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Let me tell you a quick story about training members, or in this case, customers. Recently, on a trip to New York, I approached the bar at the #unitedclub in LaGuardia (#terribleairport) for a quick medicinal cocktail. I ordered a Manhattan (click HERE to see why it’s the most important business drink). The following ensued. The bartender did not know how to make the drink. I saw here looking up the recipe on their internal guidebook. I helpfully suggested that I could quickly teach her. I’m awesome that way. I explained it’s about ratios. Three parts bourbon to 1-part sweet vermouth with two drops of bitters, which I helpfully located on her bar. You stir, not shake, so your ice cubes don’t break up and water down the drink. She followed my easy instructions with a smile and moments later a quite serviceable Manhattan was placed in front me. She was educated, I got

November 15, 2018 – Association Laboratory has launched its annual association environmental research project, “Looking Forward 2019,” a collaborative research effort conducted with leaders of the association management profession.   This year, Association Laboratory is expanding its outreach by including state association executives from Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Iowa.  Also participating will be AAMSE (American Association of Medical Society Executives ) and National Association of Manufacturers.

I knew we’d properly curated our Association Laboratory Content Strategy Summit audience when one of the first attendees to arrive walks up to me, says “Hi, thanks for the invitation.”, and proceeds to hand me a small bottle of Makers Mark bourbon (potential sponsor?). On October 23, Association Laboratory produced the Association Content Strategy Summit. We had a great group of association CEOs and senior executives. Here’s a quick wrap up of some of the key lessons. Associations Do Not Control Content Production, Vetting or Distribution The financial and communication barriers to content creation and distribution are effectively nonexistent. The result? A glut of content. Association Laboratory produced the Association Content Strategy Summit because data from our global environmental scan of the association business environment, Looking Forward (access HERE), clearly shows association leaders are struggling with content strategy. Consider the percentage of association leaders somewhat or very concerned about the following issues. 80% -

Let me tell you a story about a recent strategic planning gig. In the last hour of a 2-day facilitation, while we were on the final review of the draft strategic plan, a participant who had been contributing positively from the beginning turns to his colleagues and says, “This isn’t a strategic plan.”. Well crap. After I addressed the issue, I sat down next to Meg, our analyst who led the research, and we talked about how we always get the same questions. Regardless of client. Below common questions surrounding strategic planning that almost everyone asks at some point. If you need help with strategic planning, BTW, you can see how we do it HERE. Alright, let’s go. Can we trust the research informing strategic planning? Garbage in, garbage out as the old saying goes. At one recent Board meeting, a participant kept asking about the statistical validity of the member/nonmember survey we used to inform the strategic

For years, association executives have endured book after book explaining two things. First, how young professionals are essential to the future of associations. Second, how we couldn’t possibly understand the deep complexities of this critical audience (without help). Hell, some of our consultant friends have already started to scare us with the next generation, now in high school. Spoiler Alert - Whatever you are doing, it’s wrong. In last month’s blog post, Why Are Volunteer Leaders Killing Good Associations, (available HERE), we discussed the trust gap between current volunteer leaders and emerging audiences. Let's explore some of the mistakes associations make that generate this gap. Learn What Association Executives Successfully Engaging Young Professionals Have to Say First, though, in a quick shameless plug, during our Webinar Wednesday this September 19 (register HERE), we’re going to discuss Association Laboratory’s research-based white paper on the challenges and solutions to engaging young professionals. Titled Trials, Tribulations and

Association Laboratory’s ground-breaking environmental scan Looking Forward 2018 (access HERE) revealed how many association executives believe their volunteer leaders are creating substantial governance challenges that threaten the long-term viability of their association. Historical Membership Models and Governance Systems are Failing In Looking Forward 2018, 86% of association executives believed that membership acquisition, retention and engagement was the most serious association strategy issue. Association Laboratory has worked with hundreds of associations on the research and development of membership strategy and four aspects of strategy development are clear. The association must understand its markets and how these markets are changing. The association must accept that as audiences change, their needs change. New or emerging markets with different needs will require a different relationship with the association. An evolving relationship means that new models of engagement or membership must constantly be adapted or introduced. If the association doesn’t evolve, member engagement is diminished. The association dies a

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                       ASSOCIATION LABORATORY RELEASES LOOKING FORWARD 2018 ANNUAL ASSOCIATION ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING PAPER  June 25, 2018 – Association Laboratory has once again released its annual association environmental scanning paper, “Looking Forward 2018,” a collaborative research effort conducted with leaders of the association management profession. Looking Forward 2018 is the nation’s longest running and most comprehensive environmental scan of the association strategy environment. This year, more than 300 association trade and professional association CEO’s and senior staff assessed fifty-two different factors impacting association members and fifty-one different implications on association strategy.  Combining this year’s research with eight years of bench marking data makes this year’s paper the most relevant research publications in the industry. “Looking Forward 2018 Association Industry Business Environment and Strategy Scan” is available as a stand-alone document, but

By Nicolette Haton - MBA, CAE  and Analyst for Association Laboratory   Every member is a potential volunteer, and every volunteer, on their first day or at their first activity, is a potential future board member.  In recent research through Association Laboratory, participants were asked to identify what they believed were success factors important to creating and sustaining volunteer and strategic leadership.. Two of the top factors included

Tampa, Fl. (May 23, 2018)—   Association Laboratory’s Nicolette Haton, MBA, CAE presented a program entitled Content Strategy 101: A Road Map for Association Professionals at Florida Society of Association Executives.  The program included information based on Association Laboratory’s strategy whitepaper “Introduction to Creating and Sustaining an Association Content Strategy”.  The whitepaper included the perspectives of 21 association professionals representing both trade and professional member organizations.