In a speech entitled The Battleground is Trust delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, global PR leader Richard Edelman notes that the codes of ethics and conduct of professional membership organizations like IABC and others are worthwhile. However, in the wake of the recent Bell Pottinger scandal, Edelman believes current standards do not go far enough to enforce ethical behavior and we must do better as an industry to regulate our practice.
Edelman states, “We need a set of principles that are universal, consistent, and well understood across the industry. The time has come to adhere to a single set of strong standards, and to hold all of our people accountable to them.” Edelman called for a PR Compact encompassing four principles of a global standard to regulate and enforce ethical practices that may serve to rebuild public trust in our institutions. He then called on like-minded groups globally to partner for ensuring the standard is followed around the world.
As the only global association for professional communicators, IABC applauds this initiative. We firmly stand by our Code of Ethics to guide the personal conduct of our member practitioners and we look forward to participating in this critical conversation about industry regulation on a global scale.
We have always believed professional communicators are at the heart of building trust, advising and holding executives accountable to authentic leadership, and driving business results through ethical practice within their organizations. In fact, the thrust of our #IABC1720 strategy to advance the profession is underpinned by our IABC Global Standard encompassing six core principles of professional practice where ethics stands at the top.
“You come for the professional development, you stay for the people”, “IABC peers are like family” and “IABC has honed my leadership skills more than any paid gig” are but three examples of what we value as a united peer community. See #IABC1720 for highlights of this journey.
The strength of passion and purpose to advance the profession within our global network cannot be overstated – and it will take a commitment to collaborative leadership to bring this new strategy cycle to life. Fortunately, IABC leaders have this in spades!
Throughout the strategy development work, the International Executive Board, regional and chapter leaders participated where we:
Held World Café sessions in all 8 IABC regions.
Leveraged Leadership Institute in February for feedback on our statements of strategic intent, field tested the draft #IABC1720 framework and invited leaders to explore “Freedom in a Framework” to align their strategic plans to collaboratively deliver local value.
Conducted interviews with global executives to gauge industry pulse.
Drew insights from a range of industry trend reports.
Liaised across committees to socialize the strategic priorities and gain input.
We are a diverse global community – it is our greatest strength but also our greatest challenge. How can we deliver relevant value across a broad spectrum of needs?
For associations, this doesn’t change at the core: It’s to continue to help members be successful in what matters most to them – supporting through education and insights, credentialing, community exchange and advocacy for the profession. What changes over time is the format and content of programming – and how we create opportunities for people to access it and engage each other to learn and grow.
For communicators in a rapidly changing business landscape, it means a commitment to adapt and develop new multi-disciplinary skills and demonstrate impact on key business outcomes.
Being included in the strategy and planning efforts within organizations
Demonstrating the value of communications to internal/external clients
Keeping up with the rapid pace of change in the field
This, from over 18,000 respondents where 72% have more than 10 years experience in the field.
Business leader interviews we conducted confirmed this familiar story: Communicators need to demonstrate business acumen and prove their ability to drive key business results. This is where we take our cue for advancing the profession over the next three years.
It’s time to prove the impact of strategic communications using #insightsandresults and to develop strategic communicators – through the Global Standard and certification – to become trusted business advisors.
Input on these new Vision/Purpose/Philosophy statements was enthusiastic and incorporated into revisions approved by the International Executive Board to go forward to AGM vote. A special thank you to Ginger D. Homan, IABC secretary/treasurer and #IABC1720 co-author for leading this essential exercise to conclusion.
The three elements of the Purpose statement – Advance the Profession, Create Connection and Develop Strategic Communicators – form the pillars of the proposed framework for the 2017-2020 strategic plan.
As we look to the future, IABC’s next three years will aim to advance the profession through a proactive approach to thought leadership and by helping communicators realize their strategic potential as business advisers to prove their impact on the organizations they serve.
With this framework approved, work to tie strategy to action for the 2017-18 term begins immediately at the International Executive Board meeting on Sunday. Stay tuned here for more as we put our best foot forward – together!
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, email@example.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.
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.
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:
Regional leaders launch our global conversation campaign to shape IABC’s next 3-year strategy at the Europe Middle East and North Africa (EMENA) leadership institute today.
What do you value most about IABC?
What do you want more of?
What brings life to our brand via the engagement and satisfaction you feel from being part of our professional communications community?
These questions frame the appreciative inquiry approach we’re using to create a shared vision of the future into 2020 and beyond.
Today we launch the discovery phase of this strategy process. It’s a global listening tour that will travel through a series of world cafes at regional conferences, leadership institutes and select chapter events over the next few months.
These sessions aim to engage our community to explore the best of what we are with an eye toward what more we could be.
IABC runs on a rolling three-year strategy cycle. The #IABC1417 strategy closes out this year. This new plan for 2017-20 will kick-off at World Conference in Washington, DC. Mark your calendars for 11-14 June 2017!
The new plan will look to capitalize on gains, strive for continuity and build for the future based on the foundational assets we’ve secured. This is thanks to the prudent work of our predecessors. We managed a turnaround these last years through a focus on financial recovery and sustainability. This guiding principle is one that we will commit to maintain moving forward.
Next steps will include a master session at the International Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas happening February 23-25 2017. Save the date! The board will then review three iterations of the new plan before it lands at the AGM next June.
It is the Vice Chair’s role to lead this process. It’s a duty I’m honored to advance in collaboration with co-author Ginger Homan, ABC, IABC Secretary/Treasurer, Chair Dianne Chase and the Executive Committee, the entire board and all who will bring their passion and ideas forward to help us along. I thank you all for the time and energy that you will bring to this community effort.
Follow #IABC1720 for tweets coming out of EMENA today. Fellow IEB member Michael Nord is leading an inspired group including Nikki Edwards, EMENA Chair, Alex Malouf, Vice Chair and dedicated leaders from across the region.
Check back here often for ongoing updates. The conversation will continue through sessions in Heritage, Southern and Pacific Plains regions in October, South Africa in November and other area events to follow.
Have an idea, question or experience to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’re listening!
We met to define our business priorities for the coming board year. It was exciting to be in the room with so many people who are passionate about IABC’s success.
Our senior management team kicked the session off with presentations that showcased their ideas on how to move the association forward. I want to personally thank our outgoing Executive Director Carlos Fulcher, and our now Acting Executive Director Stephanie Doute – as well as Director of Professional Development Ron Hansen, Director of Content Natasha Nicholson, Director of Finance Brook Yciano and Governance Manager Kirsten Peterson for their contributions.
We were also joined by Jodie Slaughter, President and Founder of McKinley Advisors, the company that conducted our recent membership survey. She shared trends in membership associations, which was incredibly insightful. One key point – successful associations are exploring relevant Big Data to gain actionable insights.
As we move into the last year of the 2014-2017 strategy, it was a pleasure to mark many items off the list as completed! Thank you to all our 1,000+ leaders across the world for the hard work you have put in to make that happen. Read the latest annual report to learn more.
Moving forward for this board year, we established four key business objectives to continue our progress towards our established strategic goal of achieving financial sustainability and increasing our membership retention.
While we did make advances in each area this past year, there are still improvements that need to be made to reach our ultimate goals.
1. Retention: substantially enhance the existing plan, utilizing the information from the membership survey we conducted earlier this year.
2. Technology Strategic Plan: we made significant investments and improvements in our technology over the past two years, but we must continue to wisely invest to improve our member experience and customer service.
3. Strategic Communications Plan: continue to focus efforts on our external communications and reaching new audiences to generate increased awareness about IABC. Our Communications Committee is in place and working to advance the association and our profession.
4. Strategic Marketing Plan: IABC has a lot of great products and can add significant value to members of the professional communicators profession – however, we don’t do a good job of telling our story and getting our message heard, understood and acted upon.
As to the Strategic Marketing Plan, this is a combination of a couple of objectives from our previous list of business priorities – to focus on the success of our mature products and to engage with professional communicators who are not members – but it actually will provide a platform for making that happen. Utilizing the survey data, as well as the personas developed by the Membership Task Force, a comprehensive marketing plan will be developed to sell all of our products. Initially, it will focus on Academy offerings, but quickly scale up to include all of our offerings.
A senior staff member was assigned to each objective and milestone dates were set – and we’ll keep you posted on progress.
And I hope to see you at the Washington Hilton next year for #IABC17! Mark your calendar now: 11-14 June 2017.
Dianne Chase 2016-17 IABC Chair
P.S. Got a recommendation for the #IABC17 team on who should keynote? Share your suggestion here – and please help spread the word.
IABC Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher, moves on with thanks from the board in the last year of the contract.
“After much deliberation, I have decided to step down from my role as Executive Director,” said Fulcher. “I have utmost respect for the International Executive Board and IABC. I found my two plus years with IABC to be very rewarding and filled with great accomplishments. I wish IABC and all its stakeholders the best of luck and a prosperous future.”
Great strides were made in the last couple of years advancing our financial recovery and overall sustainability as an association; as set out in our regular quarterly and annual reports.
Stephanie Doute, CAE, IABC’s Membership Director, is taking over as Acting Executive Director with immediate effect. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step into this role and work with the IABC leadership and staff moving the work of the association forward to serve our members.” Doute noted. “I am humbled and excited and look forward to our continued advancement.”
We did the second IABC Leadership Forum on the road: Carlos and I broadcast from the stage at the Heritage Region Conference in Baltimore and Dianne checked in from Charlotte, fresh back from the Canada West conference in Calgary – and Melissa helped with the Q&A from San Francisco.
You can watch the replay here:
It was a great session, but don’t just take my word for it:
‘Love this! Am going to encourage our whole board to join.’ – Mary Foshage, VP Marketing IABC St. Louis
Quick overview of the topics covered
All of the following was interspersed with Q&A – see a run-down of the questions at the end – and the Leadership Forum is all about creating connection between leaders, hence all the people are hyperlinked in case you want to follow up.
Welcome, brief introductions
The core team (above) + special guest Camille Downing who joined to share an update from the Heritage Region conference which gathered a strong contingent of communicators from across the East Coast of the US – and even a couple of Canadians.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – held its first board meeting of this term at #IABC15 in San Francisco and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table:
Strategy 2014-17 & 2015 priorities
In addition to welcoming new board members featured to the right – and thanking those outgoing – the incoming board started off reviewing the road travelled so far.
From the strategic intent for 2014-17:
Financial recovery and sustainability is primary, as is the loyalty and development of our members and leaders and consolidating gains from the 2011-14 strategy.
The big opportunity to be grasped is then: Increased reputation in the profession; better brand positioning; and greater interaction with business – as a revenue generator and reputationally.
To the more detailed priorities for 2015.
I thought I might share what an engaging road it has been – as it has been a long one, I’ve put that right at the end for those who want to geek out on what it takes to arrive at a shared strategy – there are no shortcuts…
Following the strategy grounding, the board discussed alignment – and ran through the playbook for the year: essentially who does what, when and why.
The board then considered a number of papers for decision:
Membership Task Force & Survey Policy
Claudia Vaccarone brought two papers for consideration. Both advance our 2014-17 strategy – and a number of 2015 priorities in specific. Both were adopted:
The first one kicked off a focused look at our membership offering. A range of initiatives have looked at elements of membership over the years, yet based on feedback from our leaders across the world, it is time to take a look at the bigger picture as the market is changing fast. The group includes leaders from across the world identified through the IABC Council of Regions and will report back at the 2016 Leadership Institute.
The second paper was on surveying – recognising that in the age of big data it also needs to be well structured! The aim is to switch from the current ad-hoc approach to a regular schedule of timely and relevant surveys from IABC that can help inform leaders for action at all levels of the organisation
In the interest of securing the best leadership talent to help IABC deliver on its mission, vision and purpose – and in line with its stated philosophy:
“IABC is a volunteer-driven organization whose strength is derived from the dedication of its members to the advancement of their profession, with a commitment to improving the effectiveness of organizations through strategic, interactive, integrated business communication management.”
The board agreed to institute open calls for relevant incoming IEB Board and Programmatic Committees using the IABC Leadership Competency Framework. Look out for the Open Calls!
The board considered a paper I had asked Stephen Welch to put together in collaboration with Natasha Nicholson, IABC’s Content Director and Editor of Communication World (CW).
I am glad to report that the board agreed to a proposal to reinvigorate our approach here, making it a shared approach across all of IABC – we have great events, insights and outputs created across the world every day. Now let’s turn it into a real global conversation.
Look out for the Open Call for a refreshed Editorial Advisory Committee to come in and help shape the conversation that advances the profession – and if you’re a Chapter Leader, you don’t have to wait, you can align your event schedule to the CW editorial calendar right now (and indeed, pitch an article).
Audit & Risk
The board agreed to a broader remit for the IABC Audit Committee.
Good industry practice, as set out in Leading with Intent – a national index of nonprofit board practice – indicates that an organisation of IABC’s size should have a separate Audit Committee. This is already in place at IABC, yet historically it has focused mainly on the association’s finances, unlike other organisations where it has a broader remit. Also, unlike many Audit Committees it does not meet throughout the year, nor does it consider broader risk for the organisation – as is good
The IABC operates against a rolling three-year strategy and as the 2011-14 strategy came to a close, the work preparing the way for 2014-17 – aka #IABC1417 – was already well underway:
Back in 2013 the board directed the then Vice Chair, Russell Grossman ABC, to convene a working group to deliver a framework by June 2014 – and Russell in turn asked me to do the facilitation work.
Recognising that IABC strategy is by its nature iterative – we need to bring all stakeholders with us – #IABC1417 is not a big bang; more an evolution that helps us transform over time.
Overview of how we got to where we are at today:
Summer 2013 – Russell Grossman ABC convenes Strategy Group virtually
October 2013 – Strategy Group meets for Think Tank in Los Angeles and defines the challenge, sets out ambitions and identifies high level opportunities
November 2013 – January 2014 – Strategy Group deliberates further on Basecamp
February 2014 – The Council of Regions (CoR) and the leader of the Chapter Relations Task Force + key staff hold a Think Tank session at the 2014 IABC Leadership Institute in New Orleans. Burning issues are explored as a way of creating a common purpose. Prezi: j.mp/IABC1417-LIprogressprezi
March 2014 – Outputs from the new deliberations continue on the dedicated Basecamp site; Past Chairs asked to start wrapping up outputs and outcomes from 2011-14 – aka – #IABC1114 so that we can honour and celebrate the many people who helped make it happen.
April 2014 – Strategy Group discussion continues via dedicated Basecamp; IABC’s International Executive Board (IEB) reviews strategy discussion deck
May 2014 – Deliberations continue virtually across the IEB and Strategy Group Basecamps in preparation for more formal review
June 2014 – A formal proposal for the strategy is taken to the IEB for approval
July 2014 – A senior staff day-long summit with the IABC executive held to further align on the strategy and agree the prioritised operational plan for the year which flows from it.
Autumn 2014 – This then determined the strategic workplan for IABC staff, to operationalise for 14- 15. The Strategy also became the workplan for the 2014-5 IEB.
January 2015 – Then IABC Chair Russell Grossman ABC gives update in quarterly report
February 2015 – Q&A with leaders at the ’15 Leadership Institute in Orlando
Russell Grossman ABC picked up on this precedent as part of his commitment to visible leadership – and I’ll be carrying it on across my 2015-16 term.
I’ll be sharing Field Notes from trips. Also, to keep things regular, look out for a Weekly Venn connecting tools, people and practice related to international communications.
Last but not least, one of the things I’ve heard repeatedly over the years from our leaders across the world is a desire to be kept up-to-date with the broader work of the association’s board. People put in a remarkable amount of time and effort across the globe to advance the profession (and of course our shared organisation) and communication and collaboration are at the centre of making that work.
To that end I am introducing a category on this blog called #IABCieb Notes & Queries.
It has two simple aims:
Share brief notes from board proceedings;
Collate questions, queries – and their answers – for easy access.
Want to geek out and get a bit more of the backstory – and also the basic template I went through to explain this approach in more detail to others?