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  • By Nick Senzee
    Aug 11, 2009
    " We've Always Done it That Way: 101 Things About Associations We Must Change" The folks who wrote this book, Jeff De Cagna, David Gammel, Jamie Notter, Mickie Rops and Amy Smith, were “concerned by the instinctively conservative approach to organizational stewardship that far too many association executives and volunteers continue to pursue in the early years of the 21st century.” I really liked their approach, and they nailed about every problem I've seen in my work with associations. On a meta level, this book takes observations of what’s happening in the larger world and does the translation necessary to make it appropriate for association leaders. So, we must change some things about associations. They are organized around these themes: Changing the way we think Upshot: We aren’t protected from societal shifts just because we have such a traditional model. We have to lose some of that tradition and start thinking entrepreneurially—because sooner or later we won’t... More > have any choice. I really liked Mickie Rop’s piece on not letting uniqueness stifle growth. We’re different, so all the research and best practices and bold thinking don’t apply doesn’t cut it; I agree wholeheartedly. Also, the rousing questions asked by De Cagna at the beginning form a good, broad sketch of the climate we currently face in associations. Changing the way we lead Upshot: Renovating governance models and structures. Strategy vs. Strategic Planning. Providing staff leadership and not throwing up your hands when the next volunteer leader comes along. I especially liked the piece “Outcomes Orientation for Everyone,” by David Gammel. It’s that whole “what do I want to happen here” step that sometimes gets overlooked in the face of little emergencies, but in reality, is the only reason the little emergencies exist. Changing the way we manage Upshot: Don’t be incompetent! Seriously, this section was my favorite. I think every single point I’ve wanted to scream over at some point or other. I liked Amy Smith’s “End the Wild Goose Chase,” where you don’t get bogged down in these vertigo-inducing intrigues between board, committees and staff; I also liked her piece “Organizational Dashboard,” where she talks about keeping track of the metrics that really matter. JNott’s advice on handling silos is imminently sensible, and his piece on building teams is as well. Jeff De Cagna’s piece on “What if there were no dues,” borders on the heretical, YET if people don’t think that way they’re going to have some surprises coming. Mickie Rops’s “Stop Rewarding ‘Hard Work,’” had me nodding in agreement so hard I need to visit the chiropractor. If I recapped all the tidbits in this section, I’d just have to type the whole thing in here and that just wouldn’t be right. Besides, you can go see it on the blog. Changing the way we execute Upshot: It takes us too long to do the things we do, and we have to get better at being relevant to our members—especially re education. I especially liked the first piece, by David Gammel, talking about the six-month meeting planning lag. This is kind of emblematic of the sea changes that we’re seeing everywhere. Changing the way we work together and changing the way we involve others. Upshot: People sometimes are difficult and cause problems that need to be solved. That doesn’t mean you should give up. Issues of cultural and generational diversity. This is the difficult section, which dredges up all those pesky people problems. Why oh why can’t we all just get along? This section will make you think in healthy ways about what to do when you see dysfunction. These are critical problems when you think about it because we mostly work in relatively small organizations.< Less
  • By jesse
    Jan 27, 2008
    "Have YOU always done it that way? " I stumbled across this book in a link from David Gammel's blog, High Context Consulting. He and four other influential association people, Amy Smith, Jamie Notter, Jeff De Cagna, and Mickie Rops, form "The Five Independent Thinkers". Together they argue on a joint blog,, that associations can no longer afford to do the same old thing they've always done and remain relevant. The subtitle of the book is "101 Things About Associations We Must Change" and the book itself consists of those 101 things the authors consider the most important. These are blog posts, most of them fairly short, and the book itself is eminently readable. The posts/essays are grouped into six broad areas: - Changing the Way We Think - Changing the Way We Lead - Changing the Way We Manage - Changing the Way We Execute - Changing the Way We Work Together - Changing the Way We Involve Others It's 165 pages... More > including appendices and indices, and the nature of the post/mini-essay format makes it very readable - probably a few hours for most. Yet as I read it, I was struck by how many posts rang true if I simply replaced "association" with MY associations. Mickie Rops asks, "Do You Know What Your Members Know?" - which raises the questions, have you identified the current body of knowledge in the field your members work in? Is there a certification based on that? Are the two in sync? David Gammel immediately follows with the assertion, "Membership Should Be More than a Discount" - and the question arises, what does a member get that a non-member doesn't? A discount on books or the conference? Access to members-only materials? More? Less? This is one of the best books I have read in a number of years. It's a fresh new look at a key aspect of professionalism, the associations we all belong to, and how they need to change in order to remain relevant. I cannot recommend this book more strongly to anyone who is a member of an association, and in particular, those who would lead them, whether at the local chapter level, the association committee level, or even at the association's board of directors (and HQ staff!).< Less
  • By Robert F. Rowell
    Mar 8, 2007
    "101 Things About Associations We Must Change " This book is one of my all time favorites... This is a must read for everyone wheather you are in Association Management or run a bike shop. I have it on my desk. When I am writing or preparing for a Board Meeting or planning session - This book has generated many winning plans and programs. It has also helped me understand the resistance to change and real reason for innoviation. --- Which also assists in developing process and approaches to overcome negativity and apporach possibilities. I have known Jeff for some time and he never fails to deliver. Combined with Jamie, Amy, David, Micki -- This proved to be a powerful endorsement to review if we are really moving our organizaitons forward and if so to where? It also provides perspective--when you think there is no where to find a solution they show you how to think like a winner. Robert F. Rowell, CAE Executive Director Insurance Scholarship Foundation of America Executive... More > Director Mid West Law Libraries Association< Less
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Product Details

Five Idependent Thinkers
March 12, 2007
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.73 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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