Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Lessons from Wayne for Association Executives

As association executives, we're not supposed to openly have favorite members - but we do. Some make it impossible not to adore them because of their management style, commitment, hard-work, appreciation and just who they are. One of my favorites was Wayne Syphers ... who passed away a few months ago.

Here are 5 lessons from Wayne for Association Executives:

1. Anyone can carve out 5 minutes every day for those they love. Many in this profession spend so much time working it's sometimes easy to forget on a daily basis to allow yourself to love. At Wayne's funeral, his granddaughter noted that every day Wayne's son was in Afghanistan, Wayne wrote him a letter - even if it was for 5 minutes, and even if it was just to tell him that he loved him and to be safe. Do you do that? Wayne openly held hands with his wife after decades of marriage - and if you haven't held hands with someone in awhile, maybe try it. Share the love - every day.

2. Today is going to be a great day. Wayne often stopped by his grandchildren's house each morning before school, and often drove them to school. His granddaughter mentioned that he always reminded her as she got out of the car each morning that today is going to be a great day. Do you approach each day like that? If you overlook so many (or all) of the positives that happen each day, and really hone in on the negatives, there's a chance how you feel might be generated by you.

3. Deal with trouble-makers privately, directly and immediately. Before going into real estate, Wayne was a trooper who specialized in troubled juveniles. When he passed away, so many families posted on sites how much he changed their lives and the gratitude for how he helped their families. At an association meeting Wayne chaired, a member was extremely argumentative and over-bearing. Wayne turned to me and whispered, "not in my meeting." He made a business appointment immediately with that member, went to the person's office, and explained what behavior could and could not happen at his meeting and why. Many chairmen and association execs think there's no help for bad behavior and find it continues meeting after meeting -- but for those who know in their soul that making a personal commitment with one-on-one private communication and understanding -- It just might bring personal change. That argumentative member was a changed person at future meetings.

4. Don't underestimate the nicest person in the room - it's not a sign of weakness. If you ever met Wayne you'd note that he was such a genuinely nice man - full of kind words and heartfelt appreciation. Underestimate that nice meant weak at your own peril. A true legislative and regulatory force when action, hard work, and engaging grassroots troops were necessary and Mr. Nice could deliver. If the person chairing a battle makes you feel great about yourself while you're trying to win - you might just find you up your winning game. If every time a volunteer or staff person did something that made a difference, and they knew exactly who was going to acknowledge it (privately and publicly), there's a whole lot of loyalty being built.

5. None of us know what others are really going through with their health. Wayne had a series of very serious health issues - and his lack of grimness was evident - he was so grateful and so using of the health he had. My bad day may be inconsequential compared with someone else's bad day - if for no other reason but the gift of health. Celebrate the health you have.

As the Beatles sang, " ... and in the End, the love you take is equal to the love you make." And when Wayne Syphers landed on my career path, I really found that out. Consider his lessons.

Pictured: REALTOR Wayne Syphers and his wife Anne