ICMYI – in case you missed them, here’s a selection of Jamie’s posts on Association Success from August, each “busting a myth” about engagement.
“What do you do if the data says your managers don’t care, or people don’t have friends at work? Train your managers in empathy? Force people to go to happy hour together? Even the equipment one—if you buy new macs for everyone, are you really certain that true engagement is going to increase? Our approach to employee engagement has been to force improvements in the engagement metrics without understanding what drives engagement in the first place.
If you found that people with clinical depression laughed a lot less than people without depression, would you force depressed people to laugh more? No, you’d treat their depression, and if your treatment was successful, you’d probably find them laughing more.
Engagement is fundamentally driven by a culture that truly works. A strong culture is one where what is valued internally is sharply aligned with what drives the success of the enterprise, and the people there see that, understand that, and live that. When that is happening, you’ll see your engagement scores go up. Ironically, however, you don’t need to measure your engagement scores in order to figure out how to build that strong culture.”
“The reasons Millennials don’t listen to your marketing messaging is because it’s YOUR messaging. It’s what YOU want, and you’re still trying to interrupt us as much as you can with your message until the sales numbers go up. This is the digital age, folks. Millennials are expecting to be delivered content that is actually useful to them—that they would WANT to share with their friends. That’s not because they’re “entitled.” It’s because that’s what they’ve been getting their whole lives.
So what does this have to do with member engagement? If you want to engage Millennials, then learn how to deliver them actual value. And that’s before they join, before they sign up, and probably even before you’ve forced them to give you their email address (seriously, do you not realize that they have an email address they use ONLY for giving it away to spammers like you?). In the digital age, you start by delivering value. Membership and even revenue will come later. So as you think about engaging Millennials, here are some tips.”
“Here’s the deal: maybe the new operating environment is asking us to shift our culture. Maybe the very separate cultures we have nurtured over the years at the national and local levels are now creating a negative experience for our stakeholders. Maybe in order to succeed today, we need to do things differently. Maybe we will have to change the way we share information with the chapters, make decisions about programming, or even share resources.
If that sounds impossible to you, then maybe you should look for a new line of work. Sorry to be harsh, but maybe you need to go find an industry that is not in flux, that has a super-stable customer base whose experiences and expectations aren’t changing rapidly. Go find that job, so you can show up every day and implement according to the plan and the way it’s always been done.
Because we need to make room for a different kind of association executive. One who recognizes that the work of associations—the work of engaging members and stakeholders in ways that produce extraordinary value for both the stakeholders and the organization—requires innovation, new practices, and a much stronger focus on the role of culture.
Culture makes it clear what is valued, and our traditional local/national split is all about valuing efficiency and control in a centralized hierarchy. It puts the association at the center of the universe, and that’s not what today’s stakeholders are expecting. We need cultures that are open to integrating local and national engagement experiences.”