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November 27, 2017    
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My Three Favorite Words for 2018 ... and Beyond

I hate admitting to being a slow learner but one of the greatest shocks for me this year was to realize how many Chambers have absolutely no -- aka zero -- membership goals.   They are muddling along and just hoping to end the year in the positive column.   "Hoping," as we all know, is not a strategy.

Here's a conversation (abbreviated) I had with an Executive Director last March:

    MF:  What's your membership growth goal for this year?
    ED:  We don't have one.
    MF:  You've got to have one!
    ED:  (silence)
    MF:  Well, just pick a number ... say 2%.
    ED:  That's scary.

As I traveled back to Santa Barbara, I started wondering how many other chambers had no membership goals.   "Way too many" is the answer.

Can you imagine a business person having no sales goal for the year?   Enough said!   My first favorite word is GOALS.


One of the reasons I like the word GROWTH is that it helps people focus on what is important to the chamber.   You can apply this to all aspects of the Chamber's business, not just membership.   For example, consider asking these questions of staff and board members:

    - Does what we are doing help grow the Chamber?
    - How does this event help grow the Chamber?
    - That's a great idea so ... how will it help grow the Chamber?

If any of these yields a less than positive response then a discussion may be in order.

Here's a suggestion for you.   When someone on your team is about to waste your time, ask "Does this help grow our Chamber?"   If their answer is anything but "yes" then respond with "Can this wait until tomorrow?"   It's amazing how many things just aren't important enough to demand immediate attention.

By approaching everything with a growth mindset you will experience a rather nice cultural shift in your organization.


I have really enjoyed this year ... presenting at workshops and conferences as well as doing rewarding one-on-one growth consulting with our Chamber clients, both here and in the UK.   These engagements continue to enhance my understanding and appreciation of the ever-evolving nature of the relationships between Chambers of Commerce, their members and their communities.

What surfaced was the mega-significance of the word COMMITMENT.   It's similar to the "growth" mindset.   If your team is constantly thinking of how they can improve their commitment to their members and community, then good things will happen.

After all, if your members know you are committed to helping them then they will respond accordingly.   You get my point.


              GOALS   +   GROWTH   +   COMMITMENT

I absolutely love these three words in combination ... for 2018 and beyond.   It's a formula for success.

I'm off to Scotland in a few weeks so, since we're entering the festive season, I'll be back in the blogging game in January.   Until then . . .

Stay Safe!
Enjoy the Holidays!
Happy Hogmanay!

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2017 Archives
  - Making Connections ... Only Possible When Members Attend   (11/14)
  - Membership Reciprocity ... it's a Beautiful Thing   (10/30)
  - Frustrated?   Lonely at the top?   No support?   (10/15)
  - Mission, Schmission! ... Just Tell Your Story   (9/30)
  - What's the (Growth) Plan, Stan?   (9/15)
  - Dear Jeff (Bezos) - Part 3 of 3   (9/1)
  - Speak Up ... It's Strategically Beneficial To Do So   (8/13)
  - "I Beg Your Pardon ... Did You Say $1 Billion Per Day?"   (8/5)
  - The Pies Have It!   (7/23)
  - Possibly ... the Most Difficult Sentence to Complete   (7/10)
  - Ribbon Cuttings -- A Great Membership Opportunity   (6/25)
  - It's Time For Spring Cleaning   (6/12)
  - Five Key Reasons Chamber Members Join & Renew   (5/29)
  - Membership Benefits are NOT as Important as You Think - #1   (5/14)
  - You Must Tell Your Members What You're Doing For Them   (4/30)
  - Workforce Development ... Are You Involved?   (4/16)
  - An Idea for Learning What Your Members Want.   (4/2)
  - Make Sure You Gather the "Little Data".   (3/21)
  - Make Sure Your "Voice of Business" is Heard   (3/5)
  - Associations of Chamber Executives   (2/21)
  - Do People "Out There" Know What You Do?   (2/6)
  - Just published ... "The 21st Century Chamber of Commerce" White Paper   (1/23)
  - 2020 could be your Magic Year   (1/10)
2016 Archives
  - Ditch the Contact Form, Baby!   (12/11)
  - "About Lipstick and Pigs" (Part 2)   (11/27)
  - About Lipstick and Pigs - Part 1   (11/6)
  - "Mixers ... they're so 20th-century!"   (10/23)
  - Out-of-the-Box Branding   (10/10)
  - "Hot Deals" ... Really?   (9/25)
  - Sharing Membership Referrals   (9/10)
  - An Excellent Source of Membership Leads   (8/30)
  - A Simple Value-added Benefit for your Membership   (8/17)
  - It worked . . . Immediate Results!   (7/31)
  - A Simple Media Strategy for Your Chamber ... FREE!   (7/19)
  - "Brexit" ... Positive Chamber Outcomes   (7/3)
  - Problem-solver... "Yes!"     Savior... "No!"   (6/20)
  - I like Nathan Blecharczyk's attitude.   (6/6)
  - Are you Veteran-friendly?   (5/22)
  - Are you Relational or Transactional?   (5/9)
  - Can you say "Employee Benefit"?   (4/25)
  - Re-vitalize Your Board of Directors ... and Your Chamber   (4/9)
  - From Scotland ... a few thoughts   (3/27)
  - Young Professionals are Important + Framework2020   (3/13)
  - Just Announced ... the "Framework2020 Tour"   (3/1)
  - Money Talks so ... Make Sure it's "Happy"   (2/14)
  - Conflict of Interest & Local Government   (2/1)
  - It may be time to huddle!   (1/19)
  - And Your Mission Is ...?   (1/4)
2015 Archives
  - Introducing ... Focused Growth - "A-Team" Initiative   (12/7)
  - So ... Once You've Got 'Em, What's Your Plan?   (11/23)
  - Just a reminder!   (11/9)
  - Branding Your Chamber is a Serious Process but it Does Not Have To Be Difficult   (10/25)
  - It's Time for Someone to Step Up!   (10/12)
  - Give Them Something To Do!   (9/28)
  - Do You Want/Need a Membership Analysis?   (9/14)
  - Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.   (8/30)
  - And the Fat Lady Began to Sing!   (8/16)
  - Do You Walk and Talk at the Same Time?   (8/3)
  - Helping people WANT to join your Chamber   (7/19)
  - 50% Membership Loss ... that's a Serious Loss of Revenue!   (7/5)
  - Don't Keep It A Secret!   (6/21)
  - Survey the Members that Matter   (6/7)
  - Helping Nonprofit Organizations   (5/20)
  - Helping Startup Entrepreneurs   (5/5)
  - The New Normal: Energizing your members to participate   (4/19)
  - Do you have a RAP Sheet?   (4/8)
  - What is your Real Retention Rate?   (3/24)
  - Challenging times require fresh thinking   (3/10)
  - Simplifying the Economic Development Discussion   (2/28)
  - Chamber Members want Education Programs   (2/11)
  - One of the great disconnects we choose to ignore!   (1/23)
  - The "New" Chamber of Commerce   (1/9)
2014 Archives
  - Do you have a Community Leadership Strategy?   (12/4)
  - Message for New Chairpersons of Chamber Boards of Directors   (10/22)
  - Tell your members about your business advocacy efforts   (9/2)
  - Stop the Exodus! Retain your Newer Members!   (8/4)
  - Are your Sales Staff asking the Right Questions?   (7/7)
  - Understand and use your volunteers better.   (6/22)
  - Invest in your Members. Remember who's paying the bills.   (5/5)
  - Understanding your local economy and how your members are doing   (3/20)
  - Tell your members about the 'SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative'   (3/7)
  - Why People Join the Chamber.   (2/22)
  - Please participate in the Survey.   (2/10)
  - Newsletters ... the Unfortunate Reality   (1/24)
2013 Archives
  - Are your Membership Goals Realistic?   (12/14)
  - Is your new Board focusing on membership Retention?   (11/11)
  - Happier Members means Happier Chambers of Commerce.   (10/15)
  - What about the "Younger Generation"?   (10/2)
  - What are you really developing?   (9/20)
  - What happens when the excitement dies down?   (8/26)
  - Using Technology for Education   (8/4)
  - Are you a "Member-centric" Chamber?   (7/23)
  - It probably won't be pretty but .....   (7/14)
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