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Associations and Kaizen

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In this 300th column (thank you, BusinessMirror, for this milestone!), I will touch upon a topic close to my heart as this has been a part of my work and advocacy on association management. The term kaizen is a fusion of two Japanese words that translate to “good change” or “change for the better.” Eventually, kaizen has evolved to mean “continuous improvement,” becoming a Japanese business philosophy that entails people involvement and productivity in a gradual and methodical process. I personally experienced the kaizen way years ago when I attended the “Executive Corporate Management Program” in Tokyo, Japan, organized by the Association of Overseas ...
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There is no arguing that associations and business organizations learn from each other on management practices and models. For example, some businesses have adopted the associations’ membership-like activities while some associations have undertaken business-like revenue generating ventures. Coming from a banking background, I ‘m sharing some banking terms that may create ideas for associations: KYC (Know Your Customer). KYC requires that financial institutions make an effort to verify the identity, suitability, and risks involved with maintaining a business relationship. Tweaking KYC into KYM (Know Your Member) in the association context, not from the ...
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In a webinar organized by BoardPro Ltd., a board management software company in Australia, I saw a video that tackled ways to create effective minutes for board meetings. The panelists who shared their insights were: Brett Herkt, BoardPro co-founder and CEO; Steven Bowman, professional director at Conscious Governance; and Jen Butler, board specialist at Absolute Gems. Here are key takeaways from the webinar: Why are minutes important? Board meetings are an essential component of an organization’s decision-making process and board minutes matter because they: Fulfill compliance requirements. Minutes are required of incorporated bodies in most ...
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You must have heard these terms before: change agent, change champion, change ambassador, or change catalyst. It means someone within or outside the organization who promotes and enables a new way of improving things, e.g., business model transformation, management restructuring, process reengineering, or digital adoption. In his latest “Thinking Ahead” e-newsletter article, “A Culture of Change Agents,” futurist Gihan Perera wrote: “In a tight labor market, if you don’t build a culture for change, they will find somebody else who does. Change and innovation are everybody’s responsibility. The best leaders create a culture where change is energizing and change ...
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You must have heard of the oft-cited business term “pivot,” which means a company altering an aspect(s) of its core products or services to better meet demand, changing their target market, boosting sales or any combination of these. It could also mean adopting a significant change to its operations or business model. The end goal of a pivot is to help the company survive and thrive. “Many people think of disruption as a bolt from the blue that comes out of nowhere and shakes up an entire industry. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes you can make a small change in a slightly different direction. Done right, a small change creates massive opportunities,” ...
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What gives me great joy during this pandemic is my day-to-day interaction with my only granddaughter, now four-and-a-half years old. Here’s what a typical day with her and how it applies to associations in terms of member engagement: Morning hug. Upon waking up at around 9:00 a.m., she would first look for me and greet me with a morning hug. I initiated this ritual when she was two years old and I liken this to what associations can do or have been doing in welcoming or meeting their members: a handshake, a fist bump or whatever form of gesture their cultures allow. This boosts personal relationship and camaraderie with members. Play time. Next on ...
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The Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Asia’s first convention center, has reached another milestone in its 46 years of existence. The National Museum of the Philippines has officially declared it as a National Cultural Treasure (NCT). The PICC complex is itself a work of art by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. Along with the PICC as NCT are three national artists’ four iconic works of art permanently displayed in and around the PICC: the “Anito” and “Grid” sculptures of National Artist for Visual Arts Arturo R. Luz; the “Pagdiriwang” painting of National Artist for Visual Arts Jose T Joya; and, the 93 ubiquitously placed, ...
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As I was thinking about what to write for this week’s column, I chanced upon a short article entitled “People Forget” from “Our Daily Bread,” a 365-day devotional booklet I read first thing in the morning. It tells the story of a churchgoer who curiously asked the priest why he repeats his sermon from time to time, to which the pastor replied, “People forget.” Interestingly, when I started to write this piece along this storyline, I remember a personal experience after I retired a year back. As a retiree, I was expecting I would receive news or updates from my former work colleagues. It did not happen and so I told myself, “Out of sight, out of mind.” The ...
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To say the Philippines is a basketball-crazy nation is an understatement. In terms of scale, it is safe to assume there is at least one basketball court (playing area) in each of the over 42,000 barangays (villages) in the country, not including those in every nook and corner of not-so-busy streets and alleys, as well as those in privately owned gyms and residences. Basketball players see the sport as a path to fame (to becoming movie stars, politicians, local heroes) and riches (for signing lucrative, multi-year contracts in the pro league and product endorsements). But basketball is also a science in itself. I found out there are nearly 300 terminologies ...
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An avocado is a fruit with a hard inner core and a soft layer around it. Thus, an “avocado leader” can refer to one with innate business skills and a humane approach to managing people. In the webinar, “Are You a Future-ready Leader?” by Australia-based futurist Gihan Perera, I learned the essential traits of an “avocado leader.” What does an association executive navigating and working through the three phases of crisis, recovery and growth need to focus on to be future-ready? Emulating an “avocado leader,” the association executive has to use both hard (organizational) and soft (people) skills to be able do this. Below are what I have learned from Gihan’s ...
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Associations are not in the events business but in the community-building and communications business. This means that associations have to take a step back and reimagine the way they are building their communities and what the long-term member engagement strategy could look like. Digital is not a threat, but a massive opportunity for associations to engage and grow their communities and have bigger, more continuous, impact. This excerpt from an e-book titled “The Association Community Compendium: How to Harness the Collective Power of your Members,” authored by Mathijs Vleeming, an online community evangelist and strategy consultant, and published by Open ...
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Like the legendary phoenix, associations have begun to gradually rise from the ashes of the pandemic—from holding purely remote and virtual communication that kept the members at bay, to cautiously holding blended and in-person events. The question to ask in the context of communication is, “What communication approaches do associations need at this time?” This was the synopsis of a recent webinar developed and conducted by speaker Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo, fellow of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), for the Philippines Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE). The phoenix is an immortal bird associated with ...
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A year after the founding of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) in November 2013, it has embarked on an ambitious plan to develop its own credentialing program to advance association governance and management for associations and other member-serving organizations in the country. Designed and developed by association professionals here and benchmarked with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the Certified Professional Association Executive (CPAE) covers the essential knowledge, skills and behavior that an association professional needs to do the job. The 6-module course includes: association management ...
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Associations do public good but not many of these good deeds are known to the public. In my talks to associations in my capacity as founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE), I always tell my audience, “Doing good is one thing but communicating this good to the public is another matter.” An association needs to tell its story of good deeds to the world and this brings me to the topic on making a press release. I recently read a post entitled “The Modern Press Release: Two Don’ts and Three Do’s” by Jay Hickman in the Marketing Profs Today e-newsletter. I wish to share this with a few modifications ...
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Membership engagement sits right in the middle of the US-based Marketing General, Inc.’s five-stage membership lifecycle framework which consists of awareness, recruitment, engagement, retention and reinstatement. Being in the middle of the lifecycle is auspicious as membership engagement determines success for the association if done well and failure if neglected. In my March 16, 2017 column, “Association Membership Lifecycle,” I wrote that engagement is when new members feel they belong with the association. It also means member interaction with the association—be it a visit to the website, a completed survey, a product purchase, or even a phone call—is continuously ...
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The most common question that a prospective association member asks is: “What value do I get from being a member?” From the perspective of the association, it is about planning, developing, organizing, and communicating its value proposition. Since value proposition is a key component of an association’s business model, the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) conducted recently a webinar on “How to Write Value Propositions that Sell.” The speaker was Dr. Michael Tatonetti, founder and CEO of Atlanta, a US-based Pricing for Associations whose mission is to advance associations in their pricing models for financial sustainability. ...
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As a kid growing up, I have always been fascinated with anything futuristic: aliens, spaceships, galaxies, universe and the like. While these things still attract me to this day, the “futurist” in me has ventured into other topics such as trends, scenarios and foresights, to enrich my professional life. So when I received the video recording of a webinar entitled, “7 Surprising Traits of Future Directors” from Board Pro Ltd., a board management software company in Australia, I immediately watched it with keen interest. In the webinar panel discussion were: Paul Smith, CEO and founder of the Future Directors Institute; Lynda Carroll, CEO of the Align Group ...
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Is association volunteering still viable? This is the question Peggy Hoffman, president of Mariner Management, posed in a recent webinar organized by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) entitled, “Re-engaging Members as Volunteers in Across the Spectrum.” Mariner Management is a US-based association management company and consultancy. Associations are run and/or complemented by members who volunteer and commit their time and resources to pursue the organization’s purpose, mission, and continuity. However, demographic transition, work mode and workplace changes, and technology shift, among other factors, are having a ripple ...
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Governance Demystified

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The word, “governance” is derived from the Greek verb, kubernaein, which means “to steer.” However, the use of the term in its current broader sense gained prominence only in the 1990s due to fraud and malfeasance in public and private institutions, as well as subsequent reports and norms disseminated by multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank and laws enacted by governments (e.g., the US Sarbanes and Oxley Act). Governance also often refers to a level of governance associated with: a type of organization (e.g., public governance, corporate governance, nonprofit governance); ...
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“The way a board agenda is structured will dynamically affect the quality of board focus and its ability to handle the big decisions that are required to create the future. This is further supported by the quality of board reports that provide succinct, focused information that facilitates the Board to understand the choices they have.” This was the context of “Setting the Strategic Board Agenda” written by Steven Bowman and Brendan Walsh of Malvern, Australia-headquartered Conscious Governance, as well as the webinar I recently attended, “How to Develop your Strategic Board Agenda” organized by BoardPro Ltd., a board management software company in Australia. ...
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