This June, I sat outside on the patio, enjoying the results of my good decisions. Everything looked fine. The flowers were flowering. The birds were singing. The deer were deering. You would never have thought, that in a few short months, much of what I was enjoying would be dead. Today, in November, that same ground is brown. The leaves have turned and dopped. The flowers withered and dried. The deer stand fat and happy after eating at my delicious deer buffet. Stupid fat deer. Think they’re so big. As I grow contemplative towards the year’s end, I am afraid that today, we sit happily running our associations and organizations, enjoying the flowers and birds, but with withering death just around the corner. The reason? Association governance, decision-making, and decision-makers are not adapting to the harsh realities of our new world. Let me explain. No, we don’t have time.
I’m not lazy, I’m providing opportunities for others to share their voice. LOL This month’s blog takeover is by Nikki Haton Shanks. While she’s one of our strategists and an acknowledged industry leader in the association sector, more importantly, she and her husband run Troubled Waters Brewery near Tampa, FL. Unlike me, she doesn’t learn lessons from drinking booze, but from making it. Here’s some lessons learned and some takeaways for our association (and other) colleagues. Take it away, Nikki. My husband owns a brewery (Troubled Waters Brewing in Safety Harbor, FL) and is a Certified Cicerone (kind of like the Sommelier of the beer world). Being married to a brewer is fun and interesting. There have been days I’ve walked into the house and he’s toasting trays full of coconut in the oven for a new chocolate stout recipe or jalapeños for a new IPA with mango. His
Welcome one and welcome all. Like many of you, I often want to work less, do less, be less. This month, two of our awesome strategists Nikki Golden and Nikki Haton Shanks approached me with an idea. “What if we wrote a guest blog from My Seat at the Bar, would that be OK?”. Being a kind and generous blogger, I jumped at the chance to not do any work. You see, unlike me, Nikki and Nikki, or the Nikkis, as they’re affectionately known, have been thinking about the lessons learned (or forgotten?) on how to bring people together. We call this a convening strategy and the people, of course, conveners. Enjoy this month’s guest Blog and 5 great lessons on how to bring people together more effectively. From The Nikkis I (Nikki G) think about gathering a lot. And not just because I just had my kitchen remodeled
The other day, while enjoying the sweet, juicy fruit of success, I had an epiphany. Perhaps, just maybe, something other than my unique combination of skills had contributed to my success. Wait, stay with me. Take a deep breath. Was it possible, I had been helped along the way? Had unseen mechanisms supported me all along? The great good consultant in me looked at this notion in more detail. What was the nature of this unseen support? What I saw was my leadership infrastructure. Leadership infrastructure is the Spanx that supports you and allows you to accomplish whatever it is you think you need to accomplish. Like Spanx, it is an invisible professional undergarment that makes you look and perform better. Building and maintaining your personal leadership Spanx is critical to your success. You don’t want to experience the unsightly sagginess of failure. When I stopped thinking about underwear
Recently, I was taking a break from thought leadering when I remembered a recent conversation at a client gig in Napa. A person I had just met, asked me if I traveled a lot. My response began with, “Well I used to travel all the time but then, ya know, the spicy cough, but now I’m nearly back to pre-pandemic travel.” I realized in virtually every conversation, there was a time gap that needed to be explained. Kinda like a lost time period on your resume when you didn’t have a job and were too embarrassed to put prison gap year. It dawned on me that every conversation with a new person included a pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post pandemic narrative. The post pandemic story always described how I and my life were different. When I listened to others, commoner, and equal alike, I heard the same thing. “I used
As I sit here basking in my many Freedoms (thank you Constitution and Bill of Rights), it is easy to think that we as American association leaders are the center of the world. Much like Sargent Schultz’s evil twin, we “know everything, evvvverything”. We often forget that there are many associations outside of the United States. We forget about all the association leaders who direct these organizations. From northern Europe through the Middle East and down through Africa and across Asia and the Pacific, we have colleagues working every day to advance the cause of member-based organizations. Usually, without our knowledge. This winter, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in the Dubai Association Conference (#DAC2022) held in late March 2022. I have a weird role at these events.   Generally speaking, I’m neither a buyer nor seller. I get invited because of Association Laboratory’s sector research, arguably
This last weekend, I finally found time to catch up on my reading. You know, perusing the stack of mags next to your chair. The stuff we say we’ll read but never seem to find an opportunity. Sitting contentedly in the sun coming through my living room window, I had an epiphany. I’d been engrossed in a magazine I was reading. I’d read stories about the history of the organization. I’d read stories about member successes. I’d even read an in-depth article linking the science of their Mission to their advocacy agenda in DC. The organization? Pheasants Forever (PF). Pheasants Forever is a conservation organization. Founded in 1982 by a group of pheasant hunters that “saw the connection between upland habitat loss and declining pheasant populations”. Today, according to their website, they have 130,000 members in forty states. The have approximately 750 local chapters. Too often we look to
One of my many blog readers or “bleaders” as I call them, suggested I talk about how the Pandemic might have changed our view on relationships. What has been the impact of lockdowns and quarantines on our relationships? Are work colleagues less or more interesting on Zoom? Why do girls think I’m more attractive when I’m wearing a mask? Well, I’ve been a consultant for more than 3 decades and I’ve learned not just a thing, but a thing or two. Here’s my advice. Your relationships are not defined by your communication channel. Is your mom somehow less of your mom if you talk to her by Zoom instead of seeing her in person? No. So why do you think your other personal or business relationships are different due to online interaction as opposed to face-to-face contact. The Pandemic hasn’t changed our relationships, it’s simply pushed us from one
My wife called me fat last summer. Looked me right in the eye and said, “You’re fat.” A little backstory. I once (pre Pandemic) traveled often, about ½ the time. My health was important to me. I committed to exercising on the road. I tried to eat healthier. In addition, I made no effort to drink less. In fact, I tried to drink more. During visits home I frequented my health club which, BTW had not 1, not 2 but three different bars. It also has a wide variety of what could be characterized as exercise equipment. Stuff like treadmills, weights, and the like. It also had a nice sauna. I thought I had a reasonably good routine worked out and wouldn’t have called myself “out of shape”. During the pandemic I worked to maintain my workout schedule. With my health club unavailable, I looked at exercise apps. I
As the sun slowly set behind the dune near our house, I looked over at my wife, Martha. She had been diligently planting a new, native plant in our garden. You could already envision the color of the flowers, their scent on a cool morning. Suddenly, she stood up, swept her hair back and glanced at the lowering sun. Then, like some sort of Instagram model, she turned and smiled at me. Wow, I thought, gardening provides great lessons in business strategy. She said something then, but frankly I’d stopped paying attention. Bloggin and all. My wife and I are not (yet) farmers, but it seems that way sometimes. Between our house gardens and community garden, most of our summer scheduling revolves around how to keep everything watered. Work is a welcome break. At our home in Chicago, our first garden together began as a house surrounded by small