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Getting to the Heart of Association Success

Both Maddie and I care deeply about the association community. I hope that’s obvious to everyone. I’ve been consulting to associations since 2001 and even did a stint at an association management company for a few years where (in addition to my consulting) I served as an Executive Director for a couple of different associations. Maddie used to be a COO at a small association and has been consulting full time in this community since 2008. We’ve been writing and speaking and living and breathing associations for years. And as I’m sure you know, we created Culture That Works in 2014, because we both realized that whether we called our work conflict resolution, or social media, or organizational effectiveness, or digital strategy, we were both ultimately doing the same thing: culture work.

And now, a good 15 years into this journey, we are looking to sharpen our efforts. As much as we love this community, we realize that not all associations are going in the same direction we are. We are setting out to design the future of work. After writing both Humanize and When Millennials Take Over, we realize that traditional, best-practice-focused management is not what we need right now. There are many associations that simply disagree with us on that, at least judging by their behavior. But we have planted our flag firmly in the ground: that approach will not drive association success moving forward.

So what will? Well, we’ll be writing about just that in a new partnership we have with We believe organizational culture is at the heart of what will drive association success moving forward, and that’s what we will be writing about. We are going to get very specific about what organizational culture is, why culture is at the heart of success for associations, and what it looks like to shape and grow a strong culture, specifically in the association context.

And I, for one, won’t be writing about that topic anywhere else but in the “Culture by Design” community at I’ll still post links here (obviously) to the writing I’m doing over there, but I’ve decided to go all in with when it comes to my writing about associations and culture. You won’t even find posts about it at (in fact, be on the lookout for a big announcement over there…). I think it’s critical for the associations who want to succeed to take culture more seriously, so I wanted an outlet where I could dive deep into that topic and start to make it happen.

So please join us, and let’s take culture to the next level in the association community.


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