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August 30, 2015    
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Make Sure Your "A" Team is In Charge.

Theoretically, the business world is pretty simple.   If your sales increase and you are profitable, you can stay in business.   If not, at some point, you're toast!   You see it every day in your membership.   Successful business people constantly and relentlessly focus on those challenges.

For some odd reason, the nonprofit world tends to be different.   Many nonprofits struggle with falling membership and tighter budgets but nothing really changes going forward.   Membership (sales) is a despairing, throw-your-hands-in-the-air discussion and fund-raisers become the way to solve budget issues.   Somehow, the CEO is expected to magically solve all these problems while the board of directors has nice meetings that accomplish little.   There is no accountability, responsibility or strategy for righting the ship.   There is a disconnect in the Chamber leadership.

However, as I have observed over the years, this can be dramatically improved when you ...
    [a] establish your "A" Team,
    [b] change the culture, and then
    [c] re-energize and activate ALL your board members.

This all takes time so the first thing to do is establish your "A" Team as follows:
    1. The team consists of your CEO/ED, the current Board Chairperson AND the incoming Board Chairperson. (If you don't know who's up next, then solve that problem, fast!)
    2. They must pledge (note the wording) to return the Chamber to sustainable, profitable growth.
    3. They must pledge that all Board members will ...
        - share responsibility and accountability for membership growth.
        - assume responsibility and accountability for an area that improves the branding and visibility of the Chamber.

Establishing this team side-steps hierarchical accountability and aloofness, maintains continuity of focus, and adds fluid transition to your Chamber's leadership.   These three people pledge to work together on a mission to change the status quo and make successful, sustainable growth the flavor of every day.

It's important to note that you're not changing any of the organizational structure.   You're simply taking the three people with reputations visibly at stake and making them work as a team.   To use a wartime analogy, they aren't overseeing the battle from the safety of the hills, they are leading the battle at the front.

Interestingly, the key person on the team can end up being the incoming chairperson because he/she has a clear interest in having a better-running Chamber when it's their turn in the big chair.   By doing this, you eliminate the annual baton-passing, regime-change (things will be better in my year) thinking that permeates this environment.

There is something beautifully powerful and intoxicating about an energized leadership that says "enough is enough" and actually means it!   When members, staff and directors see that things are indeed improving, then attitudes will change and success will be at hand.  

Success is a beautiful thing but you have to have the right leadership team to enjoy it.

Remember ... if you need help with strategies, that's our business.


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2017 Archives
  - My Three Favorite Words for 2018 ... and Beyond   (11/27)
  - 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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