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What are the emerging trends and priorities impacting membership bodies in 2023? Elisa and Andrew take a look at the challenges and opportunities which they suggest leadership teams should be exploring in the year ahead.
All boards know that strategy is important; but almost all also find it daunting. Planning forces directors to confront a future they can only guess at. Worse, actually choosing a strategy entails making decisions that explicitly cut off possibilities and options, and a board may well fear that getting those decisions wrong will wreck their organisation's chances of long-term success. This week, to kick-off Season 4, Elisa and Andrew are joined by Larry Paska from the National Council for the Social Studies, who explains their formula for defining and delivering a strategic plan that is realising sustained success for the NCSS and its members.
A hundred years ago, we moved from working six day weeks to five, and we’re overdue for an update. As we progress through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the 4-day week is a proposed reduction in the work week from a standard 40 hours to 32 hours for the same pay and benefits. Through a variety of pilots across the world, this reduction has been proven to work for employees and employers. The pandemic made it clear we can find a better balance between work and life, and the results of the pilots demonstrate a growing willingness to widely adopt this new model of working. This week Elisa and Andrew are joined by Mark Downs, CEO of the Royal Society of Biology, which is participating in the latest UK pilot (as possibly the only membership body thus far to engage with the model), to discuss the impacts of a 4-day week on the organisation's productivity, staff wellbeing, and member engagement.Visit for more information on the global pilots.
Association management is a vocation; it is a profession; and for an increasing number of people, it is a career choice. It is a craft which requires a complex mix of skills, knowledge, and experience, dexterously combining knowledge of association culture, structure, and politics, with a whole spectrum of professional expertise, ranging from strategy and advocacy to marketing and event management, and everything in between. Defining and maintaining shared professional standards is therefore imperative for the long-term success of the profession. Elisa and Andrew are joined by sector specialist, CAE evangelist, and host of Nonprofit Conversations, Cecilia Sepp to discuss the transformative power of professional recognition and accreditation. 
Constructive relationships amongst association leadership are fundamental to an organisation's success but too often we've seen tensions emerge between volunteer leaders and association professionals. Unless we invest in our relationships, it can be far too easy for an association's leadership team to descend into an emotional quagmire. Elisa and Andrew explore the reasons why these tensions can exist and examine what can be done to ensure relationship success.
At this year's ASAE Annual Meeting, keynote speaker Marcus Whitney encouraged association professionals to reexamine their perception of innovation and offered practical lessons on how organizations could be creative and goal-oriented. But what else did we learn from #ASAE22? Elisa and Andrew are joined by association community specialist, blogger, and fellow podcaster, Kiki L'Italien to discuss the lessons learned from Nashville.You can listen to Kiki's podcast at 
After two years of unprecedented change for individuals and organizations both societally and globally, with their 2022 State of Membership Survey Fonteva wanted to learn not just about where associations have been, but where they are going. Many associations have adapted and evolved as the needs and expectations of their members have changed and many have stepped into numerous roles to lead and be a resource for their industries or professions. So what is the state of membership? Jay Daughtry joins Elisa and Andrew to assess. Fonteva's summary report is available at and the full survey results can be downloaded at 
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is a non-partisan scientific organization which represents a broad spectrum of opinions united under one principle: the promotion and advancement of scientific inquiry, discovery, and communication. Within the context of its diverse membership, the ESA has devised a successful approach to engaging in topics of broad  social interest, including statements on Why Black Lives Matter to Entomology at the start of the George Floyd movement, the January 6  insurrection (Our Place in Democracy), the Hidden Costs of War (in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine), and the recent ruling from the Supreme Court on Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization (On Women's Pursuit of Science). We contend that a modern membership organization has an obligation to participate in societal debate and to influence social narratives wherever possible; and in Episode 60 of #associationtransformation, Elisa and Andrew are joined by Chris Stelzig, Executive Director of the ESA who explains the organization's methods for addressing social responsibilities through constructive dialogue and informed debate. If you're not at the table, then you're probably on the menu.
Maintaining diverse income streams is (or should be) a ubiquitous priority for association leaders. While the pandemic focused our attention on new approaches to securing non-dues revenue, post-pandemic it is incumbent on us to to sustain partnerships and innovations that underpin financial strength, promote business resilience, and support the development of an equally diverse value proposition. As we celebrate our 2nd birthday, Elisa and Andrew are joined by Patrick Wilson, growth strategist and President of The Profitable Association to explore alternative income formulas for modern membership organizations. 
This week's episode is sponsored by our friends at Cambridge Publishing Ltd ( Elisa and Andrew are joined by Martin Bewick, Senior Content Strategist at CPL to explore the value of devising an association's content strategy and the impact of cultivating a content culture.  There is no single 'right' model and Martin helps us understand the process for creating a content strategy that works hand-in-hand with your wider business, marketing and communications plans to ensure you tell a consistent story to your members.Download CPL's report on Channelling the future at 
How's life in Association World? What are the priorities? What are we talking about and what should we be talking about? This week Elisa and Andrew spend time exploring the subjects that pique their interest as they reflect on the ongoing development and focus of membership organisations since launching Association Transformation nearly two years ago.
Salesforce recently published its 7th annual report on marketing within the global nonprofit environment. Over 8,200 marketing professional from more than 30 countries were surveyed on the shifts which have occurred in marketing strategies, priorities, and challenges during 2021. It makes insightful reading and this week Elisa and Andrew are joined by marketing specialists Lorraine Cox, CMktr and Stefan Bradham, CAE to explore recent changes and trends in content strategy, member engagement, data innovation, and digitisation. You can download the report at Mark Schafer's book Marketing Rebellion: the most human company wins can be ordered at 
Ahead of their session at the this year's ASAE's annual meeting in Nashville, Jessica Irizarry, Michelle Runge, and Elisa share their views with Andrew on the imperative to elevate awareness of and appreciation for the centrality of component relations amongst associations. Register for the 2022 ASAE Annual Meeting at 
Organizations that employ the strategy of Continuous Disruptive Innovation (CDI) are a rare breed. They require disruptive leadership teams who create tremendous long-term value by nurturing periods of sustained ideation and value creation. They build platforms or networks that give rise to the development of a series of offerings, each of which creates further disruption within an industry.  Think Google. Think Apple. Elisa and Andrew begin to explore the basics of CDI and consider ways in which the membership world can apply the principles of CDI to the long-term development (and redevelopment) of their value propositions.
The House of Agile

The House of Agile


The last two years have seen unprecedented disruption across the world and businesses have had to adapt to survive. In 2017, McKinsey wrote a report called the Five Trademarks of Agile Organisation. Today's guests, Marcia Philpin explains how she adapted the five trademarks and developed the FPM's House of Agile to nurture, sustain, and grow the FPM during the pandemic.Marcia's article can be read at Registration for the IAL's Essence of Leadership Summit is found at 
When he defined the concept of "attention economics" in 1971, Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon wrote that "...a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention...".  50 years later, and in a data-rich world, the overwhelming wealth of information available to us means a dearth of something else, i.e. the scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes - our attention. In this week's episode, and in the first of a series of conversations focused on attention economics, Elisa and Andrew define the concept and begin to explore how membership bodies need to understand, respond to, and flourish within the attention economy. 
Exposure to fresh perspectives, new ways of doing things, alternative solutions, peer networks, and creative ideas is fundamentally every association's core purpose; and building and capitalising on an international network is an effective way of delivering against an association's mission. But many association leaders grapple with international business development, not least because of the perceived time, money, and resources required but also because the relevance isn't always obvious. In this week's episode Elisa and Andrew explore the realities of going global - the benefits, the risks, the barriers, and the opportunities - and the need for informed decision-making when contemplating international strategy.
Storytelling is humanity’s oldest technology for connection, identity, and sense making. And today it’s the mission-critical competency for knowledge-era leaders. The world's most influential leaders are telling stories, including association leaders and Elisa and Andrew are joined by the Storyteller Leader, David Hutchens and discuss how to bring the power of authentic human connection to your most urgent work, including the narrative assets — the value-holding stories — that you can bring to the work you’re doing right now.For more information visit and freely download the entire set of canvas resources. 
Season 3 Preview

Season 3 Preview


2021 was a tough one. Tougher than many of us expected. But there were still plenty of highlights and successes, and there's a lot to look forward to in 2022. In the Season 3 opener, Elisa and Andrew reflect on the big takeaways from 2021 and explore what's exciting them in the membership world for the year ahead. Welcome back to Association Transformation!
They call it the "great resignation" but is it really going to turn out to be that? Certainly, as with so many professions, post-pandemic, association executives are reassessing their priorities, reexamining their career paths, and rethinking what it is that they want from work. Bob Corlett, Founder & President of Staffing Advisors joins Elisa and Andrew to explore the trends which are rapidly emerging in the non-profit jobs market and executive recruitment. 
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