For the last three years, IABC has been under a transformation – revitalizing programs to improve membership retention and achieve financial sustainability. As we transition from the 2014/2017 strategy to the 2017/2020 strategy, we reviewed IABC’s vision, mission, purpose and philosophy statements to give clarity to who IABC is, what IABC does and the value we bring to communication professionals.
We started the review last fall with a global listening tour, holding appreciative inquiry sessions in every region, and then opened the conversation on this blog for input back in January. Armed with your input, vice chair Sharon Hunter and I presented draft statements at Leadership Institute in Dallas.
Knowing that these statements need to work at the chapter, regional and international levels, the input we got in Dallas from IABC leaders crystalized our path forward. We knew which statements were right, and which ones needed work. We also had a better understanding of what each statement should accomplish and who the intended audience was for each one.
A few times I heard members say, “I need to explain to my CEO the business value of IABC.” Your feedback, gave us our new value proposition: IABC is the only global association connecting me to the people and insights I need to drive business results.
Vision: Professional communicators at the heart of every organization.
Purpose: To advance the profession, create connection and develop strategic communicators.
Philosophy: IABC pledges to:
Represent the global profession.
Foster a diverse community.
Focus on insights and results.
Honor our Code of Ethics.
We will achieve this by being open, contemporary and professional.
In addition, this statement will be updated in our Brand Guidebook. It is our elevator speech and will be used in marketing and communications materials.
Value Proposition: IABC is the only global association connecting me with the people and insights I need to drive business results.
All of these statements use the work of the Brand Task Force, led by Priya Bates, ABC, MC, CMP, IABC Fellow, as a foundation. That, coupled with your guidance, gives us four strong statements that can serve to unite us and guide our work. They reaffirm our strategic intent as an association to stay relevant into the future, underpinning the 2017-2020 new strategy framework that is currently in development. Stay tuned for more updates as we countdown to kick-off at World Conference in Washington, DC this June.
Thank you to IABC members around the globe who participated in this process and helped get us to a better, stronger place.
Imagine the possibilities! When I began my time as IABC chair last year, I spoke at our Annual General Meeting about the power we each have to make our IABC the best it can be. A theme of my talk was “each one to reach one.” The idea being that the success of our organization hinges a great deal on whether each of us does our part—to bring in one new member, be or help create one new leader, become or bring in one new CMP, or generate one new sponsor. The possibilities are endless when we each do one small thing to help IABC continue to grow and thrive.
I’m reminded of this as we reach the final few days of March and Member Month. IABC has 10,000 members. Have you ever stopped to think about what 10,000 people can do together? You’ve made hashtags trend, brought key issues into the spotlight and shown thousands and thousands of people the important work communicators do. You’ve helped each other find jobs, shared best practices and advanced our profession. You are the definition of community- You support one another. But what if we got even stronger?
Think about what could happen if just 20 percent of us brought a new member on board during Member Month. Suddenly, we are 12,000 strong. What if some of us brought two, five or even 10 new members into our incredible group? One person recently reached out to us because they are bringing in 18 new members! Could you do something like that too?
Your reach and impact is already amazing, and I’d like to challenge all of you, myself included, to make a final push this week to drive up our membership—and our influence and ability to achieve great things together.
We’ve set up a Facebook event page to mark this Friday, the final day of Member Month. I encourage you to visit that page and mark yourself down as Going, as a sign that you’re on board as we focus these last few days on “each one to reach one.”
Can you bring in one new member between now and Friday, 31 March? Your friend or colleague will get a great discount, you’ll get recognized as an IABC Champion and we’ll all gain another peer to help us move our important initiatives forward even further. One person who refers a friend or colleague will also win a US$500 Visa gift card!
I have tremendous appreciation and gratitude for the work you do. I hope you’ll join me as we work together to close out Member Month on a high note. Let’s each reach one and make our IABC the very best it can be!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead
The March Leadership Forum focused on IABC’s commitment to and advocacy for ethics in professional communication, with our special guest Connie Mayse, the chair of the IABC ethics committee.
As noted in the introduction to the IABC petition we launched on Change.org:
In these days of social and political change, now more than ever is the time to take a stand for transparent and ethical professional communication.
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has created this petition to publicly stand in support of the IABC Code of Ethics and what it means to live them every day.
Please join us in signing it to show your commitment to ethical communication at all levels—you don’t need to be a member of IABC to stand with us. Please share the link with colleagues around the world to show our solidarity on this key principle.
We are continuing our commitment to upholding ethical standards in professional communication. Among the important initiatives on this front is the theme for the first-ever World Café session at the IABC World Conference (#IABC17). The World Café’s overarching theme will be ethics in communication. This event will be an engaging and impactful session unlike any other.
The March Leadership Forum also covered important updates on IABC Academy offerings, upcoming Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification exams being held in April and May in in Edmonton, Calgary, London (Canada), and Vancouver, and a look at the first Senior Communication Management Professional (SCMP) exam, which will be held at World Conference in Washington, D.C.
We’re also fulfilling the commitment made at Leadership Institute to reduce the number of emails going out to leaders and members, and ensure each email from IABC headquarters is concise, on target, and valuable.
The all-important March Member Month is offering a number of exciting incentives, and it’s “all hands on deck” to make this a super successful #IABCMemberMonth! As Executive Director Stephanie Doute, says: Please reach out and engage your community—particularly renewing members.
I hope you find this month’s Forum valuable. Let me know your thoughts!
Thank you for all you do, your leadership, dedication and support!
All the very best,
Helpful links and hashtags
Links to posts about ethical communication and the IABC Code of Ethics:
What an incredible conversation we had at Leadership Institute about updating the IABC vision, purpose, philosophy and value proposition. Any time you look at change, you always expect push back – not spontaneous applause! I think we are all ready to have a statement that is our rally cry and that will keep us on track – at our chapters, regions and at international.
When we got home from Dallas, Sharon Hunter and I recreated the white board on my office wall. We took the time to go through each note and reflect on how it might change the message. It made us aware of a few things that we needed to keep in mind:
Remember who the audience is for each statement: Different statements have different target audiences. We need to keep that in mind as we incorporate all the comments and create the next draft.
For example, the vision statement is for us. That statement needs to set out our ultimate goal as an association so that professional communicators know, in a moment, what IABC is trying to accomplish. That is why the statement, “a professional communicator at the heart of every business,” resonated with so many members. It is what IABC is trying to accomplish
However, the value proposition is for our external audience – perhaps a fellow communicator about why they should join, or a business leader on why they should support our involvement. It definitely needs to include the business value and expected outcome. Great input.
Combine the mission and purpose statements: There was agreement that having both was redundant and since we are trying to simplify, we will combine these into one statement of purpose.
Business communicator vs. professional communicator: should we align with the name of the organization or The Global Standard that we support? Since we are trying to establish the business value of what we bring to the marketplace, it’s probably better to support The Global Standard – so “professional communicator” or “communication professional” will be the language used.
Review the statements as a whole. Each statement does not need to contain all the facts. However, as a group, they should reflect who we are as an association – and hopefully, start a new conversation.
We want a vision, purpose, philosophy and value proposition that resonates with our members and becomes our rally cry. The world café showed us that the three areas of our proposed purpose statement – advance the profession, create connections and develop professionals – work for chapters, regions and international. Now we need to work on the words around them.
We got clear feedback that “a force for good” does not resonant with our international audience. We took that to heart and the phrase is now on the cutting room floor (basically, my office floor).
This has been an incredible experience – from getting your input in every region on the Listening Tour, to our hands-on work at Leadership Institute. Your voices are in our heads. We will continue to brainstorm, edit and tweak away. Good governance dictates that an association review these statements every three to five years, in conjunction with a new strategy cycle. So check back for updates posted here. Chapter delegates will vote on any changes at the Annual General Meeting at World Conference in Washington D.C.
In the meantime, if you have an idea or suggestion, please send it to us, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are updating these statements as part of our work to develop the next three-year strategy. Below is a chart that shows how all the pieces interconnect.
Together we can align the vision, purpose and philosophy statements so they guide our actions for the future, help us see the opportunities and ultimately, deliver enduring value to our community.
Together we can align the vision, purpose and philosophy statements so they guide our actions for the future, help us see the opportunities and ultimately, deliver enduring value to our community.
Time flies and we’re already back from Dallas and our Leadership Institute 2017! What an engaging and energizing event it was, as so many of you have said in your feedback.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated in making this year’s annual IABC leaders gathering so rewarding, and a stellar boost of motivation and connection. We hope that you left inspired with plenty of take-aways to put to work back home at your chapter or region.
Sharing insights, knowledge and good practices has always been the very essence of Leadership Institute. We hope you’ll keep the conversations going! Keep connecting with IABC members around the world who can help you achieve your goals. Remember those work plans from the World Café and the take-aways from the outstanding sessions to tee up action for your future-forward plans.
A highlight of Leadership Institute is recognizing outstanding achievement by our chapters and leaders in our celebration of the Chapter Management Awards.
During a special ‘L.I Reflections’ Leadership Forum yesterday our special guests were Claudia Miller, the 2017 Regional Leader of the Year and Will Tigley, president of IABC/Calgary, our 2017 International Chapter of the Year. They shared their success stories, learnings and tips for success. Watch the recording if you missed it.
Last Friday afternoon, I published a post here titled “‘Alternative Facts’ and IABC’s Six Core Principles,” detailing our association’s position on something that has been a point of conversation and reflection in our IABC community in recent weeks. We also posted a petition on Change.org, asking professionals to stand with us in support of the ethical practice of professional communication.
Given the discussion I’ve seen around terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” within our community, I expected I might get some reaction to my post. But to say I’ve been overwhelmed by the engagement and response would be an understatement.
As I write this, more than 600 people have signed the re-commitment to ethics on Change.org and I’ve heard incredible feedback from countless IABC members and other communication professionals. My fellow IABC executive board members have received emails and phone calls as well, and social media has been filled with insightful discussions as IABC members signed and shared the petition.
The response has been almost entirely positive, with many members saying how glad they are to see IABC taking a stand on this issue, and how proud they are to be a part of it and stand together.
Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve heard on Twitter:
Those are just a few examples of the types of feedback we’ve received. For even more, I encourage you to browse the IABC Twitter timeline, where we’ve shared many of the supportive tweets so many people have sent our way.
Thank you for your support and dedication to ethical practice in communication. It’s inspiring to see your level of commitment and engagement around this critical issue for our profession. I look forward to continuing the dialogue and building on this momentum with all of you!
All the best,
P.S. As always, if you are not an IABC member, I invite you to join our thriving IABC community to be a part of the learning, development, connection, and discussions we all hold dear as members.
One of the many wonderful things about IABC having 10,000 members spread out around the globe is that our organization has its finger on the pulse of so much happening around the world and what it means to all of us working in business communication. This has been especially clear as the start of 2017 has brought with it big changes, new terms and challenges related to the work we all do.
A phrase we’ve heard frequently in recent weeks is “alternative facts,” as a term for inaccurate information, and many people have reached out asking where IABC’s stands on this issue. Our answer as an organization is clear.
The IABC Global Standard of the Communication Profession outlines six core principles that serve communication professionals around the world as building blocks of their work. Applying that standard enables us to communicate across borders, align with diverse cultures and effectively serve organizations of myriad types and sizes. The first principle of the IABC Global Standard is Ethics. Among other tenets, this principle sets forth that to act ethically, professional communicators must act without deception; represent their organizations truthfully, fairly and accurately; and adhere to the IABC Code of Ethics.
The International Association of Business Communicators and our members stand strongly behind our Code of Ethics, which states:
“As a professional communicator, you have the potential to influence economies and affect lives. This power carries with it significant responsibilities.
The International Association of Business Communicators requires its members to agree to the IABC Code of Ethics. This code serves as a guide to making consistent, responsible, ethical and legal choices in all of our communications.”
The first two commitments in the IABC Code of Ethics state, “I am honest—my actions bring respect for and trust in the communication profession” and “I communicate accurate information and promptly correct any error.”
IABC is unwavering in our commitment to and advocacy for our Global Standard and Code of Ethics. “Alternative facts” have no place in professional communication. I’m certain this was never in doubt for all of you as members. But should someone ask you for IABC’s stance on this issue, I invite you to point them to this blog post and our Global Standard.
I look forward to further discussion about this topic when I see many of you later this month at our annual Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas.
This June, I’ll gather with even more of you at the 2017 IABC World Conference in Washington, D.C., where the latest issues and ideas affecting our profession and our work will be in the spotlight. I have no doubt that IABC and our committed members from around the world will shine, just as you do every day.
We’ve posted a petition on Change.org to publicly stand in support of the IABC Code of Ethics and what it means to live it every day. Please join us in signing it to show your commitment to ethical communication at all levels—you don’t need to be a member of IABC to stand with us. Please share the link with colleagues around the world to show our solidarity on this key principle.
On behalf of the entire executive board and leadership of IABC, thank you for your continued passion and ongoing commitment to ethical practice. It is tremendously appreciated and critical to the work we all do as professional business communicators.
The first Leadership Forum of 2017 spotlights the exciting new offerings of our IABC Academy, with updates from Academy Committee Chair Allison MacKenzie, ABC, MC. The Academy now has made professional development more user-friendly and cost-effective and I encourage you to check out all the details.
There’s a bevy of activity and energizing updates in the January Forum. Some highlights include:
Plans are in high gear! With a theme of “Global Business: Lead Communication—Make Real Impact,” this year’s conference is going to offer a number of exciting new opportunities for important conversations and making connections with our first-ever World Café at World Conference and a special Speed Networking event. The Program Advisory Committee is pulling out all the stops to secure a not-to-be-missed World Conference in Washington, D.C.
The website is up and registration is open, so I hope you’ll be among the first to secure your spot for the global professional communication event.
Our speakers will:
Focus on leading communication that makes a real impact in our organizations.
Build on the best of what we’ve learned about outstanding communication.
Aim high to capture the newest knowledge and ideas in the profession.
Lead innovations on how to reinvent our communication practice
Offer new tools and techniques that foster innovation.
Gold Quill Awards
One of the highlights of World Conference is recognizing and honoring outstanding work in our profession with the awarding of Gold Quills. We know that receiving your Gold Quill on stage is important, and the Excellence Gala this year has been planned to make sure award winners are celebrated on stage.
As we launch into the first quarter of 2017, let’s not forget the importance of IABC membership! Over the past several months, we have added many new member benefits, including member-only content, monthly free-to-member webinars, two new e-books free to IABC members, and made available to members only, a library of Gold Quill Award-winning case studies so members can learn from award-winning work.
As always, membership is top of mind, so please make sure to reach out to your new members and welcome them and find out how they would like to become involved with your chapter or region. Please remember to connect with your lapsing members to encourage them to renew and let them know about all of the new benefits of membership and opportunities to take their professional development to the next level.
In response to requests from chapter leaders, IABC HQ has launched affordable general liability insurance for U.S. chapters. Effective earlier this month, all U.S.- based chapters are covered with US$1 million liability insurance.
You should have received a notice about it via email. This is a cost-effective solution that cuts premium prices for large chapters who have purchased the insurance on their own in the past, and makes it accessible to small chapters who would be otherwise be excluded due to cost.
Premiums for chapters are based on the chapter size and will be held from rebates over a three month period. If you have questions about the program, please contact your Region leader or email@example.com.
We now move on to working on insurance solutions for our global chapters. We are working to determine how best to structure a program for Canadian chapters as our next step, and will then move through our other regions to determine the varying needs and solutions that may be available.
Keep in mind, this is not D&O insurance and chapters should still purchase this on their own.
There’s much more in store in the video and I look forward to hearing your feedback, input, questions and insights.
Let’s continue to #createconnection more than ever and engage to excel, Together we can do great things!
With heartfelt thanks for all you do for our IABC,
For the past three months Vice Chair Sharon Hunter and I have been on a listening tour. Members from every region shared what IABC, at its best, means to them. These insights, along with the member survey from last summer, will direct the creation of the 2017/2020 strategy.
A significant piece of that process is to reconfirm that IABC’s vision, mission, philosophy and purpose, outlined in our bylaws, still reflects who we are as an organization. After all, these statements serve as guardrails for our path forward. Not only will they guide the strategy, they guide how we conduct business and set the framework for how we will grow. Specifically, we are reviewing:
Vision: what success ultimately looks like for IABC
Mission: gives IABC focus by describing what business we are in
Philosophy: sets out the intentions of how IABC will operate – the core values that we hold dear
Purpose: expresses the impact we want to have on the people we serve
The philosophy was actually updated a couple of years ago when we adopted a new set of brand guidelines, which listed our shared values. These principles define the culture and behavior of our organization and members – so basically our philosophy of doing business. They are:
We represent the global profession.
We create connection.
We are a diverse community.
We focus on insights and results.
A big note of gratitude to Priya Bates and her Taskforce team for creating such a comprehensive guide.
Over the next few months we will be grappling with the vision, mission and purpose statements. Are they motivational, are they concise, do they represent what members say they want from IABC?
As we consider how to refine these statements so they truly become our rally cry, we will post updates here. Then chapter leaders will vote on any updates at the AGM meeting at World Conference in Washington D.C.
In the meantime, if you have an idea or suggestion, please send it to us, firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can align the vision, mission and purpose statements so they guide our actions for the future, help us see the opportunities and ultimately, deliver enduring value to our community.
Photo Caption: Pacific Plains Region participating in a Listening Session
As we wind up what has been a year of change and many important advancements for our IABC, the December Leadership Forum offers a reflection on progress we’ve made along with priorities to be addressed in the new year. This month we focused the spotlight on the exciting and valuable work of our newly re-imagined IABC Foundation, and what’s in store for Leadership Institute, World Conference, certification, and more!
To begin, and as we wind up 2016, we take a moment to focus on our overarching 2016-2017 strategic priority:
This board year will be satisfaction-led and focused on achieving financial sustainability and increasing our membership retention.
Retention is one of the key areas of focus this board term and on that note I’d like to share some important updates, a progress review and a look at efforts underway to ensure we provide the IABC value that will keep our members engaged and improves member loyalty:
Retention continues to be one of the association’s greatest growth opportunities
Retention has increased by 13% over the course of 2016, and is up 21.5% over the end of 2015.
This is good news and means we are moving in the right direction, but does not at all mean that we do not still have a lot of room to continue improving.
In 2016, several initiatives were rolled out to improve member value and increase retention. Those include:
Implementation of members-only content on the IABC website, which includes the creation and release of new content such as Gold Quill case studies
Publication of two e-books free to IABC members
Implementation of monthly free to member webinars
Implementation of a series of onboarding emails to first time members
Implementation, beginning this month, of a monthly email highlighting member only resources at your fingertips
As we look forward, we continue to examine ways to provide tangible value to members and drive an increase in retention. Some items on the horizon include an improved online experience with the new Association Management System (AMS) being implemented in 2017, improved resources for chapter leaders via the AMS and Leader Centre, and exploration of a private social network for IABC members only – on the longer horizon.
Our very special guest for December is IABC Foundation Committee Vice Chair Sherry Boyd. Sherry is helping to lead us into an impactful new era with our re-envisioned Foundation. Sherry provided important updates about the work of the new committee and the exciting initiative of ‘Gift of Communication in a Box’ which will be presented at Leadership Institute! We are thrilled with this offering which will support our leaders by providing tools to help fulfill our IABC mission of driving communication as a force for good in business and society. This is an amazing endeavor and opportunity for all of us to work together to make a positive impact in our communities by offering our time, talent and treasure and seeing our Foundation thrive for the greater good.
Check out other important updates in the December Forum on the Leadership Institute, including a special Foundation session with our host chapter Dallas’s Heroes presentation, a mega #IABC1720 Strategy Planning session, Gold Quill and awards technology updates, reminders of some new members- only features including monthly free to members webinars and member only content including e-books, GQ case studies, videos, podcasts, and more.
Speaking of important updates, the excitement continues to build as we look forward to an outstanding IABC World Conference to be held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. 11–14 June, 2017. http://wc.iabc.com/
There are a number of positive changes in the conference agenda and session formats that have been designed to better align with the IABC Brand, including a daily theme that relates directly to activities and content. Some highlights:
Welcome Reception The Welcome Reception will be at the magnificent International Trade Center in Washington D.C. – the perfect place to kick off the event with our global community.
Keynote speakers We have a phenomenal slate of keynote speakers – three of whom have already been announced:
Sunday Opening Keynote: Gabrielle Dolan – an Australia native and global thought leader on authentic leadership and business storytelling. She has run workshops all over Australia, in New Zealand, in Malaysia…and in many other places.
Monday Morning Keynote: Jon Iwata, who is SVP of Marketing & Communications for IBM and the architect of IBM’s strategic brand platforms. His global team is responsible for the marketing of IBM’s product and services portfolio in more than 170 countries.
Tuesday Morning Keynote: Denise Jacobs, who is an author, speaker and creativity evangelist. She focuses on busting through creative blocks, cultivating collaboration and up-leveling creative productivity.
Stay tuned, our closing keynote will be announced in January!
The complete slate of the recently finalized slate of breakout sessions and speakers will be posted in January.
World Café & Speed Networking
We have added a World Café session on Monday afternoon which will be an opportunity to talk in small groups about topical issues that we as communication professionals are facing.
Additionally, there will be an optional lunch and speed networking event on Tuesday.
Register by 31 December and save US$400!
If you know anyone considering an IABC membership, they can register and become a member simultaneously for an $800 savings!
International Executive Board/Committees #IABCieb
Nominations to the International Executive Board are open until 11 January. I encourage you to give thoughtful consideration to taking your dedication and leadership in IABC to the global level and apply to serve on the IEB or an international committee. IABC needs a strong team of committed volunteers to take us forward to an even brighter and more successful future. How might you be able to add your expertise to advancing our association and the communication profession?
The open call for 2017-2018 IEB nominations closes on Wednesday, 11 January at 5:00pm EST . The call for international committees will open 23 January.
Affiliation Agreements Due
As you know, IABC has introduced an updated Affiliation Agreement, which chapters should submit to headquarters by 31 December 2016. (If your chapter has already done so, Thank You!)
The Affiliation Agreement serves to provide a common understanding of mutual expectations between IABC Chapters and IABC International. The agreement outlines the services and deliverables that can be expected of International and will serve as a mutually beneficial service level agreement.
There are not any material changes in the ways that Chapters operate under the updated Affiliation Agreement. As always, Chapters must continue to remain in compliance with the IABC Policy Manual, Bylaws, and Code of Ethics.
Certification opportunities and deadlines Kudos to our 24 new certified Communication Management Professionals! We are so proud of all of our CMPs for demonstrating their skills and knowledge in professional communication. The next exam will be held at Leadership Institute, where we are piloting the first online exam. I hope you’ll step up to become recognized for your skills and expertise in our profession with the CMP designation.
Important certification exam dates:
23 January: Deadline to apply for eligibility to sit exam
9 February: Deadline to register to sit exam
23 February: CMP exam
In more important news; the Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) is lowering the cost of the CMP certification program.
The GCCC is adjusting the cost associated with becoming a certified Communication Management Professional (CMP) and making the following rate changes: