Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CEO Coaching Program

Select Information Gathering, Benchmarking and Coaching Program Launched for Senior Association Executives

(Washington, DC—28 October 2014) Plexus Consulting Group, LLC (Plexus) has launched a new subscription service through which senior managers of nonprofit and public service organizations can match their performance against their peers in a variety of disciplines to be better able to evaluate and improve their skills.  In addition to comparative information gathering and ranking this flat-rate, subscription service includes a variety of confidential networking, research, and coaching services that can be tailored to the needs of “C-suite” executives.

This service is designed to serve as a kind of personal coach and to provide executives answers to the following sorts of questions:

How am I doing compared to my peers?

What are the ways I can get my new ideas across to the board of directors?

What are some new markets I can enter to increase revenue?

How can I use social media more effectively to engage my members?

What are my competitors doing to increase membership base?

How can I make my presentations more lively and encourage overall discussion?

“Such personalized services have been available to the senior executives of for-profit companies for years but until now have been out of the reach of nonprofit managers” said Plexus President Steven Worth.  “We have priced these services at an affordable rate and have invited a select number of senior association managers whom we know well and whom we think would form a solid initial core for building such a peer leadership networking program.

“We have appointed Mr. Suvo Nandi to manage this program.  Suvo has run a similar program for the CEOs of for-profit companies and is well equipped to adapt these proven methodologies to the needs of the nonprofit and public service sector.”

For further information contact:

Mr. Suvo Nandi, MBA
Tel. 202-785-8940

Monday, October 20, 2014

Going Global for all the Wrong Reasons

Post authored by Marian R. Calvin, Vice President Communications for Experient

As event marketers, we hear all sorts of reasons why people need to boost attendance at their annual event. The event, along with its trade show, is the largest source of non-dues revenue for most non-profit associations and often their primary service delivery mechanism. With attendance being down, flat or showing lackluster growth in recent years due to economic reasons, they want to expand their event marketing database to invite or grow international attendance.

The rationale includes: The village needs to meet. The internet is shrinking the world. We want to be considered an international powerhouse, THE go-to source. Similar organizations are going global and we need to do so as well. We need to expand our community to professionals in other countries.

Agreed. But it’s not so easy. Along with logistical issues surrounding international attendance at events (such as currency exchange for registration, translation services for advance materials and on site, visa requirements and letters of invitation), there are the ongoing needs of an international participant (and new member) that need to be addressed to KEEP that attendee active, engaged and fulfilled.

Is the infrastructure in place within your organization to support international membership?

  • Does your website facilitate multi-lingual communication?
  • Is there a quick-response method for someone contacting you in the middle of the night (during their working hours)?
  • Are live online committee meetings or informational meetings/seminars taking the time zone issue into consideration?
  • Will you be planning meetings in other parts of the world?
How ready are you for global expansion in terms of membership support?

There are a number of experts out there with a thorough understanding of international markets who specialize in consulting with associations who want to enter the global arena.

One such expert is Steven Worth, author and President of Plexus Consulting Group. His expertise centers on helping associations succeed in international business.

Worth has served as interim executive director of four international associations, designed and implemented strategies creating two world federations of nonprofit organizations, and created the Association International Market Development (AIMD)—a program designed to open opportunities within USAID and World Bank projects in developing nations for the education, training and standards development resources of U.S.-based associations.

In fact, you could say that Worth wrote the book on globalized operations. Literally. The Association Guide to Going Global is Worth’s comprehensive guide for associations coping with a global marketplace. Published last July, the book enlightens readers on key issues that have proven to be of concern to associations going global and unveils how to successfully navigate a global environment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Everybody’s Doing It: Tips for Healthy Nonprofit Collaborations

By Asia Hadley, Training Coordinator, Foundation Center-Atlanta

Do you desire a beneficial partnership? Do you dream of having a partnership that will “get your organization’s name out there” in a good way? Are you looking to collaborate to increase your resources? If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone.

According to The Power of Partnership by Plexus Consulting Group, 86% of the respondents to their questionnaire said the most important accomplishment of a strategic partnership is ‘to achieve a goal that the association could not achieve alone.” To respondents, that goal most often is to:

• Increase membership
• Increase resources
• Increase revenue
• Enhance visibility and/or brand
• Expand current markets (or develop new markets)
• Minimize the risk inherent in any innovation
• Maximize use of resources

Before you rush to hook-up with an organization, here’s a sobering fact: 50% fail. (I’m not citing divorce statistics either.) That’s according to a study “When to Ally and When to Acquire,” in the Harvard Business Review (July/August 2004) referenced in The Power of Partnership.

Use the following tips to develop a thriving collaborative partnership regardless of economic conditions.

What to do:

Determine your objective: Be clear about why your organization is choosing to partner and what you hope to accomplish. Your objectives should be in alignment with your vision, mission, and strategic goals. Remember to consider what others may possibly gain through the partnership as well.

Assess your readiness: Successful partnerships have committed leadership at both the executive and staff levels. Commitment is demonstrated by staff having dedicated time for meetings and work related to the collaboration. Commitment can also be seen by allocating resources to support the initiative. Does your staff have the time and resources available to fulfill your organization’s role? Have you determined your organization’s strengths and weakness to know what roles you can play within a partnership?

Explore collaboration models: According to the book Wise Decision-Making in Uncertain Times, three levels of collaboration can exist: 1) cooperation (project-specific relationship), 2) coordination (informal relationship), and 3) collaboration (formal relationships, which have separate boards of directors, bylaws, and other organizational structures).

Select an appropriate partner: This is where doing your homework will be crucial. Find out the mission of the other group(s). Are they respected in the community? What do they have to gain? Do they have the time, resources and buy-in to collaborate effectively? Once you select a partner, you may choose to outline an agreement of the responsibilities of each organization. The more formal the collaboration, the more a written agreement is needed.

Evaluate your process: Throughout the collaboration make time to assess what is working and what is not working. Are the meetings productive? Are there too many of them? This allows you to make appropriate changes when needed.

What not to do:

Act contrary to the above tips or ignore them altogether.

How have you collaborated with another organization?

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Sweat, Character and Hard Thinking Behind Success

By Steven M. Worth, President at Plexus Consulting Group, LLC

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…” as Shakespeare noted nearly four hundred years ago; and this has been a popular theme throughout the ages in both popular fiction as well as, in recent years, business management books. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell points out the interesting statistics behind most outstanding success stories. His thesis is so compelling that one might be tempted to conclude that “success” is an odds game—the result of being in the right place at the right time and putting in the right amount of prep time—much like the Peter Seller’s movie “Being There” or the Tom Hanks movie ‘Forrest Gump” in which the leading characters of both movies achieve astounding success in life due to well-placed values and being in the right place at the right time. Cinderella-tales are comforting. We see justice rendered in otherwise hopeless situations—the way we rejoice in the news of jackpot lottery winners, imagining that with luck this might one day be us…

We see less of this magic in our work as management consultants. What we see more often is the truism that successful people and organizations are those who do what the less successful don’t do. By this I mean they do market research, they develop strategic partnerships with outside groups and organizations, they take calculated risks and encourage innovative thinking, they retire programs and organizational structures that have outlived their usefulness, and they focus their resources with laser-like intensity on those programs and projects that are designed to meet current and future market needs. We also see the hard work, the agony of failure along with the courage to get up and go at it again, and the humility in knowing that no one can do it all or know it all and that success comes in working in harness with others who share your vision.

What we sometimes fail to see behind the news coverage and trappings of success are what Winston Churchill in another time called the “blood, toil, sweat and tears” of success. This is unfortunate, because so many are ready to throw in the towel at the first sign of an obstacle. The late psychiatrist and best-selling author Scott Peck noted in his book The Road Less Travelled that the majority of his patients were people who felt they were failures, or who built their lives around avoiding failure without realizing how much easier it would be if they just recognized that difficulty and uncertainty are not signs of failure but rather normal and expected challenges on the path of success.

Strategic planning consists in part of recognizing which aspects of your environment you control and which represent external trends over which you have no control but which can present opportunities or threats that you should take into account in your planning processes. As can be seen in our firm’s recent management survey (to be discussed in our two leadership training sessions that we will be offering through CESSE this year), increasing numbers of managers are using strategic planning as a tool for planning their organization’s success—a tool that is only useful if it is fact-based and backed by a business plan that focuses resources and sets long term and short term measurable goals. It works, but it does require work and risk and letting go of preconceived notions. This is the furious peddling that goes on under the graceful swan’s seemingly effortless glide through the water.