Thursday, December 20, 2007

ASAE: 3 Weird and 3 Extraordinary things

Attended my first American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) conference in August; but ASAE member and CAE for years.

Here are 3 things I find weird about ASAE:

1. Number of times they announce things related to merger (ASAE & The Center) before, during and after it happened. I'm sure it's huge deal for those close to it, but for some it's possible tedious governance reporting overkill. Many organizations forget members don't want years of governance news.

2. Lack of representation from rural America and/or small organizations on ASAE governance Board. Heavy if not exclusive weight towards national associations, those in DC/VA, and large states/cities. Don't like that at all. Joint Leadership Committee (group that recommends) needs serious look at better balancing their Board; but they say: "The Joint Leadership Committee develops a slate of candidates for board service that best exemplifies ASAE & The Center’s membership profile and is representative of the organizations’ diversity – including geography, size, gender, ethnic balance, skill sets and areas of experience. " WHAT?! Explain that geography and size part ....

3. There's an ASAE designation called "Fellow" for members identified as "thought leaders". Love the concept. Met 3 Fellows at ASAE who were truly superb. But includes "once a Fellow, always a Fellow". It's unlikely EVERYONE selected is a thought leader FOREVER. Someone from 10 or 20 years ago not active in association management (or who froze in time from involvement or progressiveness) may get to continue the title? I'd call it an Award, or establish criteria to maintain the designation if it's called a designation.

Here are 3 things I find extraordinary about ASAE:

1. The continuous quality and value of their print magazine - I'm one of those people who would join even if the only benefit was the magazine.

2. Responsiveness of leadership and staff. I have no historical relationship with anyone at ASAE but was really mad about something once and heard back from CEO John Graham within a day (didn't change his position but excellent speed of response/explanation). Emailed Tom Dolan the current President because I loved a speech he gave and wanted a copy - received same day. Having CEO and President quickly communicate with an unknown rank and file member is ASAE response. And ASAE's Lisa Junker made me feel welcome to the association blog world, even though didn't know me.

3. Willingness to get negative feedback - and display it. The first time I read the ASAE blog and saw the open environment for member disagreement or complaint was shocking/impressive. I don't know how many organizations openly invite (and display) feedback/comments.

What do you identify as extraordinary in organizations?

1 comment:

Lisa Junker said...

Cindy--I'm so glad I was one of the folks who made you feel welcome in the association blog world! You've been such a great addition to the conversation. (And, speaking as an Associations Now editor, I'm glad you like the print magazine, too.)

Hope you have a very happy New Year!