One of my favorite things about working on a university campus is this time of year – back to school time represents a fresh start. Each year is a new beginning and a chance to learn new things – or maybe make good after a prior year that didn’t go so well (or where too much fun was had!)
They don’t always believe me, but I tell students that, particularly in our business, you never really stop learning. You could argue that the field of marketing broadly, and especially marketing communications, has changed more with the digital revolution of the past 10-12 years than in several decades previously. The explosion in new technologies coupled with the rise of the empowered stakeholder make it more important than ever that those of us who work in audience communications think about our skills development.
Given this need, the value proposition for IABC should resonate more strongly than ever. Gone are the days when interacting with our broader professional community colleagues is a “nice to do” or a box to check off to make us feel like we’ve networked. The cold reality is that, if you aren’t constantly thinking about what Covey called “sharpening the saw”, you risk being left behind. The lost opportunity cost of missing a promotion or even losing a job opportunity to someone else who presents themselves as more knowledgeable is too great to ignore.
The good news is that organizations like IABC make the process of life-long learning manageable and cost effective. As an IABC member, for example, whether you pick up a concept or a tool that can help you on The Lab, attend a professional development session with a local chapter, or take an entire educational course through the IABC Academy, the opportunities are plentiful.
As I participate as a new member on the IABC international executive board, I am thrilled to see the very intentional and deliberate emphasis on professional development offerings. We realize that the high-caliber communications professional who joins IABC understands the need to improve themselves, and that they have careers that require multiple (and convenient) learning formats. I think it may be the most meaningful way we can contribute to the industry.
Enjoy this season and its reminder of our need to keep our saws sharp.
Earlier this week IABC joined eight other communication and public relations associations in issuing a statement in support of a free press globally.
It started with an email from the National Chair of PRSA, Anthony D’Angelo, APR, Fellow PRSA, asking IABC to join in support of a #freepress. I’m so glad he initiated this effort — and proud of so many who immediately stepped up.
As a board, we felt it was important to do. Our Code of Ethics states, “I support the ideals of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas.”
Every year when we renew our IABC membership, we reaffirm our belief in this code — but everyday when we practice our profession, we live it. While protection of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution is specific to the U.S., support for the critical role of a free press is universal.
These are the organizations that joined IABC in making this statement:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Recap on the road to a new 3-year strategy
#longread – it has been a journey!
We launched a global listening tour in September using Appreciative Inquiry – to engage our community in creating a shared understanding of what we value most to bring forward into 2020 and beyond.
We shared some great stories, experiences and achievements to bring out the best in us.
“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:
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.
Recall the Top Three Professional Challenges cited in our Global Membership Survey:
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.
What comes next? We vote at the AGM tomorrow to affirm our strategic intent
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!
In my role as Vice Chair this year, it has been a privilege to lead this planning process. A note of sincere thanks to the 2016-17 board, regional, chapter and committee leaders for your time and ongoing engagement in this important work – and to our hardworking staff.
And finally, thank you to members and Gold Quill winners whose commitment to professional practice advances our standards of excellence each and every day.
Hope to see you here in Washington! #IABC17 awaits!
Sharon Hunter, Vice Chair
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.
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.
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:
— Dominique Jolicoeur (@dominiquejoli) April 1, 2017
IABC is clarifying the vision and purpose to create a stronger community — and a stronger brand. Be a part of the c…https://t.co/G60o9DflD8
— Ginger Homan, ABC (@GingerHoman) March 9, 2017
— Angela Anderson (@angeandersonyyc) February 24, 2017
— Jennifer Wah (@Jenniferwah) February 24, 2017
— Chris Gessele (@ChrisGessele) February 24, 2017
— Diana Quinton (@QuintonDiana) February 24, 2017
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:
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Thanks for all you do.
How Everything Fits
Time flies and we’re already back from Dallas and our Leadership Institute 2017! What an engaging and energizing event it was, as so many of you have said in your feedback.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated in making this year’s annual IABC leaders gathering so rewarding, and a stellar boost of motivation and connection. We hope that you left inspired with plenty of take-aways to put to work back home at your chapter or region.
Sharing insights, knowledge and good practices has always been the very essence of Leadership Institute. We hope you’ll keep the conversations going! Keep connecting with IABC members around the world who can help you achieve your goals. Remember those work plans from the World Café and the take-aways from the outstanding sessions to tee up action for your future-forward plans.
A highlight of Leadership Institute is recognizing outstanding achievement by our chapters and leaders in our celebration of the Chapter Management Awards.
During a special ‘L.I Reflections’ Leadership Forum yesterday our special guests were Claudia Miller, the 2017 Regional Leader of the Year and Will Tigley, president of IABC/Calgary, our 2017 International Chapter of the Year. They shared their success stories, learnings and tips for success. Watch the recording if you missed it.
Please join us in congratulating our 2017 CMA winners. The full list is here.
This week on the blog we’re going to post a series of informative recaps that can serve as a reminder for those who were there and motivate those of you who could not join us this year.
Thank you so much for your leadership, dedication and support and making our IABC better than ever!
All the best,
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:
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:
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, email@example.com. 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
That was the theme of the Heritage Region Conference 2016, held in Columbus, Ohio Oct. 9-11 — says so much about our IABC. The conference was the living, breathing epitome of what is at the core of our professional communication community. It is our never ending commitment to elevating our professional and personal growth and discovering the possibilities for driving communication as a force for good in business and society.
The #IABCHRCONF world class level of speakers, presentations, programming, networking, professional development and, of course, Dine Around, is a testimony to the dedication and commitment of the Heritage Region leaders and evidence of the impact IABC is and will continue to make for our profession and members.
I was amazed at the level of positive energy and enthusiasm of the region and chapter leaders in Columbus, Ohio USA!
I must give specific shout outs to conference co-chairs Forrest Hughes and Pat Frey — both long time IABC leaders on many levels.
Thanks and congratulations to everyone who made this conference one to be emulated; including Region Chair Amy Miller and Silver Quill Chair Alexandra Hichel and the indescribably inspirational ball of enthusiasm, Columbus chapter president, Lachandra Baker.
I want to share a bit of the spirit with you and so I grabbed a few minutes with a past Heritage Region chair, Gary Spondike from Detroit, veteran IABC leader and presenter, Cyrus Mavalwala from Toronto and two conference attendees.
I hope you enjoy the snippets, absorb the IABC ‘secret sauce’ and pass it along.
Tuesday afternoon, IABC Vice Chair Sharon Hunter and I wrapped up with our #IABC1720 World Cafe, part of our global conversation tour to build the next 3-year strategy for the association. Read more on this appreciative inquiry process here on the blog.
Thank you more than I can express for your dedication, leadership and support for our IABC.
I’d love to hear from you!
All the best,
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.
Some important links and hashtags for you:
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,