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!


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