The ultimate goal for an association is to be a cohesive organization with well thought-out strategies, good management and good revenue streams … traits often found in successful NFL teams. According to The Bleacher Report, successful NFL teams demonstrate five traits that are vital to the franchise’s overall success. Match them to your association and you might just be the next New England Patriots of the association world.
- You Need a Playmaker (Hire a Good Leader).
Throughout the history of the NFL the most successful teams had a playmaker at quarterback, like Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger.* Your association needs a playmaker … someone who can articulate your vision and execute it. That playmaker is the Executive Director. For the Executive Director to be a playmaker, your board must know itself and its organization. What skills are needed to complement your board’s strengths? In what direction are you headed and what plans do you have to get there? How will you measure success? The mission, strategic direction, benchmarks, and culture established by the board will have an immediate and ongoing impact on the effectiveness of any Executive Director.
- Trust Your Scouts. (Hire Good Staff).
Teams that constantly win are teams that trust their scouts and the ability to evaluate talent*. Same can be said of finding good staff members. Hiring good staff is a tough process for an association because compensation can be lower and you need to find a candidate who is truly interested in what you do. So we suggest two key parameters for a new hire: 1) Hire people with a passion for your organization’s area and 2) Find someone who has worked for an association before so they understand that world (while a candidate who has worked in the business world could bring new ways of thinking, they might not understand the specifics of the association world).
Be Clear on Job Parameters (Everyone Should Stay in Their Lane).
The best hierarchies in the NFL have consistently been when there is one person as a general manager and a different individual as a head coach. Both sides work well together in the best franchises to make the team better. The best associations are the ones where the Executive Director executes the overall vision and strategy and relies on his or her staff to do the follow through. Micromanagement at the top of the heap spells trouble.
Create a Good Core Culture.
Implement the above five factors and we’ll see you hoisting the Lombardi trophy!
* The Bleacher Report; www.bleacherreport.com