All posts by Ginger D. Homan, ABC

Ginger D. Homan, ABC, is Treasurer of the International Association of Business Communicators. She is also the founder of Zia Communications, a firm specializing in changing behaviors, building communities and transforming thinking. Her award-winning communication model has been used by foundations and corporations to grow brands and align cultures. You can follow her @gingerhoman.

What are we voting on at the Annual General Meeting?

IABC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. at the Washington Hilton in Washington D.C. If you are a delegate, below is a punch list of the items we will be voting on. Please leave a comment below, or reach out to our Chair if you have questions.

Vision, Purpose, Philosophy: Reaffirming our Strategic Intent

After our global listening tour to inform the new #IABC1720 strategy, we have a proposed update to our vision, purpose and philosophy statements. Everyone who participated in the process gave us a lot to think about and definitely improved the final recommendation.

Proposed statements:

  • 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.

Our journey to this place:

Tweaks to Bylaws

This year, the Policy Review Committee, chaired by Victor Zalakos from the Canberra [Australia] chapter, did a detailed cross-check of the bylaws for alignment with the Policy Manual update approved at the 2016 AGM last June. The following changes will be voted on:

  • Add ‘International’ to ‘Executive Board’ throughout Bylaw document to bring clarity.
  • Include ‘All chartered chapters are required to sign the IABC Chapter Affiliation Agreement’ following the last sentence of Article 3 Organizational Structure, Section 4, Chapter, where it discusses chapter affiliation.
  • In the same section, edit the following sentence: Chapters shall organize themselves to serve their members in any appropriate manner that does not contravene the bylaws, policies, procedures, or the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators. The new sentence will read: Chapters shall organize themselves to serve their members in an appropriate manner that does not contradict the bylaws, policies, procedures, or the IABC Code of Ethics for Professional Communicators.
  • In Article 8, Executive Board nominations, Section (e) Proxy: edit this statement so that it is more flexible and allows a region to appoint a proxy if the regional chair is not able to serve on the Nominating Committee meeting. The new statement will read: ‘Shall a Nominating Committee delegate be unable to serve; the Region may appoint an acting officer of the regional board or a past regional chair as a proxy.’

Requirements to Serve as Secretary/ Treasurer

In previous years, the application to serve as Secretary/Treasurer required serving one year on the Finance Committee. The application was revised and this requirement fell away. This change brings back the requirement and adds it to the Bylaws. It gives IABC the benefit of working with an experienced Secretary/Treasurer. The adjusted language will read:  ‘The Secretary/Treasurer shall serve at least one year on the Finance Committee before taking office and will serve a one-year term. They may be elected for a second consecutive term.’

IABC Foundation Bylaws

There is a small tweak to the Foundation Bylaws. This change is an edit for clarity. The existing purpose (Article 1 Name and Location, Section 2, Purpose) for the Foundation reads:

  • The mission of the IABC Foundation is to generate resources to fund IABC strategic initiatives that advance the practice, perception and effectiveness of the communication profession across the globe.

The proposed change is to adjust the language to ‘The mission of IABC Foundation is to generate resources to fund and support strategic initiatives in line with IABC’s mission and to demonstrate the power of professional communication as a force for good in business and society.’

The change has two purposes. First, to clarify that the Foundation does not raise money for IABC programs, but rather to support IABC Foundation grants and scholarships that are aligned with IABC’s mission. Secondly, to align the mission with the new revitalized Foundation vision to focus on these pillars:

  • Gift of Communication
  • Gift of Excellence
  • Gift of Experience
  • Gift of Insight

Thank you to all our members and leaders for your ongoing participation and support in making IABC an unmatched peer community dedicated to excellence in practice. See you at the AGM!

Transforming IABC

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.

Here are all the statements that will be added to the IABC bylaws and voted on at the Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 10, 2017 in Washington D.C.

  • 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.

A brief sampling of feedback from Twitter:

Creating the IABC Vision, Purpose and Philosophy

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).

Contributing at the World Cafe for IABC’s vision and purpose statements.

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, ginger@ziacommunications.com. 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.

Recording ideas to take home.
Recording ideas to take home.

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.

Thanks for all you do.

How Everything Fits

Setting Our Path: IABC’s Vision

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, ginger@ziacommunications.com. 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