Ideas worth sharing: Just say No.

Ideas worth sharing: Just say No.

How good are we all at saying No to things? Pretty darned good, I’ve discovered—at least when it comes to things that are satisfying and fulfilling. But the other stuff? We let people pile it on.

That was one of my takeaways when I presented on The Power of No. It was this past Friday, and the opportunity came to me from the great folks at the Arizona Society of Association Executives (I know; it’s fun to say).

Here’s my session description:

“Leadership requires making decisions that affect people and resources. But how do we make those important decisions? How do we sustain an ethical workplace and deal with the many pressures to do all things and be all things for our members and the public? Sometimes the best answer lies in resisting the urge to say Yes.”

As well-placed “No” is one of my favorite words evah, So I thought the topic and I were a pretty good fit. The more I dug into it, of course, the more I saw how much I had to learn about No. I mean, our inability to Give Good No—in the workplace or in the wider world—has deep roots.

But with time and practice, I urged the association leaders, every one of us can develop the muscle to say No when necessary. The soundness of our organizations and our own sanity occasionally demand it.

Here are a few photos from the event (click to biggify), held at the beautiful Falls event center in Gilbert, Arizona. And a special thank you to the very funny Jeremy Arp, Executive Director of the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, for his kind introduction.

November 2013 coverToday, I share some good news about the State Bar—and Arizona Attorney Magazine. It involves the Bar’s recognition with the prestigious Award of Excellence in Education from the Arizona Society of Association Executives.

Back in November 2013, you may recall we published the results of an attorney survey that examined Arizona lawyers’ experience with violence in the profession. You can read the story by attorney Stephen Kelson here.

That story was being developed and drafted soon after the horrific murder of attorney Mark Hummels and his client at the hands of an angry man. I wrote about it here.

Following the crimes, the Bar launched a webcast on violence in the legal profession that garnered a national audience.

The Bar’s CEO/Executive Director John Phelps also wrote an op-ed on the topic in the Arizona Republic.

Below you can read the press release about the recent award recognizing all the Bar’s efforts. Please let me know how we should continue to advance the dialogue in the magazine.

Mark Hummels

Mark Hummels

“The State Bar of Arizona won the Award of Excellence in Education from the Arizona Society of Association Executives (AzSAE) and will be recognized at the organization’s 50th anniversary gala in December. Each year AzSAE recognizes outstanding programs and projects implemented by associations in Arizona.”

“The State Bar of Arizona was recognized for its “Violence Against Lawyers Education Project,” which transformed the unfortunate shooting death of an attorney into an evaluation and education initiative. The initiative, which surveyed members and ignited dialogue, resulted in two educational components: a 75-minute live webcast with more than 1,000 viewers nationwide and an in-depth article Arizona Attorney magazine regarding violence against attorneys.”

“According to the AzSAE, winning entries are showcased at the AzSAE Annual Awards Celebration and serve as inspiration to other associations.”

John Phelps headshot

John Phelps

“Commenting on the award, State Bar CEO John Phelps said, ‘This award is the result of teamwork and a commitment to excellence by State Bar staff and volunteers. It reflects what we do, day in and day out, in our service to the public and our members.’”

“The AzSAE Annual Awards were held on Dec. 3, 2014, at the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale.”

social media heart love

… but maybe it’s just me.

This Friday, I will join a fellow Bar communicator as we present a seminar on how association leaders can best deal with media—not news outlets, but all the other media that takes up our day: everything from press releases and websites to social media.

State Bar Chief Communications Officer Rick DeBruhl will cover legacy mainstream media channels. I’m the social media portion of the edutainment. Our shared title is “Dealing with the Media—From Mainstream to Social.”

And I’d like your help.

The audience will be attending the annual conference of the Arizona Society of Association Executives (you kind of knew they must have an association, didn’t you?). As they describe themselves:

“AzSAE is for all levels of management and all types of nonprofits, from chief executives to staff managers and from international trade associations to local philanthropic organizations.”

Have you spotted the challenge faced by the event’s speakers? The audience will range from folks who understand communications like the back of their hand, and those who oversee an association and may know little about the topic.

Hmmm. How granular to get? But if we remain general, we’re bound to annoy the more fluent parts of the audience who may be hoping for nuts-and-bolts takeaways.

So I wonder if you have a suggestion for our portion of the event. I’m nearly done with my presentation prep, but then it occurred to me that I should crowdsource a solution (why it took a social media maven so long to stumble on that notion is a mystery).

You may know little about associations (congratulations). But before you avert your gaze, I point out that many professionals, especially millennials, identify social media and websites as key channels through which they learn association news.

One of the results from a 2012 Millennial Impact survey

One of the results from a 2012 Millennial Impact survey

In addition,you certainly know which of the member organizations you belong to “get it right” and which routinely fail to meet your expectations.

So you may be uniquely qualified to help answer these questions:

  • What communications channels work best to “reach you” about association news?
  • What techniques or tools used by associations make you feel most “at home” in an association?
  • What association strategies leave you cold and make your association appear irrelevant?

Thanks! I’ll report back about how our insights were received.