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:
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:
To learn something new.
To help others – a chance to give back.
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
For the past three months Vice Chair Sharon Hunter and I have been on a listening tour. Members from every region shared what IABC, at its best, means to them. These insights, along with the member survey from last summer, will direct the creation of the 2017/2020 strategy.
A significant piece of that process is to reconfirm that IABC’s vision, mission, philosophy and purpose, outlined in our bylaws, still reflects who we are as an organization. After all, these statements serve as guardrails for our path forward. Not only will they guide the strategy, they guide how we conduct business and set the framework for how we will grow. Specifically, we are reviewing:
Vision: what success ultimately looks like for IABC
Mission: gives IABC focus by describing what business we are in
Philosophy: sets out the intentions of how IABC will operate – the core values that we hold dear
Purpose: expresses the impact we want to have on the people we serve
The philosophy was actually updated a couple of years ago when we adopted a new set of brand guidelines, which listed our shared values. These principles define the culture and behavior of our organization and members – so basically our philosophy of doing business. They are:
We represent the global profession.
We create connection.
We are a diverse community.
We focus on insights and results.
A big note of gratitude to Priya Bates and her Taskforce team for creating such a comprehensive guide.
Over the next few months we will be grappling with the vision, mission and purpose statements. Are they motivational, are they concise, do they represent what members say they want from IABC?
As we consider how to refine these statements so they truly become our rally cry, we will post updates here. Then chapter leaders will vote on any updates at the AGM meeting at World Conference in Washington D.C.
In the meantime, if you have an idea or suggestion, please send it to us, firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can align the vision, mission and purpose statements so they guide our actions for the future, help us see the opportunities and ultimately, deliver enduring value to our community.
Photo Caption: Pacific Plains Region participating in a Listening Session
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com – we’re listening!
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?
Last week Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, revealed in its communications market report that the British spend more time glued to screens than they do sleeping.
The average adult Briton spends eight hours 41 minutes looking at a screen (over eleven hours if you count double use like tweeting while watching TV ). Few of us meanwhile manage more than six hours kip a night.
Ofcom paints a picture of a UK obsessed with consuming media in all formats, and in particular on smartphones and tablets, though TV viewing has now dropped below four hours a day.
Although these are UK figures, I doubt they’d be much different in most of the connected world – and many of us working in communications probably well exceed these figures.
Demands of clients and a 24 hour media mean we literally sleep with our smartphones, eat with Twitter, and never go to see clients without laptop. And the phone? My own voicemail actually converts my messages to text as well just to pack in some more screen time. I never actually ‘listen’ to a voicemail.
And of course my iPad never leaves my side. If you email me it’s more than likely your reply is composed on it. (Incidentally thanks to all of you who have taken the opporunity to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – I try and respond within a couple of days max.)
But August in the northern hemisphere means vacation time. So next week I’m leaving one of my two smartphones in the drawer; cutting back on the tweeting and locking away the laptop. (Leaving the iPad behind is just too much of a wrench…….).
Finally, whether you’re on vacation or not, a reminder that August 22nd is the deadline if you want to apply to be on the new IABC Ethics Committee.
We’re taking a more transparent approach to this, important, Committee. Any member in good standing can apply and there’s then a selection process. The form is here.
And if you’ve also still to go on vacation, have a good one!