At today’s International Executive Board, at the 2017 World Conference in Washington DC, we closed out the 2014-17 Strategy.
It was a strategy that transformed IABC.
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting a talented group of leaders are set to step up and take for the next strategy: #IABC1720
The purpose of this post is to briefly:
Take stock, reflect, gain insights to move forward
Close loops, let go of what is no longer relevant
Acknowledge, appreciate, thank
As with any 46-year-old organisation, much work remains, yet our leaders around the world report that they have seen a step-change. And, as with any 46-year-old organisation, much that came before has been built on. We’re grateful to all who put their should to the wheel over the years.
Building on the best from our founding, we moved from an organisation that had friction and confusion into one ready to re-energize. Today at the AGM we’ll set out a rechartered mission to that effect.
In shorthand, these are the things that advances us to where we are today:
Clarity & alignment: roles and responsibilities.
Customer focus: strategic advisors.
Actionable insights: survey policy and personas ; key performance indicators clarified; annual portfolio review initiated; board-level chapter and region dashboard implemented – and groundwork for strategic funnel laid.
Bottom line results: back in black; technology updated; ready for the future.
Ready for #IABC1720
Lessons learnt? Almost uncountable. Painstakingly documented on this blog – some 100+ posts. Go ahead and explore. For example, there’s a whole section dedicated to insights articulated through Venns – and we even have paper airplanes with leadership advice from your peers. Because strategy work can otherwise be a bit dry.
The board spent time reviewing what was good, and difficult – during the implementation of the 2014-17 strategy. It was an opportunity close loops, and discuss what needs to be done differently in the coming years.
Thanks to the 2014-15, 2015-6 and 2016-17 boards who oversaw the development and implementation of the strategy. And our hard working leaders in the field. The people who power chapters and regions around the world.
And our staff. Thank you all. We couldn’t have done it without you.
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:
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.
Some time has passed since IABC first embarked on the journey towards a new global credential for communication professionals: the CMP (or Communication Management Professional, for those who are ‘acronymed out’!).
The program is in full swing, with graduates around the globe now able to include these all-important letters after their name. IABC has of course been dedicated to setting a standard for professional communication for decades, most notably with the development of the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation that is still held by hundreds of professionals worldwide. This commitment to setting a global standard for professional communication practice paved the way for the association to enter into the development of the new CMP credential.
So, why is certification the right choice for IABC?
This is a question that came up back in 2013 and people are still asking us. For me this was the result of a number of threads that all became intertwined at the same time. If we cast our minds back to the 2011-14 strategic plan, the IEB sought to align all IABC’s programs in support of communication professionals’ careers. At the same time, the Accreditation Committee had highlighted several key issues for the long-term sustainability of the ABC program. In looking at the various options open to IABC in response to this, certification emerged as an avenue that could meet the association’s needs in many ways:
Assessment for certification depends on a body of knowledge for the profession – this could also be a basis for other programs for professional development, awards, etc. and for the association’s content strategy. (This body of knowledge is developed by and with the profession to make sure it represents what we should know and the skills we should have.)
Assessment is based on an exam and evaluation is in no way subjective
The volunteer commitment to run the program is much less intensive
The process around certification (as opposed to accreditation or other similar programs) reduces liability for the association, as it is related only to the body of knowledge
The ISO 17024 standard for professional certification programs provides a framework for building the program; meeting this standard sets our program apart from any other in the world
Why does ISO matter?
Once certification was determined to be the right way of moving ahead, IABC had a decision to make: figure this out on our own or follow the international standard for the management of professional certification programs. It chose the latter for a number of reasons:
No other communication association has an ISO-standard certification program; this differentiates us from the competition by having a built-in level of credibility
As an international association, IABC wanted a truly global credential, not one that only met the standards of one country
The ISO guidelines apply to the management of the program and provide quality assurance for the administration and development of the credential. This is critical in showing people, particularly those outside our profession, that all aspects of the program conform to international standards of best practice
It provided guidance as to how to establish the program (we didn’t need to figure this out on our own) and would avoid having to retrofit the program later on and make (potentially costly) changes to how the program is administered
Recognition of ISO standards in industries and markets across the globe is very high, which would give visibility to our certification program. Many organizations have to meet ISO standards (for compliance with health & safety, for example) and there is increasing interest in setting standards for professions at the ISO level
The pursuit of the ISO standard is voluntary and shows IABC’s commitment to meeting the highest possible standards for its certification program
Given that IABC is seeking to establish the value and impact of this important new program, I think that its focus on making it the best it can be from the outset is admirable. It will help build credibility amongst anyone who is trying to learn more about it, not least of which the hiring managers around the world who are going to be curious to know what is behind the new set of letters they are seeing after communication professionals’ names in years to come.
I am honestly thrilled to see the progress that has been made with the certification program and I am impressed with how much it is being embraced by our organization worldwide. This is all thanks to the commitment of the series of IEB members since the journey began, as well as the hundreds of people who have been involved in bringing certification to life. I have been lucky to witness this from the inside, from my time on the Career Roadmap Committee where I saw all the various streams begin to align, and then as part of the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council (where I co-chaired the exam committee). The current GCCC is in the process of developing the next level of exam to bring the designation to an even broader group of professionals. It’s incredible just how far things have come in such a short space of time. Learn more about Certification.
I can vouch for the passion and drive that has been a huge part of realizing IABC’s vision for certification and I am still massively confident in what it will do for IABC, for communication professionals around the world and for raising awareness of what we do to people who are far less familiar than we are. The journey is far from over, but I hope you’ll join us all on it.
Neil is Past Chair of IABC EMENA and has served on numerous IABC committees, notably the inaugural Global Communication Certification Council. Neil is a Regional Leader of the Year and in 2015 received the Rae Hamlin Award for services to professional certification. He is currently Vice Chair of the Program Advisory Committee and will chair the 2018 World Conference in Montreal.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – just closed out its third board meeting of this term and here’s a quick recap of what was on the table in addition to the usual reports from the Chair; Vice Chair Dianne Chase (with a specific focus on the work of the Council of Regions – aka #IABCcor); Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
If you want to see how the Gold Quill framework can be used off-season too, check out this earlier post.
The board also had an update from the IABC Academy – one of the perhaps less exciting roles of the board (yet essential) is reviewing terms of reference to ensure clarity of roles, responsbilities – and ultimately alignment with our purpose, vision, and mission. Big thanks to Academy Chair Theomary Karamanis (and congrats again on the recent move to Cornell) as well as board liaison Sharon Hunter for their work on this with Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE and Ron Hansen, our Education Director on staff. This work forms an essential part of the #IABC1417 strategy, specifically in consolidating gains from the 2011-13 strategy cycle.
Carlos, our Executive Director, took us through the comprehensive report on this year’s World Conference – big thanks goes out to Preston Lewis who chaired the #IABC15 Programme Advisory Committee and helped feed into the analysis work led by Natasha Nicholson, IABC’s Director of Content. All that after they had delivered a successful conference too! ‘No rest …’ as the saying goes.
I’m super excited to be working with Stacy Wilson ABC on #IABC16. We’ve had a tremendous response to the Open Call to serve on the 2016 Programme Advisory Committee. Great to see so many leaders from around the world looking to step up and serve.
We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to New Orleans.
If the financial crisis didn’t teach us anything else, then it hopefully taught us that it is not just commercial firms that need to operate professionally and with a solid business model.
Non-profits need to do that too, and increasingly we see expectations like this put on government departments as well. What is common across all of these? These organisations need solid professional communicators to support them. Don’t take my word for it. Take SAP’s CEO – our keynote speaker earlier [at #IABC15] – take his word for it.
What can you expect from me? I will follow the path Russell has forged for visible leadership at IABC. At the time Russell took over we needed a strong central figure to continue to hold things together. Looking at this room, and reflecting on the progress we have made – as challenging as it has been – I would like to venture to say that we now need a thousand leaders to stand up and be counted.
We have a thousand leaders in this association.
You’re a highly engaged bunch. You’re kind. You’re hard working. And you’re demanding.
So what will I do to help you? I will do my utmost to live what we want the tone around here to be:
Accessible Open Lighter Contemporary Professional
To that end, and accompanying the now once-again regular quarterly reports I am instituting a quarterly progress call – the corporates amongst you will know it as an earnings call – but we of course have no shareholders. We do however have stakeholders and we need to continue to have regular exchanges, as piloted this year as ‘open mics’. Look out for an invite to a Google Hangout where you can hold me, and the board, to account, ask questions and get straight answers.
I will also kick off a new conversation once a month – aligned with the IABC editorial calendar – and I encourage you to participate, or indeed, kick off your own.
What do I hope to review with you when I stand here next year?