Category Archive Guest posts

ByAlex Malouf, SCMP

Shared learnings are key to growing the IABC family

There’s no community like IABC. As Dianne Chase used to say, there’s a secret sauce that makes our association truly special.

What makes IABC unique is our diversity; we are an international community of communicators, with chapters and chapter leaders spanning the globe.

These collective experiences are our greatest asset, one which we must tap into more. Events such as Leadership Institute help to share learnings face to face. And the Council of Regions is another means to promote dialogue between chapter chairs.

I’d like to propose a third way, an open call to share EMENA’s expertise and resources with other chapters.

Over the past year we’ve been experimenting with podcasts. We’ve also been holding webinars for over two years. And we’ve been putting on EUROcomm (now EMENAComm) for years.

We’ve already begun sharing experiences with other chapters, particularly APAC, which has capabilities that we want to leverage and learn from when it comes to digital and events.

What I’d like to see us doing as chapters is engaging more closely, all year round, to learn how we can better serve our members and grow the IABC family.

This post is my call to start that process. Let’s begin the conversation and share our expertise as chapter leaders, to both get more achieved for our members and grow our memberships. I welcome your feedback, and am always open to providing our know-now and resources to others.

If you do have a comment or a question, please do seek me out on the Hub. You can also find what we are up to as EMENA on our website. We are strongest when we work together. I look forward to hearing from you.
ByMichael Ambjorn

A #CommChat Primer

If you’re new to #CommChat, IABC’s weekly online get together on Twitter, then here’s a quick run-down of how it works in practice.

Before

Get #CommChat into your calendar – helps you make sure you don’t miss it. That hour can flash by like a lightning in a busy week.

It runs every week on Wednesday at 9am San Francisco time (GMT-7). Not sure what that time is where you are? Just type 9am San Francisco in <your city> as a Google search and voilà.

Then, on the day, tune in a minute or two before it all kicks off on the hour: #CommChat.

During

During the session 4-5 questions will usually be shared by the moderator (Q1, Q2, Q3 etc.) – and usually it kicks off with an informal icebreaker.

As an illustration – here’s the 4th question from a recent #CommChat:

When you see a question pop up – think about answers that can help other professionals. You may want to draw on the Global Standard and the Career Roadmap, or perhaps the Code of Ethics. Or perhaps you’ve seen an article in CW or elsewhere that is relevant and might be useful to others.

Either way, get your thoughts out there. And don’t forget to indicate which question you’re answering by adding the answer number (A1, A2, A3 etc.) – and the #CommChat hashtag:

As you see other responses that you like / agree with / want to add to – go ahead and Image result for twitter heart emoji – and RT etc. And maybe take the opportunity to follow some new interesting people too.

After

Look out for the round-up shared @IABC!

See you Wednesday…

Looking forward to sharing and learning with you – and thanks for all you do to #createconnection – and help advance the profession.

ByMichael Ambjorn

Mentoring – Why this, why now? And how you can contribute

As part of IABC’s work to develop strategic communicators, we’re looking at the role that mentoring can play.

Mentoring (and reverse mentoring) can make a difference at all career stages. And it can make a difference at all ages.

Despite that, you might have seen this in CW earlier in the year:

‘Mentoring offers a boost, study says, but few take advantage’

“Organizations with formal programs claim plenty of benefits for the mentors, mentees and the organization as a whole. The mentee benefits most often cited in the study are professional development (36 percent) and a better understanding of organizational culture (30 percent). Top benefits for mentors are “developing new perspectives” (59 percent) and developing leadership skills (49 percent). And organizationally, respondents said the top benefits were higher employee engagement and retention (50 percent) and supporting the growth of high-potential employees (46 percent).” – read more in the Feb 2018 CW

IABC Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Toronto and IABC UK all run mentoring programs (to name a few). This is great work and it deserves to be supported more.

Why? Because many of these chapters are keen to share – and getting more mentoring is a way of IABC having tangible, measurable, long-range impact on life and careers – across the globe. And what’s not to like about that?

To that end there’s a new International Task Force working away. Here’s the team, in reverse alphabetical order:

…and yours truly.

The first order of the day is to map and share existing good practice from chapters and regions. If you’re not already in touch with this team, and you have something to share, be sure to reach out. We’d love to hear from you on the IABC Hub about your experiences being mentored, or mentoring others, through IABC.

Michael Ambjorn, SCMP

 

ByGinger D. Homan, ABC, SCMP

Are you a Martyr?

Learning to lead so others can shine

Many of us had a wake-up call at Leadership Institute last week in San Diego. Our keynote workshop with Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, hit home as she pegged a style of volunteer leadership that leads to:

  • Long hours.
  • Burn out.
  • Zero ability to recruit and engage with board members and other volunteers.

We all know the type and some of us resemble them — they give 110 percent because they care. They work long, hard hours. So, what’s the problem? It is killing our volunteer pool and in some cases our chapters.

Cynthia encouraged us to:

  • Move beyond saying ‘we’ve always done it that way’ by owning results and allowing others to get involved so they too own the results.
  • Develop people rather than doing all the work ourselves. (Who would want to take our place if we are modeling a job that is all work and zero fun?)
  • Invite people to a fun and meaningful experience – rather than expecting them to do everything our way. (Let go and let others take charge. It might not be how we would do it, but they will be engaged and they will want to do it again.)
  • Celebrate the work of others – rather than moan about all the work we’ve had to do ourselves. (Every time we volunteer to do something ourselves, we just stole an opportunity for someone else to shine.)

So, our work and success will be shared with others. We will become masters at giving others the opportunity to shine. The more others shine, the more fun the group will have and before you know it – your community is growing.

This is leadership, as opposed to managing a chapter, region or even the international board. With this style of leadership, there is more focus on getting others involved to be part of the solution. So basically, if we stop being a martyr, it gives others a chance to be engage. The trick? We have to do it before it’s too late.

Cynthia reminded us that people join a community for one of three reasons:

  1. To learn something new.
  2. To help others – a chance to give back.
  3. To meet new people and grow their network.

Cynthia’s best advice for recruiting volunteers or chapter leaders, is that we must first determine which of the three hot buttons motivates each person.

  • If they are new to the profession or want to keep their skills sharp, share about your chapter’s programs and opportunities to participate in putting those on.
  • If they are searching for a way to give back – maybe they want to present a program.
  • If they simply want to grow their network, introduce them to others in the room and invite them back to your next event.

As Cynthia said – “you can’t go too far on the first date. Wait to ask about board service until you have them hooked. Pull them in, instead of pushing them away.”

Even the invitation to our events should contain the answers to all three hot buttons (learn, help and meet) so we are offering something to everyone.

For those of us in the room at LI, it became clear that if we are a martyr leader, we are keeping others from getting involved and having their opportunity to shine. There is an art to leadership – and that art is about knocking down roadblocks and empowering others to succeed.

Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way!

———-

Cynthia D’Amour, MBA, is author of The Lazy Leader’s Guide to Outrageous Results. For twenty years she has worked with association leaders and staff to help get more members involved using a relationship-based approach.

Thank you to these sponsors for our keynote speaker Cynthia D’Amour. A special shout-out to the women leaders of the IABC Tulsa Chapter that made this possible with donations from their companies.

ByGinger D. Homan, ABC, SCMP

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:

ByMichael Ambjorn

IABC International Executive Board – Applications Now Open

I want you to consider stepping up to serve the profession – by taking a leadership role at the highest strategic level.

I’d like you to consider taking a seat at the table. In the IABC boardroom.

Why?

At IABC we believe in a global standard for professional communication; one that is open, one that knows no borders. Our work is more important today than ever – and the next board year is a crucial one: it’ll see the kick-off of our next three-year strategy.

But I have to be honest with you: serving at this level is demanding, yet that has never put the best people off. It is an opportunity to join our skilled, diverse and gender-balanced board. Supported by a small cohort of full time staff at the International Headquarters, this group is responsible for the effective management and leadership of your Association on both the strategic and executive level.

IABC is now looking for applicants to serve on the 2017-18 International Executive Board, including for the role of Vice Chair.  Applications close on Wednesday, January 11th.

It’s excellent experience that will benefit you in your career. It’ll provide you with invaluable insight into the strategy and operation of a global organisation. You’ll make life-long friends too. I certainly have.

How

To apply, visit the IABC website now and find out more about the process and requirements. Again, applications must be in by Wednesday, January 11th

If you have any question about serving on the IEB, please reach out to current Board members, any of whom will be pleased to give you insights into the challenges and rewards of the role.

And please help spread the word about this opportunity. Here’s your hashtag: #IABCieb.

Thanks for all you do to advance professional communication around the world – and thanks for your continued support of IABC.

Michael Ambjorn
IABC Nominating Committee

Byiabc

Leading the profession on the certification journey

Guest post by Neil Griffiths, ABC, Chart.PR

Neil Griffiths, ABC

Neil Griffiths

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.

ByMichael Ambjorn

500 Club Members: Support Our Chapters

Guest post by IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC:

The 500 Club was formed at a time when IABC needed additional cash to fund the association. For a limited time, lifetime memberships were made available for $1,000 to the first 500 members to apply.  This one time payment entitled the 500 Club members to all professional member benefits, but still required members to pay their chapter dues.

At Leadership Institute in February, during a finance presentation, I discovered that some of our chapters are struggling because they have 500 Club members who believe the 500 Club exempts them from chapter dues.

Chapter dues are set at the local level and international never discounts these fees – that has always been up to the chapter. So if you are a 500 Club member, please pay your chapter fees when you get a renewal letter in the mail. If you are one of the members who have ignored these notices in the past, reach out to the IABC office to make a payment, or for this year, write a check to your chapter. They need our funding and support to put on local programs.

I’m proud of my membership in the 500 Club and grateful I was able to step up and help the association at a time when it needed funding. But my local chapter has my heart. These are my friends, my colleagues, my family – and the next generation of communicators.

Let’s make sure we are supporting them with our chapter dues.

@gingerhoman

P.S. You may also be interested in my earlier post on how dues are invested.

ByMichael Ambjorn

How Membership Dues Are Invested

At some point we’ve all wondered how our membership dues are spent. In this post IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan ABC, sets it all out.

Chapters & Regions

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAfPAAAAJGYwN2MwZTQ2LTA4YmEtNGY0MS1iZWQ0LTE0MTNlYmVhMDUxNw

Ginger Homan

First of all, member dues are compiled from Chapter, Region and International dues. Chapters and Regions determine their fees — some Chapters charge $70, however in many cases it is more like $40. Some Chapters choose to not charge any dues at all. Regions dues range from $25-$90.

These dues are invested by your local and regional leaders in professional development, networking events etc. Speak to your local and regional Treasurer if you want to know more – and consider stepping up – it is a role that can really help you advance.

2016 IABC Who Does What

Who Does What

International

Dues to International is just one of several revenue streams to support work at the international level — 52 percent of the annual revenue; the largest single item. Next in line as sources of revenue are World Conference, Gold Quill and the Job Centre.

Some programs generate revenues, but not a cash return. These include professional development and certification. These two flagships from the 2011-14 strategy are still in the phase where they require significant investment to help them take off. They are expected to start generating a surplus in the coming years, which can then be reinvested.

You can play a part here: step up and serve one of the 22 international committees that advance this work.

Investing in our leaders and our members

Leadership Institute, chapter relations etc. are investments in our leaders. Whilst a net cost, they have a significant return in the form of impact in line with our Theory of Change.

Communication World is a membership benefit and is not designed to generate a surplus.

 

2016 theory of change circles

IABC’s Theory of Change

 

Investing to advance IABC’s strategy – and the profession

Building on the above, our dues support all IABC programs: those designed to generate a surplus for reinvestment – and those that don’t (but are benefits of membership).

2014 Annual Report Income Expenditure Breakdown donuts

Revenue / Expense breakdown at the International level – look for the next update in the annual report released this June.

Below is a list of the areas on the chart and examples of some of the items that category includes.

  • Professional Development
    • Speakers for webinars
    • Software to support the training program
  • World Conference
    • Facilities, food, beverage, Audio/Visual support
    • Keynote speakers
    • Meeting production
  • Certification
    • Development of the certification program
    • Development and management of the exam
    • Costs of administering the exam
  • Gold Quill
    • Evaluation
    • Banquet
    • Awards
    • Software infrastructure
  • Membership / Chapter Relations
    • Scholarships to Leadership Institute and World Conference
    • Chapter Management Awards
    • Bank fees for processing payments
  • Finance / administration
    • Outside professional services including attorney, auditor, finance and human resources
    • Back office computer software and license fees
    • Depreciation
  • Governance
    • Executive Director travel
    • Board travel subsidy
    • Insurance
  • Information Technology
    • Website and any other software not covered above + hardware
    • Consulting for the website and other software applications

You’ll note that the “Finance/administration” portion is 20 percent of the total investment. The norm for professional associations is 25-30 percent.  The International Executive Board is committed to keeping that number as low as possible.

Balanced Budget

The IABC staff worked hard with the Finance Committee to create a balanced budget moving in to 2016. It is directly aligned to the board’s 2014-17 strategy:

“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. Increased reputation in the profession; better brand positioning; and greater interaction with business as a revenue generator are then the big opportunity to be grasped”.

This budget includes investing in:

  • The development of certification exam for the Strategic Advisor level
  • A Learning Management System, allowing the Academy to offer self-paced classes on IABC.com
  • The Global membership survey to determine what members value most
  • An Association Management System, software needed to improve our membership records and an individual’s experience with IABC

If you have questions about IABC finances, please reach out to the IABC Treasurer, Ginger Homan, at ginger [at] ziacommunications.com

You can also find updates in the latest quarterly report. Our annual report that will be issued at the Annual General Meeting at World Conference. We hope to see you there.

Members of Finance Committee

  • Ginger Homan, ABC, IABC Treasurer
  • Michael Ambjorn, IABC Chair
  • Dianne Chase, IABC Vice Chair
  • Victoria Dew
  • Ron Fuchs, APR
  • Alain Legault, MA
  • Carlos Fulcher, MBA, CAE

—-

You can play a part here: step up and serve one of the 22 international committees that advance the work of the association, and the profession. Or consider running for Treasurer of your local chapter or region. It is a role that can really help you advance.

ByMichael Ambjorn

The gender-balanced International Executive Board of IABC

Happy#IWD2016 – and with that, a timely guest post by my board colleague Claudia Vaccarone – please read and share:

Claudia Vaccarone

Claudia Vaccarone

The notion of women quotas for corporate boardrooms still provokes strong reactions among business leaders, voicing fear of sacrificing competence for the sake of quotas.

However, the issue today is not the lack of competent women in business and society, but, rather, granting them access to leadership roles.

Read More