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Managing The Member Experience With Aloha

I’ve written before about my dear friend Rosa Say and her book Managing With Aloha. While it is largely intended for organizational managers who want to create vibrant values-based relationships with their staff, I’m beginning to re-read it again from a slightly different perspective.

As an association executive, one of the more challenging relationships we have can be with our volunteer leaders. For instance, there is a different type of connection between executive-volunteer than there is between executive-employee. With the latter, there’s a kind of institutional setup that facilitates an adherence to policies and agreement to action (in other words, you know who to report to and how to get stuff done). On the other hand, in associations the executive understands that the organization “belongs” to the volunteer. That doesn’t mean that the association staff are unimportant and that volunteers make all the decisions. As any association professional will confess, it’s way more complex than that.

Yet, the ability to effectively manage a diverse group of volunteers and member leaders is an essential skill. Enter Rosa’s book and the brief, related Manifesto at ChangeThis. It’s a powerful guide to using some of the best of Hawaii’s values to help recreate the executive-volunteer relationship. There will definitely be more to come.

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