Pushing The B In IABC

ByRussell Grossman

Pushing The B In IABC

One of the challenges of leading a global organisation, let alone of communicators, is how to connect with members in a meaningful way.

After a bit of deliberation I’ve started a regular blog to supplement my tweeting. My intention is to blog fortnightly and to publish every other Monday. Let’s see.

Comments welcome (of course). Incidentally, not enough of you are following me on Twitter yet @RussellAtIABC.

No-one has the time these days to read long pieces of prose so I promise to keep the thing short.

So…..since becoming Chair in June, I’ve been considering how best to use the year.   IABC runs a ‘continuity’ leadership process at its International Level; in many other places also. You get elected, in a slightly long-winded process, to a three year commitment: as Vice Chair, Chair and Past Chair.

I call this ‘a year learning, a year doing and a year teaching’. It advocates continuity and collaboration – because you influence the visions of those you follow, and vice versa – and we get genuine synchronisation from year to year.

So in June 2013, I started to look at IABC’s forward strategy to run from this year to 2017.   I formed a group to look at ideas, and in total we involved about 60 people in the process. Next year’s Chair, Michael Ambjorn, also got heavily involved.

We met online, in person and over the phone. Gradually those ideas became concrete and they were signed off by the Board last month.

We’ve come up with a model which basically says that while IABC needs to continue developing value for members by offering relevant knowledge and learning, it must also branch out : to offer services to business, and to increase its impact in both business and the communications profession.

This recognises two things. Firstly, after the Global Financial Crisis especially, communications is even more of a force for competitive advantage in business and organisations generally.

And secondly, as IABC is the only global communications association with ‘business’ in its name, we should make that work more for us.

If we get it right, this will bring a new, strong, steady and sustainable source of income to IABC which we can then use to subsidise member activity and deliver greater member value.

We’re about to start market research on the detail of this idea. If you would like to know more, and especially if you’re commercially minded and could contribute to the development of this idea, please email me at chair@iabc.com

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5 Comments so far

Kristen SukalacPosted on8:45 am - Aug 1, 2014

I totally support focusing more on our B. Great move!

MeganPosted on7:48 am - Aug 5, 2014

As a chapter president I am leery of anything that takes away from a focus on members and providing quality service to them. I appreciate the want/need to ficus on the business but I feel there is so much on the member side that should be addressed first. Excited to see where this endeavor take us.

    Russell GrossmanPosted on11:55 pm - Aug 9, 2014

    Good point Megan – and the acquistion, care of, and retention of members will always be primary to what we do.

    So, big efforts and investment in the last couple of years on Certification and Gold Quill, a more accessible CW, and massive work going on behind the scenes IT-wise on our association management and chapter management support tools all speak to this.

    Some of this is already bearing fruit; more comes on stream in the next six months.

    But all this needs funding, and the old models which IABC has relied on to fund this infrastructure such as income from publications, conferences and even member dues themselves, are becoming less relevant (and delivering less cash) in a changing world.

    Recognising we should be able to extract a win-win-win from offering service to business at a profit to the Association we’re going to test the model. None of this however will take away from the focus on the member side. If it works, the reverse : it will pump cash into it.

MeganPosted on2:07 am - Aug 23, 2014

Thanks for following up Russell. Appreciate the perspective. Maybe consider tapping into the many independent communicators/consultants who have memberships to get their perspective on how to we successful on the business side.

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