My First Think Tank

Well in a little less than two weeks I will host my first meeting with a selected group that will be taking an in-depth look at the association that I work for.  I was able to hand-pick a group of stakeholders that make up each of the many levels of our association.  I tried my hardest to find people with the spirit and mindset to take on this challenge while still fitting the criteria that the association needs.  “Getting the right people on the bus” is one way to put it and I have seen that on more than one occasion while preparing this group.  So far so good!  While we have had some hiccups already in trying to get the group together in person we are going to have a good mix of people present and are going to get the input of those not present before we arrive in Tulsa.  Since the association is for legal professionals we will have an attorney, a paralegal educator, a past-association president, current board member, new member, young association leader, and association staff member.  This group also comes from around the country, works for large and small firms, one is retired, and they are a cultural and gender mix as well.  I wanted to put together the most diverse group of thinkers I could, keeping the numbers relatively small.

We will be able to bring in additional people if we find an area we need more input.  Surveys and focus groups will be held when needed and we will look to the membership as a whole to give us input and feedback as the process goes along.  I know that we will not have all the answers, we just want to have the right people to come up with the right questions to ask.

I developed 20 questions that I thought the group needed to put considerable thought into before we take a look at how the association needs to grow and change.  These questions focus on what our desires and needs would be if we were starting an association from scratch today.  I can’t wait to see what kinds of responses we get from these questions with people coming from such different backgrounds.

Along with the 20 questions we will also be taking a look at the “7 Measures of Success” from ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership and see how we can align the association with these measures to better structure for the future.  In reading this book I am learning a lot about what great associations do, and how we can adjust our current model to fit these proven measures of success.  Some of them are small and some of them will completely shake things up…the group will have to figure out just how much shaking we should do now and how much later.

I am sure I will talk more about the process as we go along, if anyone has any experience in managing a group such as this please leave me comments…I would love to hear what you have to say.  This is going to be a remarkable experience and I am fortunate to be heading things up!


Blessing & A Curse

So at 4 p.m. today I get a call from a client needing some time-consuming work done and they need it by Monday afternoon.  The downside of doing freelance work.  You never know when you are going to have a project present itself and you have to be willing to get the job done when the client needs the work done.  That is how you make the clients happy and it keeps them coming back for more work.  While I love the opportunity for more work, because that means more money it does get old at times.  So what do you do?  NOTHING!

If you want to have a business such as mine you have to be ready and willing to work on whatever project a client presents to you, when the client presents it.  When I client asks me “when can you have that completed?”, I always respond with a question of my own…”when do you need it completed?”  It almost always gets a laugh but I am serious.  If you go out of your way to hire a contract worker that contract worker should work under your conditions.  As long as you understand the client understands the cost of your work and you have priced your work so that you are comfortable you as a contract workers should do your best to meet the clients needs.

So that means that this weekend I will spend in front of my computer the same way I have all week…Getting things done.

PS: I would like to apologize to my wife, I will be working this weekend in case I forgot to mention it.


Olympic Winter Games

If you are not watching the Olympics then you are missing some amazing things.  Yesterday was one of the best days I have seen for the United States team.  Domination in 2 events with Gold and Silver in Women’s Downhill and Gold and Bronze in Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe.  In the Women’s Downhill Lindsey Vonn threw down a time that defeated her teammate Julia Mancuso by half a second.  To you and I, in our worlds a half a second is fast and would seem like this was close.  If you compare it to the Men’s Downhill you get a different picture.  The time difference between Bronze and Gold was around 4 one hundredths of a second.  Three people in that proximity, now that is close.  Vonn blew people away…and she was hurt.  It looked like pre-sex-addict Tiger Woods at the US Open playing with a trashed knee, except Tiger had to go to a playoff.  Vonn favored her injured leg the entire run, even crossing the finish on one leg…and her time was not even close to being caught.

In the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe, Shaun White showed once again why he is simply the best.  White had the top three scores that I saw, no one really pushing even his qualifying run.  Of course White is all about the show and entertaining fans…so when it came time to perform he did.  His first run was enough to claim the gold medal but in true Shaun White style he decided to improve on it by adding an impressive run that featured his signature move, something called a Double McTwist 1260, which sounds painful as I sit here typing, much less in actual danger.  White was shown at the top of the halfpipe celebrating prior to the run and even asked his coaches what he should do, maybe just go down the middle?   His coaches laughed and said no…so he went out and had the best run of the Olympics scoring 48 points out of a possible 50…ON HIS VICTORY LAP!  I guess being able to have your own halfpipe with a foam pit on the side of it to practice without killing yourself pays off…who knew?