8 Must-Reads for Savvy Association Executives

By Gabrielle Copperwheat

We all have the best intentions of keeping up with the latest news and research. But all too often, the daily grind of life intervenes and we’re left with stacks of books and magazines to read.

Here is my list for what every savvy association executive should be reading— and why.

The Washington Post
It’s important to be well informed about what’s going on in the world, whether it’s business, economics, government and international relations. The Washington Post is an excellent daily newspaper that will keep you abreast of the latest goings on nationally and around the world. You don’t need to read every article from beginning to end, but keep abreast of current events. You never know when someone will bring up current events in conversation or when they may affect your association directly. Be prepared. How will this help me? As a high-level executive, you need high level insight. Be the leader in a conversation, not just a listener. Visit.

“Robert’s Rules of Order” by Henry Martyn Robert
Your association board meetings likely follow these standard rules for conducting meetings and making decisions as a group, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the protocol. When you know and follow the rules, your meetings will run more smoothly and efficiently. Best of all, the rules are online and available to you via any mobile device. Bookmark the website and brush up before your next meeting. How will this help me? With over a century of experience in meetings, Robert’s Rules provide countless benefits for an organization. Understanding why protocol is protocol is key to ensuring efficiency. Visit.

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni
Some teams struggle, some produce astounding results and most fall between the two extremes. What are the obstacles to team success? Learn the key reasons why teams flounder and actionable steps to overcoming obstacles for the betterment of the entire organization. How will this help me? Knowing what to do for organizational success is important, but understanding how to overcome the obstacles is key. Visit.

Associations Now
This website has news, advice, best practices and case studies across a wide variety of association industries. You never know when you’ll have a great idea that could translate well to your own organization to boost member engagement or increase sponsorships. You can read articles online, sign up for the e-newsletter or subscribe to the magazine. How will this help me? Pay close attention to the blogs section of their website as this is the hub of invaluable experiences, words of wisdom and advice from top-level association executives who have been there, done that and are now sharing it with you. Visit.

“The Book of Business Awesome/The Book of Business UnAwesome”
One half of this book is titled “The Book of Business Awesome: How Engaging Your Customers and Employees Can Make Your Business Thrive.” The other half is titled “The Book of Business UnAwesome: the Cost of Not Listening, Engaging, or Being Great at What you Do.” It’s an engaging, but serious, look at how businesses succeed or stumble (i.e. be awesome or unawesome) and the lessons businesses can learn. While the book is geared towards for-profit businesses, it is full of useful information for any organization. How will this help me? There’s a reason we offer full-service, in-house marketing for our associations – because it is essential. Having the mental groundwork for how marketing concepts and actionable tools can benefit your organization will make the process far more collaborative, creative and energizing. Visit.

Association News
The magazine bills itself as the magazine for association executives and is available in both print and online. It offers association news, trends, advice, opinion, best practices and destinations info. It targets high-level association decision makers including Presidents, Executive Directors, trade show exhibit managers and training Directors. How will this help me? For more than 40 years, this publication has served as one of the top sources for association executives and meeting planners to elevate their organizations on everything from attendee engagement to meeting member needs to harnessing the power of web design effectively for your audience. Visit.

“Good to Great” by Steve Collins
Why some companies achieve greatness while others fall by the wayside has long been studied. Collins and his team studied the factors shared by companies that generated stock returns that beat the stock market in an average of seven times in 15 years. The book explores —and challenges— long held beliefs about leadership, technology, discipline and entrepreneurship. How will this help me? Not everyone is a Google or a World Health Organization where long term and sustained performance is built within their DNA. Oftentimes, we’re dealing with more specialized initiatives. Collins helps us to understand how to take good, mediocre (and even bad) organizations and create enduring greatness.  Visit.

Meetings Industry magazines
These include Smart Meetings, Successful Meetings and Meetings + Conventions magazines. Every association has meetings, both large and small, and an annual conference. These publications will keep you abreast of trends so you can manage your own events. How will this help me? Meeting and conference planning is one of the most rapidly evolving facets of association management. Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, initiatives and industry news is essential to staying ahead of the curve and creating memorable experiences. Visit. 

The adage is true— knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can share with others and the better prepared you will be to bring your association to the next level.

Happy Reading!

Gabrielle Copperwheat is director of operations for CMA Association Management. If you would like to leverage CMA Associations’ experience in association management and membership engagement and growth, we’d love to chat. Please contact us at 800.852.4269 or email us at info@cmasolutions.com.



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