Blog FPO

The 4 Words of 2020

I’m not going to include the words unprecedented or pivot in this post. Instead, I’m going to focus on resilience, intolerance, grief and hope.

Resilience. Bravo to all the association executives who have given up what’s comfortable—the status quo--to embrace change. Kudos to the healthcare workers and the associations supporting them. Despite the fact that that 2020 unveiled unheard of challenges, we have impressively navigated our way through it all and prevailed.

Intolerance. 2020 has tested my tolerance. I yelled at my TV, realized that my understanding of people of color was woefully inadequate (working on it), and was embarrassed by our elected leaders--on both sides of the aisle. Are there really people saying COVID is a hoax? That won’t wear a mask? That are still judging others by the color of their skin? Think the election is rigged? The scariest part of intolerance is that while I may rant, I’m not going to hurt anyone; recent incidents tell me not everyone feels the same.

Grief. I know what you are thinking, “Grief? I haven’t lost a loved one.” But grief is an emotional response that happens when someone or something you love is taken away. We’re all grieving. We lost a lot in 2020. Some have lost loved ones which combined with COVID is heartbreaking. For others, grief may stem from a job loss, not seeing friends or family, home schooling, working from home, missing the gym, vacation, travel, restaurants, theater--the list goes on. The one thing we know for sure is that our lives have been turned upside down, leaving many of us feeling sad and anxious. We need to be kind to ourselves and practice more self-care and time-outs.

Ending on a positive note—I give you hope. As we prepare to move into 2021, we see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel as two vaccines are rolled out, and the first Americans are vaccinated. In a few weeks, a new Administration will be sworn in. All of these changes give us hope for 2021 and beyond.

As we reflect back on 2020, we should remember it not only for its seemingly insurmountable challenges, but for showing us just how resilient and hopeful we can be in the face of adversity. Happy holidays and a very happy new year!  

A Practical Guide to Stakeholder Mapping & Why It’s Important

There are two primary groups of people involved in your organization’s strategy work: participants and stakeholders. Depending upon their lived experiences, tenure in your industry, engagement with your organization, and a host of other factors, the opinions, insights, and recommendations of your members are going to vary greatly. Want to test it out? Ask a group of 10 members how to solve just about anything and you’re likely to get several dozen suggestions. And that’s because how people see the world, including the blocks and barriers impeding our organizations from achieving their preferred visions, varies.

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10 Practical Ideas for Overcoming the Implementation Gap

You’ve completed the strategic planning process. Now what? How do you ensure the plan doesn’t collect dust on a shelf or get filed away on your computer never to be viewed again? The first step is recognizing the implementation gap is a very real phenomenon. The second is arming you and your team with the tools and resources necessary to overcome it.

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By: | Dec, 17 2021

2022: A Year of Voice, Listening, & Possibility

As we come into 2022, we find a populace that is tired. It feels like 2021, while different, was in some ways a continuation of 2020. Successful associations in the coming year will not just need adaptive systems and differentiated value – they will need to demonstrate an incredible, authentic depth of care for humanity.  Lowell Aplebaum shares a few 2022 predictions that can bring this into focus.

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Education Strategy: Moving Forward with Intention

As we approach the close of 2021, this is an ideal time to focus our intentionality on how we approach our slate of educational programming and how we want to move forward into 2022. But in a time when we have gotten used to reacting to what’s thrown at us, how can we approach our menu of programs, products, and services with strategic rather than reactive thinking?

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By: Walt Phillips | Sep, 24 2021

7 Practical Ways to Design a Better Association Strategy

Strategic planning is one of the most important but intimidating parts of association work. The extent to which your association achieves your goals, and how quickly, depends in large part upon the thoroughness of your strategic plan. There are many factors to consider when designing a calculated association strategy that can guide your association in the short, medium and long term. Here’s advice for thoughtfully assembling a better association strategic plan.

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11 Safe Meeting Observations from the Front Line

Having recently planned and facilitated a number of in-person meetings and events for a variety of clients and industries, Aaron Wolowiec shares 11 stand-out observations for keeping your members and attendees both safe and comfortable.

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