AMC-Managed and Standalone Organizations — A Sibling Study


CONCLUSION: Based on a comparative analysis of two parallel operating ratio studies of AMC-managed and standalone organizations, AMC-managed organizations reap considerable qualitative and quantitative advantages for membership-based organizations up to $5M in annual revenue. These results are likely valid for organizations above $5M in annual revenue, however, there was not a sufficient number of organizations above $5M in the study of AMC-managed organizations to draw any conclusions about those organizations.

IMPLICATION: Standalone organizations up to $5M in annual operating revenue should answer one question: “Are we receiving the return on our management model investment, given that on average, we may be spending 50% more for the resources to manage our organization than if we were managed by an AMC?”

AMC and Standalone Organizations – a Sibling Study

Are AMC-Managed Organizations Recession Resistant?

Based on results of recent study, it appears they are!


OVERVIEW: The current economic climate is having an impact on associations, just as it is on virtually all business sectors. This paper reports on a recent study showing that until 2007, about 30% of all organizations up to $5M in annual revenue operated at a loss. But, organizations that employ their own staff, lease their own office space and incur their own capital expenses (aka: standalone) were nearly twice as likely to have ended 2008 with deficits than AMC-managed organizations. More than 50% of standalone organizations with up to $5M in annual operating revenue operated at a loss that year! The reduction for AMC-managed organizations between 2007 and 2008 was a nominal 7% — two-thirds of AMC-managed organizations reported a surplus in 2008! Therefore, the answer to the question posed in the title would seem to be a resounding “yes.”

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IMPLICATION: Standalone organizations up to $5M in annual operating revenue should answer one question: “Are we receiving a return on investment in our management model, given that on average we may be spending 50% more for that management approach than if we were managed by an AMC — especially given the performance benefits produced by AMCs?”

The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World

by: Amar Bhidé
Princeton University Press
© 2008
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue
While the major theme of this book is about national policy issues- relating how to best to stimulate innovation to drive productivity- it contains equally valuable lessons for executives and managers relating to concerns of the firm.
Professor Bhidé bases his analysis on an extremely robust 3-level model of innovation. This model deserves more attention as it clearly expands the dimensions of innovation beyond the typical models, which focus attention, resources and research only on basic R&D where the number of patents filed is the primary metric of measurement.
If there’s one book on innovation to read — this is the one!

Uniting the Virtual Workforce – Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise


by: Karen Sobel-Lojeski

       Richard R. Reilly
       Wiley; Microsoft Executive Leadership Series
       © 2008
       Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

The topics and discoveries authors Sobel-Lojeski and Reilly discuss in this book are valuable, if not essential, for any enterprise during any economic climate.

I found their work particularly poignent in two important ways. First, that distance is not just a physical condition, but a psychological condition that often exists between workers. And, that these psychological gulfs can have a more significant impact on the results than physical distances.

Second, they present a framework for understanding and measuring these psychological distances in their construct of the Virtual Distance Model.
The Virtual Distance Model is comprehensive and comprised of three major parts: physical distance; operational distance; and affinity distance.

Their writing style is easy on the reader and as much for line managers as it is for C-suite executives. For that matter, it also contains useful concepts and practical lessons for entrepreneurs and professional sole-practitioners looking to improve their effectiveness working in teams, working in teams within an office, or worlds and cultures spanning wide time-zones.

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars

by: Patrick Lencioni
Jossey-Bass (A Wiley Imprint)
© 2006
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

This is one of Lencioni’s “management fables,” illustrating just how insidiously silos grow within organizations. But there’s good news. There are effective techniques for dealing with the “silo-problem,” and Lencioni shares his techniques at the end of the book, which are almost better than his fable.

The story line he uses is clever — a young professional, Jude Cousins, is beginning to build a consulting practice and realizes that he needs a more stable offering upon which to build a business out of consulting. In the course of searching for a focus, he interviews prospective clients around their problems and discovers a common theme across a very diverse set of organizations, including a small manufacturing firm, a hospital, a hotel and a church.

This is an easy and quick read, but this should not be confused with light or without value.

This book does not apply directly to AMC-managed associations, but it’s not a large leap to recognize the same phenomenon and risks caused by “internal silos” being constructed that separate organizations from the professions or markets they were formed to serve. We can think of this as the “inside – outside silo”.

Simple take-away: “silos are bad for things other than agricultural products – especially organizations!”

[Guide to] Management Ideas and Gurus

by: Tim Hindle
The Economist in association with Profile Books Ltd.
© 2008
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

This is more of a readable reference book than a guidebook, containing 105 major management ideas, theories, fads and influential organziations in the 20th century. And that’s just Part 1. Part 2 is an equally concise and rich profile of the leading management “gurus” of the same era — 56 in all!

This is not the type of book that you’d want to read for an extended period of time. I found that I could handle only a few “ideas” at a time because each description is self-contained and dodn’t necessarily connect with each of the other descriptions. Each description is written in a classic Economist’s style: Concise, powerful structure and packed full of useful information! Hindle follows his formula well; two pages for each idea and for each guru! (unclear-two pages for each guru and two for each idea? Or two pages total for both?)

For example, if one has wondered about Six Sigma, the author tells us that it grew out of the work of Joseph Juran (then provides the pages this “guru” is featured in Part 2. This structure illustratesthe simple essence of the idea- how it was originally applied, and how it might be applied today. Each description contains a list of further reading on the topic.

Maybe it is a “guide” after all? A “guide” or a “reference” matters not. Whether management is your interest or profession, this book belongs on your bookshelf and will be dog-eared soon after it arrives.

Listening to the Future: Why It’s Everybody’s Business

by: Dan Rasmus with Rob Salkowitz
Wiley; Microsoft Executive Leadership Series
© 2009
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

This is a worthwhile read because it covers a number of important issues about strategic planning and frameworks for thinking about future trends. It’s an interesting read to learn about the future scenarios Microsoft has envisioned for itself about “the future of work.”

The author(s) can be forgiven for some choppy spots, given the breadth of the subject. There were spots when it appeared as though the target reader had changed, but there was not clear transition. Despite this, it contains some useful concepts and brief case studies that should provoke good discussion within an organization.

Hard Facts-Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense (Profiting from Evidence-Based Management)

by: Jeffrey Pfeffer  &  Robert I. Sutton
Harvard Business School Press
© 2006
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

What a treat to have two well-respected business school scholars and faculty members expose the hypocriscy that most folks working in business today have known for years. One of my favorite exposés is how the Harvard Business Review’s editorial policies prohibit citations, therefore leaving the distinct impression that most (everything?) published in the magazine is a new and breakthrough idea. The authors point out several specific instances where previous HBR arcticles could not even be referenced to demonstrate that the ideas were not even new to the publication. (And we wonder why these venerable institutions produce unethical business leaders!)

Perhaps the most significant take-away from this important read is that there’s no substitute for creating data-driven organizations, especially since we’re now swimming in data thanks to the Internet. We think this is a must-read for association managers.

The Future of Work

by: Thomas W. Malone
Harvard Business School Press
© 2004
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

Malone is well respected as an academic and researcher; this book is not so much about his own research, but a very accessible presentation of important findings in his area of research and his own observations about how work is changing and will continue to change.

His chapter on “From Command-and-Control to Coordinate-and-Cultivate” is especially useful in today’s knowledge work environment — particularly applicable to association environments.

The Future of Management

by: Gary Hamel
       with Bill Breen
Harvard Business School Press
© 2008
Reviewed by: Michael LoBue

This ranks up there with some of Peter Drucker’s books in terms of capturing the big picture issues of how management has evolved over the 20th century- where it probably should go, and more importantly, why.

The author goes beyond soup du jour treatments of managementl to examine management innovations. For example, he cites a handful of case studies that pre-date the Internet to demonstrate that the fundamentals at play have been at play for a long time. The Internet has certainly increased the velocity of change, but it’s not the cause.