From publishing models to staffing and revenue generation to technology investment, association professionals can learn a lot from each other. The best practices of our peers may offer more than just guidelines; they may spark new avenues for innovation and improvement.
Focusing particularly on the latter idea, Rita Burke, senior partner for Rising Tide LCC; Christine Charlip, director, ASM Press for American Society for Microbiology; and Paula J. Posas, a World Bank consultant, discussed best practices during AM&P’s March 15 Lunch & Learn “What You Can Learn from Best Practices at Other Associations — Especially Outside Your Market” in Washington, D.C.
Best practices can help your association understand what other groups have done to reach excellence in key areas. They can help you recognize state of the art and learn from the mistakes and successes of others. Burke is a consultant focused on training to help associations, and over the years, she has been involved in numerous best-practice studies.
“As a consultant, I work with a diverse group of clients. They are at all levels in the associations they represent and have varying levels of experience and knowledge,” she says. “It's important not to take for granted that everyone has the same level of knowledge and to meet them where they are.”
Burke says one of her favorite things about best-practice studies is that the scope can be quite narrow or very broad.
“In terms of best practices, there is no role within an association that can't benefit from exploring what others are doing really well,” Burke says. “Whether it is a production manager looking to streamline processes, a director of membership seeking new ways of engaging would-be members, a publishing director who wants to understand how others have managed a challenging transition in their publishing approach, or an executive director or CEO looking for a full-scale strategic review that includes a best-practice study, there is much to be learned.”
The wide range is true not just for titles or roles. Burke encourages association professionals to go outside their comfort zone, look beyond their niche, and search out best practices that can be adapted to their own needs.
“Studying what others have done, even those outside of your narrow field, can lead to big ideas and revelations on what you can be doing better,” Burke says. “Always keep learning, working to improve what you do and how you do it.”
Future Lunch & Learns
The next Lunch & Learn is “How to Diversify your Revenue Streams with Branded Content” on April 5 in Washington, D.C. and in Chicago on April 19. Find more information on future Lunch & Learn sessions and register online.