelier and then have the sponsor present on a specific topic that your members would be interested in.  Your event is digital but the wine tasting makes it an experience too!

 

How are experiences created?  Your experiences for your members need to show emotion, make interactions personal, and interesting.

 

She talked about micro-moments, different experiences along the way that creates loyalty to your chamber.  They can be different things for different businesses.

 

It’s all about how you make your members feel!  You remember the famous quote from Maya Angelo, “people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

 

I’ve said it here before, it’s about the member not about you.  How are you helping them solve problems in good times and in bad?  If you have specific examples, repurpose and communicate that through your social media channels.

 

She talked about your A, B, and C members and how to create experiences for all three (they will be different).

 

Your A members should be your key focus upfront.  They may be your high dollar members or your altruistic members, those that contribute because they believe in what you do on behalf of business and the community at large.

 

She talked about reviewing your digital experience for members and do you need to update it?  Think about creating a digital plan, especially for your nonmembers.

 

Good advice!

 

How are you engaging with your members or your potential members?

 

Don’t get short-sighted by not looking long-term.  You’ve heard the phrase, “this too shall pass.”  As we know, in a K economic recovery, not all businesses are hurting, but some are hurting more than others.  Create a foundation for the future and how you will engage with your members moving forward.

 

“Support the Business Community” - that could be your “relationship” message.  Remember, we talked about transactional vs relationships earlier in this blog post.  This could be powerful and it’s the message that resonates with that altruistic member.

 

Shari went on to talk about experience marketing, connecting with existing members through your brand and messaging.

 

Your messaging should be authentic, organic, conversational while making connections with your members.

 

Continue on building a strong community!

 

For more resources from Shari go HERE.

Chamber Mergers and Alliances: Stronger Together

I attended a fascinating ACCE webinar, on the title of this blog post, with CEO's with experience on the subject matter.

The topic of mergers has been around for a while, but now more than ever, the discussion is happening more and more, in communities around the country.

The following are my notes in a rapid-fire discussion based on their presentation.

They started by discussing both the anatomy of a merger and the challenges of a merger.

Anatomy of a Merger
 
  • You need two strong chambers and two strong CEO’s.
  • You can build a bigger, better and stronger chamber for the community.
  • What can you do better together?  Advocacy, programming, sponsorships, etc.?
  • Desperate or aspirational?  That’s the bottom line when chambers are thinking about a merger.  Mergers will have a better chance if they are aspirational.
  • Hire an outside consultant to facilitate the hard questions (knowing that each CEO could facilitate a discussion, but it allows a 3rd party to say the things that need to be said, while keeping/leaving the CEO’s whole).
  • One committee to do board due diligence (keep it small), and make sure you have representatives from both chambers on that committee.
  • Identify the sacred cows of each chamber.
  • What are the non-negotiable's (i.e. no staff lay-offs, etc.)?
  • Should both offices be retained with new name?
  • Should the new chamber be led by co-CEO’s?  Not the best model but a big hurdle for most mergers would be removed, in the short-term.
 
Challenges of a Merger
 
  • Voting volunteers off the board.
  • Who is the new CEO or do you have co-CEO’s (as stated above)?
  • Both chambers need to agree.
  • Most mergers will have chambers coming to the table from different positions, one is usually hurting more than the other.
  • If the chambers come from a competitive background with each other, that’s a big hurdle to get over.
  • The other challenge is when missions don’t align of the two chambers.
 
They couldn’t stress enough that stakeholders, from both entities, need to be involved in the process, (i.e. task forces, committees) to help the merger with the key questions.
 
They did discuss options such as a contract for services model prior to a formal merger (think dating before getting married), as well as, the bank model where you centralize certain services (HR, membership, Finance, CRM), and have branches to serve the community.
 
A couple of final comments on lessons learned and best practices from the panelists included:
 
  • Listen to your stakeholders;
  • All parties need to be at the table;
  • Make a business case;
  • Get advice from your peers across the country that have gone through the process; and finally
  • Hold us harmless (a company pays what they paid both chambers at least during the first year).
 
For an article from ACCE on the subject go HERE.

Audit Committees: Do You Have One?

While the Sarbanes-Oxley law requires public traded companies to have an audit committee, I would suggest it is good practice if your chamber has one too!

To me it’s just as important as having that annual financial audit.

Yes, they can be expensive, but who would not want that stamp of approval for your board and membership at large.

For a previous blog post on annual financial audits go HERE.

We talk about transparency in our organizations and what better way to show that than having that annual financial audit and creating an audit committee that reports to your board of directors.

I would make the suggestion to use it as a tool to tell your story!

At the end of the day, we need to run financially sound chambers if we want to help our business members succeed.

For a great resource on audit committees go HERE.

Trust: As a Leader This is a Must

I always enjoy Justin Patton's presentations on leadership.  The latest was no exception.  He started off talking about one’s “Presence vs Leadership Presence.”

He said we all have presence but that is very different then leadership presence.  Some individuals have a presence that has a negative impact on others.

 

Justin talked about trust and stated that, “trust is the unwavering belief that you have my back.”  He defined trust in terms of loyalty, security, engagement productivity.


He went on to talk about how ego (arrogant, condescending) is the biggest detriment to becoming a great leader and losing trust by lying, not being consistent, or accountable.

 

He then spent some time giving advice on how leaders who have lost that trust can take steps to repairing the trust they’ve lost.

 

  • Take full accountability for your part;
  • Ask for or extend forgiveness;
  • Demonstrate a change in behavior; and
  • Be willing and available to talk.

 

He went on to talk about how you can create your own roadmap to trust and offered the following comments:

 

Truth - people interpret the truth differently.  Your truth is not the only truth.

 

  • Actions of truth - candor, consistent, track record, take accountability.

 

Transparency - clarity.  People fill in the holes with fear.

 

  • Actions of transparency - share intentions, explain the why, be available, admit mistakes.

 

Tact - ability to manage your intensity (passive vs aggressive).

 

  • Actions of tact - manage intensity, listen to understand, pause before responding, be aware of body language.

 

Togetherness - ability to put the relationship before yourself.

 

  • Actions of togetherness - demonstrate empathy, honor boundaries, extend trust, apologize when needed.

 

He ended the webinar with the comment that the best leaders “Communicate to Build Trust, not Compliance.”

 

For more information about Justin Patton go HERE.