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”)

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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.

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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”?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Data-driven Management Decisions

In the past few years there’s been an increased emphasis on data-driven management in the association management field. This is to be applauded. But data alone will not improve management decisions. At L&M we believe there are five basic steps to solid management studies to increase the likelihood that the right questions are being asked to produce the best answers that time and budget allow.

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In-house Association Management Services — Bad Idea!

The following is a comment to the article entitled “In-House Association Management Services Checklist” published in the Component Relations section of the ASAE. If you’re an ASAE member you can read the entire article here.

This is an excellent article, for as far as it goes. At first I was taken back and as an AMC owner thinking: ‘this market is competitive enough without a whole new class of competitors….’ But as I thought about the risks not identified in the article, I quickly realized three things.

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What’s in store for associations in 2011?

This is a broad question for what may be an even broader audience given the wide breadth covered by associations in our economy. Still, I think one issue looms large for any association — society or trade — in the coming year, especially considering the economy facing all association sectors. That dominant issue is the value proposition for members.

I can’t think of a study that examines how associations respond to economic shifts. There are plenty of anecdotal reports, but nothing rigorous. Yet, what association veterans have observed over the years is that association tend to lag markets by 12 to 18 months. On the face of it this makes sense. Association memberships are typically paid a year in advance. Therefore, it’s typical for members who view belonging to an association as a non-critical cost to let an existing membership stand and not renew if a downturn in their market or profession persists when the next renewal period arrives. An organization’s activities may slow down within a bad year, but the membership picture may not change until renewals are due.

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