Here we are on the cusp of October! Wow- time flies when you’re having fun and everyone is in high gear for our IABC. We’re entering a busy time of the IABC year with three region conferences and regional leadership institutes coming up in the next four weeks, along with the all-important October Membership Month which is going to be stellar this year!
For all the scoop check out our September Leadership Forum featuring our Awards Committee Chair, Lynn Barter, ABC.
Also, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Leadership Forums. We’re staggering the times for these monthly conversations with leaders so as to engage as many time zones as possible with as little “pain” as possible. We definitely want you to get your sleep!
Here are the dates and times coming up:
26 October at 2 p.m. Pacific Time
16 November at 10 a.m. Pacific Time
14 December at 2 p.m. Pacific Time
25 January at 10 a.m. Pacific Time
In the meantime, please do reach out with any questions, input, suggestions, recommendations and insights. Your contributions are encouraged and most welcomed. Let’s #createconnection and #engage2excel like never before!
With deep appreciation for all you do for our IABC,
This week I’ve been at #SLUSH15 – an event that brings together 15,000 people interested in start-ups: entrepreneurs, investors, academics and of course the raw talent who power it all.
Here’s one of the things I took away – advice given to start-ups, but just as applicable to communicators operating at the strategic advisor level:
Paper folding segmentation
‘Impossible is nothing’ said Muhammad Ali – and whilst that is true, he did take a rather meticulous approach.
The same goes for start-ups (and communicators) who succeed: they don’t try their luck across all the weight classes.
They pick their fights carefully.
The first step? Segmentation.
Kim Väisänen brilliantly brought this to life with a visual shorthand: and no, I’m not talking about boxing gloves. Rather, something you’ll most likely have to hand: a plain sheet of paper.
Now just imagine that piece of paper is the whole world.
Tempting, yet hopefully obvious that you can’t address all of it.
Kim’s advice? Keep folding until you have enough specificity to make it meaningful – but also realise that you can’t fold infinitely.
The average piece of paper can only be folded 7-8 times.
If you want to geek out on more on start-up advice – including Rachleff’s Law of Start-up Success, then there’s a useful write-up here. For those just starting out, this simple ‘business plan basics’ Prezi which I’ve taken on the road in the past may also be useful.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its fifth 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 (#IABCcor); Financials from Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
Portfolio Review & Organisational Alignment
Following on from the discussion at the September board meeting, the board reflected further on the decision to focus more tightly on our core audience at the international level.
Another recommendation that came out of the portfolio review is to bring clearer definition to the value of membership. Now this is of course work that is already well underway in the form of the Membership Task Force, led by Claudia Vaccarone with support from our Director of Membership, Stephanie Doute CAE – and with a strong team of leaders providing input. In parallel, and in order to accelerate this broader work, the board has directed the senior management team to explore how IABC’s website might enable better differentiation of access to content based on whether one is a casual visitor or a full member. The work on further refining and focusing in IABC’s portfolio and the association alignment work will continue meanwhile.
Member Month & Technology
Linked to the above, the board discussed the latest membership figures and Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE reported on the latest work on the iabc.com website which has made joining (and renewing) a smoother experience. Moving IABC’s technology infrastructure into the 21st century after ten years of underinvestment continues to be hard work, but progress is being made. I continue to be in awe of the effort being put in by our hard-working HQ staff – and our leaders in the field – to serve members around the world. Thankyou!
October is an incredible important time for IABC as it is the time of year when many are coming up for renewal. With support from our hard working Director of Global Communication, Melissa Dark ABC, a set of fabulous campaign materials are out there, ready and available for leader use.
I count on you to help create connection and grow the value of our shared network. You can read my full call-to-action here – and I hope you will do your bit to be recognised as a Very Important Communicator (to find out what that entails, you’ll have to read this).
The board approved the work plan for 2016 Theomary Karamanis PhD brought to the board, with support from our Education Director, Ron Hansen EdD and his staff. The next step being budget discussions.
Since the June 2015 report the Academy has progressed significantly.
The Academy identified two subcommittees to provide a focus on
key objectives, as described in the approved Terms of Reference:
a) The curriculum subcommittee, focusing on pedagogy, curriculum and related tasks
b) The strategic plan subcommittee, focusing on strategic planning, branding and policies and procedures for the Academy
Meet the international team behind this here – and also big thanks to Sharon Hunter for her ongoing strategic liaison work with this team.
World Conference: #IABC16
The board received an encouraging progress report from Stacy Wilson ABC for the 2016 World Conference coming up in New Orleans. Hundreds of applications to speak have been received. The next big challenge is for the super-sized Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) to work through all these applications, using the objective review process and then the creation of the final programme. I am pleased to say that a number of exciting keynotes are also being shortlisted.
The PAC is also working on rethinking the Foundation Luncheon and the Circles of Wisdom.
I am also pleased to report that PAC Vice Chair Sarah McLaughlin is working closely with the leaders of the Gift of Communication as well as liaising closely with the local New Orleans Chapter for support around Dine-Around and more.
Leadership Institutes – Regional and International
People go to World Conference – [and the many Regional Conferences such as those coming up next week: Denver, Baltimore, Calgary, and Rotterdam early next year] – in order to build their communications skills.
Leaders also go to Leadership Institutes. To build their leadership skills. And again, they happen around the world: Minneapolis and Johannesburg earlier in the year, Basel just last week and Sydney in November – to mention a few of the Regionals.
These tend to be smaller and more tightly focused on the unique challenges within a Region – and the board appreciated Dianne Chase’s update from her attendance at the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Leadership Institute in Basel. The board is grateful to the teams who put events like this together (and thanks to IEB colleague Ron Fuchs for hosting). Not to mention all the leaders who turn out to share their ideas, insight and passion. Whilst the market continues to be challenging, it sounds like there is a clear plan in place to face it head-on.
Global leaders also need a global perspective – as good practice knows no borders. To that end IABC leaders from across the globe convene once a year at what we call fondly call #IABCLI. Dianne Chase presented the preliminary programme from the Council of Regions, who oversee this programme with support from Micayala Felicion MBA.
Whether you’ve been to one or not, I hope to see you this coming February in Los Angeles. Please mark your calendar:
One of the cornerstones of the current three-year strategy is increased reputation in the profession and better brand positioning – and one of the routes to achieving this is by stepping up our own practice of communication. Here’s a direct quote from Katie Macaulay‘s report from the Communications Committee to the board – a first sharing of ideas to test the ground:
The next few years can be viewed in two ways – as a struggle for survival in a competitive and demanding marketplace, or as an exciting and unique opportunity.
Membership associations around the world are struggling to remain relevant and commercially viable due to the countless ways professionals can now connect with each other, receive support and promote their disciplines.
However, there is good news. The value of communication – in business and society – has never been better understood.
Communicators are playing an increasingly strategic role inside their organizations as the business community recognizes that success hinges on having a clear, credible and differentiating message.
So, despite a tough market, there has never been a better time to promote our profession and connect with communicators.
To help in this task, we have a new vision for non-member communication – to demonstrate the power of our profession.
The board welcomed the initial thoughts shared and asked Katie to come back to the board following further work by her Committee as well as broader stakeholders. Also big thanks to Ron Fuchs and Melissa Dark ABC for their ongoing liaison work.
At the November meeting, in addition to the Comms Committee returning, the Membership Committee reporting initial findings we will also look at board evaluation.
Before that? Well, a fair number of us are hitting the road next week: Dianne is heading to Calgary for the Canada West conference and Carlos, Ginger and I will be at the Southern Region Conference in Denver. Both Carlos and I will then go onto the Heritage Region conference in Baltimore. I hope to see you there – even if you’re not planning on travelling.
How? Join the next IABC Leadership Forum online. Details here.
The IABC International Executive Board – aka #IABCieb – recently held its fourth 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 (#IABCcor); Financials from Treasurer Ginger Homan ABC and last definitively but not least, the report from our Executive Director, Carlos Fulcher MBA CAE:
Portfolio Review & Organisational Alignment
At the 2015 AGM I talked about the commission of a comprehensive review of our portfolio of programmes, products and services to ensure that each and every one of them makes a return. Whether in the form of impact in line with out mission, or financially, to fund impact elsewhere.
The IABC Executive Committee recently convened in San Francisco to review this and we brought our findings to the full board for an initial generative discussion. The Council of Regions is also being asked to give input.
The board will convene one more time this month to focus in on this topic further with the aim of making IABC more than the sum of its parts.
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?