When to Engage an External Interim Executive Director

An executive director-level change in any organization can be disruptive to staff and board members. Uncertainty looms large and with the uncertainty comes anxiety.  With anticipation and planning, such an important change doesn’t have to be painful.

Organizations with a current strategic plan can ease this transition, especially if the strategic plan includes a succession plan for the executive director.  If your organization lacks a succession plan, especially when confronted with the sudden loss of your executive director, it can be traumatic, but it doesn’t have to be.  In fact, it can be an opportunity.

Continue reading

The Complementary Roles of the Chief Executive and your Governing Board

Sometimes, even the best boards and seasoned executive directors clash and have trouble  staying in their respective “responsibility lanes” as the organization’s leadership team.  An excellent example might be when boards get directly involved with selecting and overseeing staff when they have a successful chief staff executive for such purposes.  Why might a board involve themselves in what is clearly a management responsibility?  Simply.  It’s what they are familiar with, despite the fact that it’s a responsibility they can and should delegate.

Certainly, if the working relationship between the board and executive director is noticeably broken, that situation should be addressed as soon as possible.  An outside management and governance coach is probably worth bringing in.  Even if everything is working smoothly between the board and the executive, an annual refresher can help keep the working relationships strong and the organization running smoothly for the coming year.

Continue reading

AMC-Client Relationship is Not a Partnership

I recently attended the annual meeting of the AMC Institute in Long Beach, CA.  For a west coast venue, there was good turn out and Long Beach Convention and Visitors’ Bureau rolled out the red carpet.

There was a program this year that resurrected an old topic:  “Trusted Development as a Client Partnership Strategy” presented by Michael Reed of Bloch and Reed (Association Advisors).  Bloch and Reed is not an AMC, so in defining their role with clients as a “trusted partner”, I have no issue.  I continue to have an issue defining the AMC-Client relationship as a “partnership” for the same reasons I did back in April 2009 when I first posted on this topic.  (“AMCs More Like Agents Than Partners”)

Continue reading

The Value of Selecting an Outsider as Chief Staff Executive

L&M concludes a highly successful six-year engagement providing executive management to the California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers).  It’s been an honor and privilege to serve the CalFlowers board of directors and membership.  We are grateful for the new friends we made and to have learned about the fascinating cut flower industry.

Continue reading

AMC Management Model Has Advantages over Non-AMC Models

The results are in: The AMC management model generated more consistent operating surpluses and grew reserves to a greater extent between 2006 and 2015 than did the non-AMC model (i.e., directly employed staff and full financial responsibility for occupancy and capital costs).
Read the full report here.

For those familiar with the AMC model, this is not a big surprise. What is newsworthy about the results is that we have credible evidence that demonstrates the advantages of the AMC model for associations. These results add to previous studies conducted in the past decade showing that the AMC model is both the less expensive alternative to hiring staff directly and shouldering all operational costs, including capital purchases, and also the more productive association management model.

In short, the non-AMC model is overpriced and under-performing.

These latest results lead to an interesting set of questions: Why does the AMC model outperform the non-AMC-model? What’s the AMC model’s ‘secret-sauce”?

Continue reading

Is an Executive Director Like a Head Coach?

Almost all the time.

A number of years ago our good friend, Rick Church, President of CM Services in Glen Ellyn, IL, used the title Head Coach on his business card. At the time it struck me as a bit too cute and cliché to be taken seriously. While I may never use this as my actual title, I’ve come to understand the value and importance of the analogy.

Much like head coaches are not directly responsible for selecting players, executive directors do not select who become association board members, or even association members. However, just like coaches, executive directors are held responsible and accountable for results. Perhaps all too often, executive directors need to be aggressive about their management roles and decisions in the face of opinionated board members, much like coaches must be with team owners.

Continue reading

Conference calls gone bad

Fellow AMC principal Jonathan Strauss posted the link to a routine by the YouTube comedy team Tripp and Tyler http://mashable.com/2014/01/23/conference-call-in-real-life/ highlighting all that can, and too often does, go wrong with teleconference meetings. But teleconference/web-conference meetings don’t have to be this way. I can think of at least 5 basic practices that can avoid the problems highlighted in the video.

Continue reading

Is There a New Normal — Not So Much

OVERVIEW:
For years the association community has been treated to passionate claims about how the world has been changing, resulting in a new normal or paradigm shifts and how our organizations will become extinct if we don’t change our “membership model,” or “give it all away.” Do these dooms-day claims have merit? Not according to how the community of associations were actually led and managed over the last two decades! According to the data, the association model is still strong and vibrant and not facing extinction.

Download the entire report as a PDF document:
NewNormal-Not-So-Much-print.pdf.