Stepping Across Content

It’s Sunday fortnight (that’s every two weeks folks) so time to write my blog.  In this case, my final as IABC International Chair, before I step across to the Past Chair role.

An attendee at the special Reception we held here in San Francisco, to thank all our leaders from across the world observed that, while I absolutely seemed content to hand over the reins, that action lacked the sense of imperative of my two predecessors.

I explained, simply, that I have had a good year; one in which much has been achieved – the reason being that Robin McCasland and Kerby Meyers worked so hard to tackle some of the really big issues the Association faced, so that the coast was clearer for me to progress.

So as I finish up the year, content I am.  At a personal level, it’s been great.  But more importantly, I believe it’s been one in which IABC itself has moved forward again.

Much of this has also been possible through the arrival of Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher; and as any Chair knows, working well with your Chief Executive is an essential precursor for organisational success.

I’ve been true to my promise to be more open and transparent with members.  I’ve made visible leadership a priority and have visited, in person, around 50 chapters, events or corporate members this year.
I’ve also done this blog fortnightly; produced 20 videos; been pretty active on Twitter; produced two Quarterly Reports (the next will be due in July); and created a direct IABC email link: chair@iabc.com – which did not have to go first to headquarters, and which I have usually replied to people on within 24 hours.

We also did the popular ‘open mic’ session at February’s International Executive Board, held at the International Leadership Institute in Orlando, and I held a similar session, virtually, with IABC Fellows later that month.

The response I’ve received to all this has been excellent. Undoubtedly, in a very enjoyable year overall, connecting with members has been the most enjoyable thing for me.

Plus, we have produced an Annual Report this year, for which I especially want to thank Vita Kernel ABC as the driving force.   That should be available online tomorrow (Monday).

Look How FarAnd of course we have launched our new ‘brand’.  I’ve used marks here around ‘brand’ because so far our communication has actually concentrated on a new logo.   It goes along however with the shared brand values which are an integral part of this exercise.

Like an oil tanker, turning IABC takes effort, time and patience.  We started to turn the wheel in the 2011-14 strategy; now the ship has begun to alter course, and the propeller is at full speed.

IABC knows we must supplement, and in some cases supplant, our traditional activities with ones which will bring in new revenue sources; those we can then continue to fund activities at the local level with, and ones appropriate for today’s generation.

But let me squash rumours that I have heard more than once in San Francisco that IABC is about to kill off World Conference.    There are no such plans.   In fact, we have just signed up for the Hilton in Washington for 2017.

We launched Certification and the IABC Academy this year.    The first Certification exam was on Sunday.

Both were long-promised to our global stakeholders; and all the research we’ve done this year on business brokerage also points to this being a winner for the future.    More work on this in the coming year.

The fact that I have never been a Chapter President, nor ever served on a Region Board; never entered or judged a Gold Quill nor a Silver Leaf has, I believe, allowed me to increase our ambition this year to strike out in previously non-traditional areas while committing to the best of what we know is the heart and soul of IABC.

But this is a work for the Association far from finished and I know that Michael Ambjorn, who worked with me last year on our three year (2014 – 2017) Strategy is committed to continue bridging the gap between those – principally, older generations – who know and love IABC for what it has been and those – principally younger generations – who do not regard us as a has-been.

We must ensure we remain time served, but do not become life expired..

This year, also, we have established a Communications Committee to boost our external communications : a work started but again, there is more to be done.

Knowing when to step across – and thereafter to step down – is as important as knowing when to step up.    In the coming year, I am looking at IABC’s ‘talent pipeline’ : how do we attract not just enthusiastic people to leadership in IABC, but more importantly capable ones.

Then, how do we keep people trained and motivated rather than drained and deactivated.

And finally, when we’ve finished with them, how do we put the best leaders in the recycle, rather than the general trash (what we know in the UK as the ‘black bin’).

Look out for my past chair’s blog, devoted to this subject.

I‘ve had an immensely enjoyable year and would like to thank everyone – and there are a huge number – who have supported me in my work this year.

I could also not have achieved this role without the patience and forbearance of my long-suffering wife, Mrs Grossman who as I write this has yet again gone alone to our friends’ children getting married.

Thank you all – it’s been a blast (as they say in Canada).

Russell
(PS – The Secret Weapon)

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