LEAD-ER-SHIP: No Regrets. No Retreats.

The following post is based on William Canary’s new book titled, LEAD-ER-SHIP: No Regrets. No Retreats.  For a copy of the book go HERE.

After reading the book, I wanted to post a “Leadership Is” list of nuggets that jumped off the pages for me that I want to share.  I hope you enjoy!

Leadership is leading by example.  Trust those you lead as partners, not employees.  Put people in a position to succeed with the resource they need to succeed.

Leadership is not about titles.  Leadership is about being authentic.  Be a teacher, educate and motivate your team members.  Create an atmosphere where people can make a difference.

Leadership is about communication.  It’s also about being a great listener.  And when communicating - be clear, be concise and use words your team can embrace.

Leadership is about optimism.  I personally like to quote a leader in the restaurant business I had the privilege to meet, IHOP Founder Al Lapin, who used to tell me, “Raymond, in business, there are no challenges, only opportunities.”

Leadership is about welcoming dissent based on well informed principles.  Not everyone will align with your goals all the time.  Leaders know how to respond.

Leadership is about failing forward.  Good leaders know their risk tolerance when deciding on a pathway forward.  William quoted Winston Churchill in this chapter, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

Leadership is about thinking outside the box, or as the author states in Chapter 7, “Thinking Ahead of the Box.”

Leadership is about challenging the status quo.

For blogs I follow on leadership, go to the right navigation bar down the page titled LEADERSHIP BLOGS.

Ten Tips to Prepare You When Disaster Strikes Your Community

The following post are my notes from a webinar this past Fall held by Institute for Organization Management faculty member Diane Probst, IOM, CCE on the title of this blog. 

She started out by stating the disaster can be anything from a major storm, their experience, to an active shooter, etc.

She talked about the two stages that come with every disaster:

The Crisis Phase

  • Your community is flooded with people to help.  Government and volunteers from across the country will show up.  It’s all about cleanup, money, and getting the community going again.

The Long-term Recovery Phase

  • You will probably need to hire people who can help you, identify sources of funding, develop a plan and communicate what you’re doing with your community, just to name a few.

She went on to talk about the 10 tips or “Lessons Learned” from their experience.

  1. Leaders stepping up to lead - stay in your lane.  Do what you’re good at.
  2. Unified “one voice” communication – stick to the facts and communicate on a regular basis.
  3. GoFundMe – in their case, they went from $2K to $1.4 million in 60 days in unsolicited funds.  The key is to have a process in place to receive and disburse those funds.  And who will decide where those funds go.
  4. The Chamber – stay laser focused on your role and you will persevere.  They also celebrated business re-openings to build support in the community.
  5. Social Media Whirlwind – the key here is to have a running list of what you’re doing so you can track what you’re saying.  It’s also key to put together a great communications team that can execute your plan.  This is how you will tell you story on how your community is opening up for business.
  6. The Disaster after the Disaster – you need to identify where you will house all the donation items that are sent your way (think truckloads of water, etc.).  Diane talked about how the faith-based organizations are a good resource for you to tap into and help in the phase of your recovery.
  7. Economic Revitalization Must be Quick – identify and promote the economic activity that’s going on in your community.  They focused on back to business activities (concert, TV and radio appearances, etc.).
  8. Failure to plan is a plan for failure – a long-term recovery plan is so important.  This plan needs to identify who will do what when it comes to implementation.
  9. Find Healthy Happiness – take care of yourself, physically, spiritually, and mentally.  Embrace the process of getting your community back to business.  She couldn’t emphasize enough, “Take Care of Yourself.”
  10. Mistakes & Move On – be confident on your work even when others might doubt you, don’t let that affect you, you will weather the storm.

Her final comment: Tell Your Story!

For resources on disaster management click HERE for how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can help. 

Trust: What is your Definition?

I recently read Justin Patton’s new book “Your Road to Yes!” that addresses the issue of trust. 

For a copy of the book go HERE.

My definition of trust is very simple.  Tell the truth and do what you say you’re going to do.

The book goes deeper into the building of trust and how to repair trust if it is broken.

Justin’s definition is “the unwavering belief that you will have my back and I will have yours.”  To me, that sounds like a version of my definition, albeit using different words.

While I don’t want to detail every chapter of the book, he touches on trust won, lost, and how to get it back once you’ve lost it.

What a great read and thank you Justin for being part of the IOM faculty family.

For more information on Justin Patton go HERE and to purchase his book go HERE.

Your Road to Yes! How the Best Leaders Create a Culture of Trust & Belonging

Justin Patton, President and CEO, Justin Patton, LLC, is one of my favorite presenters and this blog post are based on my notes from his session at the recent ACCE Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

He started by asking the question “What is Trust?”  The unwavering belief that you are going to have my back.

Trust is money.  Not time is money!  Trust is your biggest competitive advantage.

When you have trust you have:

  • Candor
  • Security
  • Productivity
  • Engagement
  • Loyalty
  • Opportunity

Trust is what keeps people coming back!

Trust is about:

  • Transparency – do you take people with you along the journey?
  • Emotions - I feel, Thoughts - I believe, Decisions - the reason I/we
  • Tact – do we create a safe space for people to open up?
  • Togetherness – do you take people feel less alone in the world?

The toxic five that ruins a culture:

  • Disrespectful
  • Non-inclusive
  • Unethical
  • Cutthroat
  • Abusive

Emotional Bank Account

  • Put empathy before information
  • The best leaders communicate to build trust!
  • “Trust is built in the doing.  One yes at a time!”

For me, trust is about telling the truth and doing what you said you were going to do.  To me, it’s that simple!

For more information on Justin Patton go HERE and for a copy of his book Your Road to Yes! go HERE.

Getting Started with Chamber Foundations

Are you thinking about starting a Foundation?

The following blog is based on my notes from a recent seminar I attended at the ACCE Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

The presenters were Megan Lucas, Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance, Joe Venhuizen, Envision Greater Fond du Lac and Adrian Cain, Charleston Metro Chamber, and they were great.

I hope this helps you decide on whether to start a Foundation at your organization or reengage what you already have.

They started by saying 65% of chambers today have Foundations.  Some are dormant and some are re-thinking their role with the chamber structure.

They talked about how you can run your educational programming through your Foundation and not the parent.

It’s a great tool to have when a community initiative comes up and your Foundation will give you the capacity to fulfill that role.  Think of it as a different revenue stream for your chamber even though those dollars can come from existing members.

When creating a Foundation, it must be education, charitable or scientific focused.

Think workforce development.  It is important that your Foundation stay true or focused to your mission.  You can’t just create a Foundation to solve issues outside your program of work.  However, all your current educational program of work can be run through the Foundation since it is already mission focused.

Just a reminder, you have to say no to that funder who wants you to do something that is not part of your chambers mission.

When asking for money for your Foundation you need to be very focused and they recommended you give a very specific reason for why they should give you money for a very specific project.

For a great article on navigating the rules of a Foundation by a lawyer go HERE.

Keys to a Successful Membership Marketing Campaign

This blog post is from a recent session I attended at the ACCE Annual Meeting, in Indianapolis, this year based on the title of the post.

The following are my notes from Michael Johnson, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and his presentation, discussion, and it is in rapid form. 

What is a brand?

He said it is a collection of promises.  Others will tell you it’s your reputation.  When you think about it, they basically mean the same thing.

Promises vs perceptions – the audience makes the decision if the promise meets the experience/perception.  This is what the brand is all about for companies.

Promise vs what we deliver?   What our audience needs and wants.  Where they intersect is the member value proposition.

What promises are you making?  The following is based on research he did with his members and what they valued.

  • Networking (in person) is number one
  • Promotion and recognition
  • Educational programming
  • Economic development and advocacy

He went on to talk about what is your market perception with different audiences.

Prospecting audiences – small businesses, mid-cap, start-ups.  What do they want from us – ask them, it’s important to know before you start your next campaign.

Motivation and participation styles – engagement vs investing in the chamber, get something through the chamber vs getting something from the chamber.

What segments are important to you and how will you slice up those audiences for membership?  This is a great place to remind yourself of what types of members you want.  Remember the 80/20 rule?  I suggest you want to recruit folks who will fit the 20-part of the rule, they are the ones making a difference in your organizations.

The following two statements I found very interesting and something to remember in your membership campaigns.  The statements can be used by your sales team when recruiting new members or bringing back lapsed members.

A chamber membership can help you and your employees to:

  • Make business connections
  • Grow professionally
  • Stay informed

A chamber membership can help your company to:

  • Be recognized
  • Build reputation
  • Be heard by policymakers

The above two sets of bullets are where you should build your elevator speech from.  Keep it tight!

Now it’s time to develop your messaging.  Put another way, what are the pain points for your members and communicate how you will alleviate that pain.

Once you’ve created your messaging, it’s now time to make a schedule to market it to potential new members, and bring back your lapsed members through digital resources.  Also, don’t forget your bi-annual mail campaigns either.

He went on to talk about onboarding emails with your new members.  The key here is to set-up a workflow of emails and stick to it.

He showcased a five-email campaign over a five-month period, each email with a different message.  You’ll have to decide what works best for you and what you want to highlight in each email?  Maybe that’s three emails over the first three months of a new member onboarding process.

He ended with asking the question, “What is Mission Critical?”  What are the five most important things your new members should do?  This should be the focus of your onboarding email campaign mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Good luck with tweaking your messaging and your next membership campaign.

Building a Fit-For-Purpose Association Board in the Turbulent Twenties

As part of the Association Insights series, in Old Town, this webinar discussed the title of this blog post.

The following are my notes from Jeff De Cagna's, Executive Advisor, Foresight First, LLC presentation.

He started with the comment of “we must do something different with our organizations and boards.  Association boards must become more!”


He asked a series of questions:

  • What will our successors say about us?
  • What will the next generation of leaders think of the work you did as a board and organization?
  • Why is it critical to build a fit-for-purpose board?

He talked about how this decade is going to get worse and the four forces we face:

  • The impact of AI/automation technologies on human beings;
  • The worsening climate crisis;
  • The surge in human inequality; and
  • The rise of ideological extremism.

He discussed what is normal.  And his answer, “nothing is normal.”  He states this as the most acute short-term threat organizations face.  He made the following statement, “boards must adapt to operating in the discontinuous next.”

He went on to talk about boards being risk adverse.  Where are we headed?  Boards need to think towards the future and don’t debate current events.  That’s tough to do!

What are the foundational beliefs of a fit-for-purpose association board?

  • Focus on where you are going and not where you have been;
  • Think about your successors and stand up for the future;
  • Let go of historical expectations;
  • Get away from orthodoxy assumptions; and
  • Embrace the responsibility of stewardship with other organizations on collaboration.

How can your organizations board become fit-for-purpose?  Being a board vs. becoming a board?  Think long-term and our boards must be more and not just checking the boxes of being a board (i.e. 990 review, annual budget review, etc.).

He suggested asking your board the following three questions:

  1. What positive-sum transformation can your board pursue?
  2. What sacrifices will your board make to benefit our successors?
  3. How will the directors and officers help each other to become a fit-for-purpose board?

He ended with circling back to “what will our successors say about us?” and a quote from Barbara Jordan, “For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.”

For more information on Jeff De Cagna and his work go to his website HERE.