30 September 2011

Friday Top 5

My dad just hit a milestone birthday yesterday, and we're headed to the Philly area this weekend to celebrate with him.

So this Friday Top 5 is for you, Dad.

Top 5 things that are AWESOME about my dad:
  1. He was the first person in his family to go to college, Drexel specifically, in the late 1960's and thanks to their innovative co-op program.
  2. He can fix anything.  Not only *can* he fix anything, he sometimes has to be physically restrained from doing so when he's supposed to be visiting us just to have fun.
  3. He and my mom have provided a great example of a happy marriage to me and my brother (43 years and going strong).
  4. He taught me about money, so even when my spouse and I were poor starving grad students, we never worried about our ability to pay our bills, save for the future/a rainy day, and give a little something to people with even less.
  5. He ends every phone conversation with: "I love you, hon."
I love you, too, Dad. Happy birthday.

Image credit: 3 Chics

29 September 2011

They're Posted!

Well, OK, SOME of them are posted.

What's "them"?

The #ASAE11 Ignite videos!

Looks like ASAE is finally getting them up on their YouTube channel.

To whet your appetite, Miriam Miller Wolk's excellent Ignite: Sales is Not a Dirty Word


28 September 2011

What I'm Reading

Short list this week, since I was on vacation and mostly reading for fun!
  • Social media time sucks: don’t let them kill your momentum.
  • How to pay it forward without signing away your life.
  • Analytics are finally coming to Twitter itself.
  • How to write for good SEO without boring people to death.
  • Oops!, or on the importance of research.
  • Turns out family friendly policies make EVERYONE happier and more productive (thanks to Betsy Boyd-Flynn for the link).
  • While I was at the beach I read Moloka'i by Alan Brennert, which I didn't like (interesting setting, but the story itself was totally predictable and the use of language was annoyingly anachronistic), lots of sports blog coverage of the dreadful Eagles loss on Sunday, and I re-read The United States of Arugula by David Kamp, which I absolutely adore. If you're at all interested in food or cooking, you should definitely check it out.

22 September 2011

Gone Beachin'

I am at the beach (Stone Harbor, NJ, to be precise) with a bunch of cool peeps for the next few days. Back next week.

Image credit: Bryn Mawr College geology department

21 September 2011

What I'm Reading

Innovation Talks edition

This week, instead of a list of interesting blog posts, I have a question for you:

What book has inspired the most new ideas for you? It can be fiction or non, something you read today or 25 years ago. And you don't have to stick to just one. I'll go first:
  • Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities completely changed my political views.
  • Plato's Republic completely changed my career direction.
  • Nel Noddings' Caring provided the topic for my Master's thesis and ultimately led me out of grad school.
Now you - what book/s have sparked an intellectual revolution in your head? Share in the comments, and give us all some good reading material.

20 September 2011

Innovation in 4...3...2...

Did you know that today is ASAE Innovation Talks Day?

Six association thought leaders are at ASAE today leading discussions on a variety of topics:
  • Jeffrey Cufaude will be addressing the importance of innovative beginnings to achieving innovative results.
  • Dave Coriale will be talking about the role of technology.
  • Scott Steen will lead a look at design thinking.
  • Rhea Blanken will share on the source of innovation: people!
  • Karen Gonzales will look at member expectations
  • Dave Will will talk about online learning.
What if, like me, you couldn't go in person?

We have resources!
  • You should definitely watch the hashtag #asaeinnov today - lots of the people who are there are live tweeting.
  • Deirdre Reid has been blogging about this topic for Avectra.
  • Eric Lanke has been documenting his work around this with WSAE on the Hourglass Blog.
  •  There are other innovation talk events coming in the next several months (and hey - lots of them AREN'T in DC!). 
  • And today's #assnchat will focus on this topic in about...2 hours.
What am I missing? Add it in the comments.

19 September 2011

Always the Last to Know: WayBack Machine

OK, everyone who has anything to do with the web knows about the WayBack Machine. But did you know that they have a cool new version? And that the new version make makes it much easier and more interactive to use?

Awesomesauce? You bet!

16 September 2011

Friday Top 5

It's not quite officially fall (yet), but with the weather over the past few days, it's certainly starting to feel like fall. Fall and spring have always been my preferred seasons, with probably a slight edge to fall - hey, I was a big nerd and actually liked school. My Top 5 Favorite Things About Fall:
  1. The weather - cool nights, crisp days, and bright sun that I can enjoy without freaking out about potential sunburn/sun damage.
  2. Switching back to hot coffee and tea from iced coffee and tea (I enjoy the reverse switch in the spring equally well), and to bourbon drinks from gin drinks (which, again, I also enjoy reversing in the spring).
  3. Baking - it's too damn hot in the summer to put the oven on.
  4. Fires in the fireplace.

Image credit: Port Wallpaper

15 September 2011

The "Family Friendly" Trap

In my opinion, one of the best arguments for single payer in health care is that innovation and new businesses and job creation are stifled when people feel tied to safe jobs in big organizations by their medical insurance (if by "best argument" you mean the one most likely to convince the person who disagrees).

Similarly, I've watched talented friends of both genders (but more often women) get stuck in their careers because a workplace is "family friendly." The current organization offers good benefits or a flexible work schedule, so even though these association professionals need to move on in order to advance in their careers, they can't manage to leave.

What if the new place won't cover their kids' health care? What if they lose the schedule flexibility that allows them to manage child care changes without huge hassles with management?

The fact that they're stuck for years in jobs with no possibility of further advancement becomes the price of having a life that works. And that sucks.

It's a form of mommy-tracking, but it's even more subtle and hard to address than old skool "we don't promote mothers or give them big responsibilities" because it's, at least on the surface, a voluntary choice. Those handcuffs may be made of gold, but they're still handcuffs.

The thing is, "family friendly" policies like flexible schedules and good health care and reasonable leave policies have been PROVEN to increase retention (and we all know how expensive and time-consuming staff turnover is), improve the ability to recruit the best candidates, increase productivity and decrease absenteeism. The #1 reason people leave jobs is bad management. Treating your staff as less than equally valuable to senior management is pretty much the definition of bad management.

So what's holding us back?

14 September 2011

What I'm Reading

13 September 2011

Power With versus Power Over

About a week ago, I was finally reading the June 2011 of Associations Now (it accidentally got buried in the pile of unread magazines), and I read the Favorites Game piece with Jeffrey Pfeffer. My first thought was that his suggestions reminded me at bit of Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince (you can take the girl out of grad school, but...). And I was hoping that, like The Prince, it was intended as satire. Hey, they both stress the importance of flattery, right?

But somehow, I don't think Pfeffer is being funny.

My second thought was that he was articulating the concept of "power over" very clearly. But there's also a concept called "power with." It features heavily in progressive movements like feminism, the green movement and many earth-based religions.

So what's the difference? I found a great monograph by Tom Terez that sums it all up.

If you flip straight to page 9, he provides a nice chart that summarizes the differences. To highlight a few:

Power OVER is about scarcity, rules, procedures, compliance, competition, rewards and threats, hoarding information, assigning blame, fear and skepticism, exclusion, silos, and control.

Power WITH is about abundance, principles, mission, commitment, creativity, focusing on what's going right, sharing, being open, trust and confidence, inclusion, working together, questioning, inspiring and clarity.

As I'm sure you recognize, traditional hierarchical organizations rely on power over. And I suspect that's where most of our associations fall. But they don't have to.

In fact, forward-looking organizations need 21st century leaders. A quick Google search on that term returns things like: communicators, good social skills, open, transparent, authentic, team players/team success, influence instead of authority, non-traditional, accepting of diversity, creativity, innovation, intuition, bias towards action, energy and enthusiasm.

Which of the above two power models seems like a better match for the realities of *today's* work place? Looking at the lists above, where would you rather work?

How do we get from here to there? It comes down to each and every one of us honestly assessing ourselves and, each day, choosing to walk the talk of power with rather than power over. You're not going to completely transform your organizational culture over night. But you can lead, even from the middle, by example. Not everyone will get it. Not everyone will come with you. But we have to start transforming the culture of work somewhere.

I'm going - will you come with me?

(Jamie Notter has a terrific take on this topic in his blog post Love and Power - go check it out! )

12 September 2011

Always the Last to Know: Quixey

Bewildered by the myriad apps out there? Quixey to the rescue. They've created something they call "functional search," which gathers information from all sorts of locations and sites to help with determining which are the BEST apps for any given need. Sounds kind of web 3.0 to me!

09 September 2011

Friday Top 5

Sometimes things get rough, and it's important to count your blessings. So that's what I'm going to do. (Some of my) Top 5 Blessings (work edition):
  1. All the thinking I've been doing recently has produced some great fodder for this blog.
  2. The fact that people come to me with their problems is stressful, but it's also a huge compliment. It means they think they're going to get a sympathetic ear and that I'll try to help them - both of which are true - and, more importantly, that they trust me. 
  3. My community - that's you! People who read and comment on this blog, and blog themselves, and interact with me on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ and YAP and ASAE's Member2Member...you all rock. And keep me sane (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
  4. I'm back in a mission driven organization, and that means a lot to me.
  5. I get a lot of support for all the professional development stuff I do, whether that's attending events, volunteering, presenting at events, etc. And that hasn't always been the case in the last 14+ years.
What blessings can you count today?

08 September 2011

Just for Fun

OK, given what's going on in DC this week, I couldn't NOT post this:

I promise I'll get back to more serious posts next week.

07 September 2011

What I'm Reading

  • The Big List of awesome social media posts - some of these have already appeared here, but this is a great summary.
  • Why simplicity is best in setting social media policies.
  • Tweetable marketing facts to help everyone at your association be a marketing wizard.
  • What do your Millennial staff members think of your IT department? It's not good.
  • Sacred (zombie?) cow or loveable loser
  • Still reading Ten Days in the Hills. Lots of the reviewers on Amazon.com didn't like it because nothing really happens - it's just conversations. I'm finding most of the conversations pretty interesting, though. I give it a thumbs up.

06 September 2011

Fly Your Flag!

OK, I have two more BIG THINKY posts in the queue, but I have no time to write them today, so instead, I am embedding Joe Gerstandt's Fly Your Freak Flag Ignite session from last spring's Great Ideas Conference, while I wait, impatiently, for the #ASAE11 Ignite sessions to go live on YouTube.


02 September 2011

Friday Top 5

It's Labor Day weekend! Sure, it's the proverbial last weekend of summer, and a great time for cookouts, and I'm on the best kind of boat (a FRIEND's boat) this weekend. But Labor Day weekend is really about honoring labor and trade organizations (like associations?) and having a party for workers and their families. Not consumers, workers. And it's important for all of us to remember that we are more than consumers - we're citizens and workers. This day is for us!

Top 5 great moments in the history of labor:
  1. Ending child labor
  2. The 8 hour workday
  3. Paid overtime
  4. The weekend
  5. The minimum wage
And did you know that WOMEN formed the first labor union in the US?

So enjoy your cookout and beer and relaxing with your family on the last day of summer, but take a few minutes to think about what we're actually celebrating this weekend.

Information from Wikipedia (Labor Day and Labor history), the AFL-CIOWorking Life, and Work at Home.

01 September 2011

Truck Stuck! Now What?

I think we're all familiar with the story of Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolfe. It's a charming children's book in which the kids are the heroes, figuring out a creative solution to get the truck unstuck.

Where do ideas come from in your organization?

Or, to be more precise, who's ALLOWED to have an idea?

In far too many associations, the answer is definitely not "anyone!"

Are ideas only the province of a certain department? The CEO? The VPs? The Board? Are people only allowed to express ideas that relate directly to their own areas of responsibility?

My point? Anyone can have a good idea, about anything, at any time, whether it's the mail clerk realizing a way to make your direct mail marketing campaign more effective or an IT tech coming up with a great team building idea or kids figuring out that you need to let the air out of the truck's tires for it to pass.

We need to make sure we give a fair audience to ideas, no matter where they come from.

Treat them all equally, implement them when you can, encourage your staff and colleagues either way, and always, always, always give credit.