August 24, 2005
It's been a week....
...since we left Nashville. How are you feeling about your Annual Meeting experience now? Please share your thoughts.
Announcing the iPod Shuffle Contest Winners
Okay, I know everyone has been waiting for this exciting news. And so it is with great pleasure that I announce the winners of the XtremeASAE Blog iPod Shuffle Contest! The first prize winner will receive a 1 GB Apple iPod Shuffle courtesy of Associations Unorthodox, the world's first podcast for association leaders. Two second prize winners will receive very snazzy Associations Unorthodox t-shirts.
Without further ado...
August 22, 2005
The iPod Shuffle contest is over!
This post indicates the official end of the iPod Shuffle Contest. Keep watching the XtremeASAE Blog for the announcement of the winner later this week! And thanks to everyone who posted comments!
First day back...
For many ASAE & the Center Annual Meeting attendees, today was the first day back in the office following the meeting.
So, how did it go? Were you still humming "Strategic Plan" under your breath? Did you cringe the first time someone used the word "extreme?" Did your association's HQ seem strangely cozy compared to Opryland?
Tell us about your first-day-back experience with us, and let us know how you plan to share what you learned in Nashville with your colleagues.
Let the kids have their say!
X-Blogger Chip Deale shares a very different perspective of this year's Annual Meeting.
Thru the Eyes of Children
For the 1st time in the 20+ years I've been attending the Annual Meeting, I brought my family (wife and 2 daughters) with me. It was interesting for me to get my daughters' (ages 15 and 11) perspectives on the meeting -- and the association management profession -- in more than monosyllabic responses.
Conversational "book ends"
X-Blogger Mary Ghikas of the American Library Association "book ends" her Annual Meeting experience with conversation-focused learning.
Beginning and ending with conversations
The Sunday morning of the Annual Meeting began -- truly, 7:00am -- with an Executive Insights (aka the EMS Book Club) conversation facilitated by Diane James. The conversation -- sparked by Sidney Finkelstein's book "Why Smart Executives Fail (and What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes)" -- proved to be wide-ranging and provocative, as participants shared personal insights and stories.
For my last formal learning session at this Annual Meeting, I chose a participative, interactive session on The Cafe Model: Engaging Associations in Meaningful Dialogue, led by Janet G. McCallen. Engage we did -- in round robin discussions at paper-covered cafe tables, complete with crayons. The discussions centered on trust in associations -- getting it, keeping it -- but the process --intense, focused and very involving -- was the real "topic" of the session.
August 20, 2005
There's still time...
If you want a chance to win the 1GB Apple iPod Shuffle we're giving away here on the blog, then you still have a couple of days to enter. The contest ends on Monday, August 22 at 11:59 pm EDT, and all eligible and properly formatted comments submitted by that time will be included in our random drawing, which will take place later that week. Why not give it a shot?
Complete contest rules and instructions are available here. We hope you'll share your perspectives and give yourself a chance to win!
The wisdom of the crowd
Chip Deale asks how associations are responding to the rise of DIY content creators and their communities.
If you show me your wiki, I'll show you mine...
Fascinating example cited by Elliott Masie on how Microsoft is going to use a “wiki” -- “a blog on steroids” -- to produce content for the users manual for its next operating system. 10,000 users will contribute, with the content immediately available in 47 languages. For someone of my generation -- 50+ -- this is really intriguing and neat!
Masie cites this approach as an example of how members can transition from being consumers to being producers of content and learning. Says Masie: “Passion for community-based content is going to be huge.”
Any associations doing this? Or, perhaps more directly applicable to our world, will associations by and large embrace or rebuff this coming reality (and the others to which Masie refers in his fascinating presentation)?
Thanks Chip. You ask a very important question and, in fact, this blog is something of an example of what Masie is talking about. The overwhelming majority of the content on this blog was created by members of the Annual Meeting community rather than association staff. (Associations Now editor-in-chief Scott Briscoe was a integral contributor.) The primary bloggers for this meeting, as well as its X-Blog contributors, are all volunteers. ASAE & the Center placed its trust in us. Would your association do the same?
Fundraising insights for philanthropics
Newly-minted ASAE Fellow Cathy Brown, CAE, executive director of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, shared the following report on a session she moderated during the Annual Meeting.
Cutting Edge Fundraising Strategies Offered by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
At the session entitled, Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future: Sharing Experiences with St. Jude Children's Hospital, two development experts offered insight into strategies that can really help your development program. Phil McCarty and David Tucker traced the history of St. Jude and the original opening of the hospital by Danny Thomas in 1962. At that time, the hospital raised $1.2 million each year. Today, $1.3 million a day is required to adequately run the hospital and the more than 1 million square fee of research laboratory space.
August 19, 2005
Can you help me find Hermitage C?
Chip Deale, CAE of the CFA Institute offers the following intriguing observation about the site of this year's Annual Meeting.
Opryland's unwanted "brand"
I can't help but think that the Opryland folks must cringe every time they hear speakers make (joking) references to how confusing the property is to navigate. Think about it: Philip Kotler refers to needing a GPS, Nashville mayor Bill Purcell urges us to come back to find lost members of our party, Malcolm Gladwell says there must be a hospital in the “complex”, Elliott Masie jokes that he left a trail of bread crumbs and so forth.
All very humorous, but it speaks to the perception or “brand” image of the property that people have. Don't get me wrong: I think Opryland is a fabulous property/destination and the service is great. But if you're the brand owner, do you want words like “confusing”, “complex”, “a maze”, etc. to be the ones that come initially to customers' minds?
Mickie Rops, president of Mickie S. Rops & Associates, Inc. shares some nuggets.
At every conference, there are a few golden phrases we hear from speakers that just stick with us. Here are some that spoke to me.
"Past success proves you were right...once." (Randy Pennington, CSP)
Branding isn't a verb - it's a tribute that customers give you." (Stan Slap)
"You can't sell it outside if you can't sell it inside." (Stan Slap on branding - outside referring to customers and inside referring to staff and the internal culture)
A message to managers in making decisions: "Be a human first and a manager second" (Stan Slap)
"Don't equate the environment or setting with the experience - the experience exists WITHIN a person." (James Gilmore, author of The Experience Economy)
Thanks Mickie. Apparently, Stan Slap is quite quotable, and that's absolutely awesome!
More on the power of conversations
Additional insights on the value of authentic conversation from X-Blogger Kathi Edwards.
Making time for the important stuff...
It was interesting to notice the patterns and insights that emerged among the four "Conversations that Matter" sessions I hosted during the meeting, with groups as diverse as small-staff association executives, professional development practitioners, emerging leaders, and technology/IT professionals. For example...both PD and technology folks had the same big key insight: "STOP and THINK"...(and someone in each group actually wrote that down in big capital letters as their key insight for the session) referring to the power of making time in our schedules to reflect about what's going on in our work and what we can do about it, whatever that might be. We're simply not as effective if all we do is run the maze everyday. It's a powerful thought...and if you're thinking right now "I don't have time to stop and think, I'm too busy"...you might need to do it more than the rest of us.
And while that may seem to disagree with what Malcolm Gladwell talked about...it doesn't really. Our minds, need the refreshment and support that periodic deep reflection can provide. Remember...judgment is fragile and needs care!
Conversations that Matter
Mary Ghikas from the American Library Association submitted the following report.
"No one wants to feel like they're a problem to be fixed, but they do want to matter."
Conversation was a major theme at this year's ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership Annual Meeting. The tone was set from the very beginning of the meeting last Saturday with the Future Leaders session featuring David Gammel, Kristi Graves Donovan and Betsy Boyd-Flynn. Springboard papers -- published in the Journal of Association Leadership -- provided thought-provoking starting points for discussions that took off, sometimes in surprising directions. Many of the most active conversations were focused on associations and social responsibility.
XtremeASAE Bloggers Note: What is the role of associations in promoting social responsibility? This seems like a particularly pertinent question now, given ASAE & the Center's new cause: helping associations transform society through the power of collaboration. But transform society in what ways? Will the work of transformation be done to serve the interests of association members or of the greater good?
We are grateful to Rich Westerfield over at the Trade Show Marketing Report for his praise of the XtremeASAE Blog. I am VERY PROUD of our team of bloggers and contributors and the job we did, but it feels especially good to get confirmation from a fellow blogger who didn't attend the meeting. It demonstrates the power of blogs as vehicles for making the spirit of a meeting or conference accessible to those who are not able to be present for it. A blog can never be a real alternative to actually being there, but it can help your absent members feel more connected to the experience the event is trying to create.
Of course, the success of an event blog such as this one is directly related to the caliber of the meeting it seeks to cover. If you've been following this blog over the last several days, you know ASAE & the Center put on an INCREDIBLE event in Nashville, one of the best most of us have ever attended. The buzz is very strong because the meeting was very strong, and the XtremeASAE bloggers and contributors are delighted we could play a role in this smashing success!
Man-Made Blog Clog
I'm personally responsible for creating a "blog clog," or a pretty severe back-up of posts submitted by X-Blog contributors during the final hours of the ASAE & the Center Annual Meeting. Meetings, packing and travel each contributed to my delay in getting these fine posts up while I was still on site. And since my return to the outside world Wednesday morning, I've been primarily focused on catching up on all the sleep I didn't get in Nashville, not to mention all the business-related e-mail I did!
So, with your kind indulgence, I am going to put up these posts so you can read them. They are well worth it. And to all of our X-Blog contributors, a profound apology for falling down on the job. I hope you know how much your hard work is appreciated by your XtremeASAE blogging colleagues, ASAE & the Center and your association community colleagues nationwide. Thanks for your dedication to this effort.
Wednesday's golf outing
Wanted to give a quick nod to those who participated in the golf tournament at The Springhouse Links on Wednesday. For posterity, here are the results:
First place team: Griff Harrison, Avectra; Jay Karen, National Golf Course Owners Association (now that's a big surprise, huh?); Robert Miller, Avectra; Thomas Nordby, National Defense Industrial Association.
2nd place team: Terri Elliott, NACE International; Joseph Hummel, Allied Construction Industries; Dale Lockett, Albuquerque CVB
- Longest Drive, Men: Vince Wesley, SunTrust Bank; Women: Kathy Cannon, Society for Pediatric Research
- Longest Putt (27ft. 2in.): Bruce Dalton, Grapevine CVB
- Closest to the pin, hole #15 (14ft. 2in.): Kenny Jordan, Association of Energy Service Companies
August 18, 2005
Was the annual meeting a success?
We're getting great feedback about the meeting on the blog and by many, many e-mails here at the office. It's all nice, and it certainly appears as if we created a worthwhile experience for attendees. However, none of that really matters.
Take a look at our cause as spelled out in the branding initiative:
ASAE & The Center help associations transform society through the power of collaboration.
For those of you who attended the meeting: what will you do differently? Don't let the charge put in your battery get diffused by organizational bureaucracy or stagnation. If you do not act to transform society, then the great experience was only so much window dressing.
For those of you who were unable to attend -- I hope reading this blog will serve as a commercial for ASAE & The Center programs and services and that you will consider adding your voice to the collaboration in the near future -- we will be weaker without it.
All Business is Show Business
I missed Scott McKain's session on All Business is Show Business, but a co-worker attended and said she enjoyed it. As others have said, it's easy to get back to work and forget all of the great things you have learned.
That's one reason I would recommend blogging the annual meeting as a way to retain more of the great information. Because I knew I would be writing about sessions afterwards, I listened much more attentively. I tried harder. And writing about it afterwards cemented it more in my mind.
This morning, while shoveling through the Inbox, Fast Company pointed to an article they published in 1999, How to Wow An Audience - Every Time. It focuses, like McKain, on using acting's best practices to inject energy and flair in our professional lives.
In his book, McKain relates that in a recent survey more than 70% of shoppers said they would tend to switch where they buy things if it were "more fun" to shop somewhere else. (To read an excerpt from the book, click here.) And I think that was one of the great successes of the ASAE annual meeting - it was definitely more fun this year, from the speakers to the entertainment.
Congratulations to all of the ASAE staff on a job well done. In addition to all of the great speakers, I got some great ideas on how to make our annual meeting more fun through your examples.
August 17, 2005
Gladwell: Compelling and Rich
I agree that Gladwell’s presentation was excellent, and I think his argument is compelling. There is an untapped resource we have in our ability to use the expertise and wisdom we’ve developed in our careers to make decisions that can be more accurate than ones we make based on mountains of information.
But I also want to reiterate a point Gladwell made in the story about the Getty museum. They had their experts who also could have used their expert judgment when they saw the artwork and concluded, without the $10 million study, that it was a fake. But they didn’t—because it wasn’t in their interest to do so. It was such a GREAT opportunity for them to find such a great piece, they didn’t listen to their own expertise. They wanted it to be real.
Yes we have this deep expertise that we can access in the blink of an eye, but just because we can doesn’t mean we will, and it’s not easy for us to tell when we are accessing it and when we are suppressing it.
One More Thing ...
In a post a while back I talked about how hard it is to figure out an ROI on attending something like the ASAE annual meeting.
Our organization had four people here, which is one-fifth of our staff. It wasn't enough.