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Here's one area where your board should never speak for the members

Your board thinks that every business is just like them, feeling the same pains, having the same reactions to change. It's why I developed the Map to Remembership: To help your board and staff understand that different businesses have different needs.

I've talked with many of you about email conversations you're having with your executive team, and they are making a lot of assumptions.

  1. Members can't afford membership renewals right now. This breaks my NUMBER ONE rule: Never say no for someone else. Don't tell them they can't afford it. Believe in your value.

  2. Things we used to charge for should be free right now. Why? Because someone else is offering something for free? Great plan. Hey when we close for good and you're the last one here, get the lights, would ya?

  3. Chamber functions aren't essential right now. C'mon man. Hey if you believe this, get off my email list.

People commonly do something called projection in group settings where social constructs exist and they want to...

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How should chamber staff interact with the board?

Many chamber CEO's have their staff attend every board meeting. Some have their team sit at the table with the board and other teams sit at their own table in the back of the room to observe or respond when called upon. 

That's all well and good. But when staff and board step around their executive director or CEO to have private conversations trouble ensues. 

I've seen where a chamber staff person had reached out to a board member about their dissatisfaction with a decision made by their boss -- the chamber CEO. And if that wasn't bad enough, the board member scheduled a special meeting to hear them out and then became involved in the situation between employee and employer. So after the fact, when that board chair asked me for input, I told them not to be surprised when their CEO tenders their resignation. 

Any organization or business needs a clear structure or organizational chart so that everyone knows to whom they are accountable. The chamber staff should treat...

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What is your role as a chamber board member? 

I get to meet a lot of board members and one the questions that gets played on repeat is, "As a board member, how can I best help my chamber or economic development organization?" 

When I served on a board for the first time, it was shared with me that I was there for one of three reasons... for my time, my talent or my treasure. But I don't see that same equation in place for the most dynamic chambers I've witnessed... 

I was working with a chamber outside Houston Texas a few years back and prior to my presentation to the board, I was taking note of how my friend Keri - the chamber CEO - had organized her board into focus areas and how these board members seemed so much more engaged than any other board I had ever seen before. 

Here are three simple steps you can use to clarify the roles of board members at your chamber or EDC: 

  1. Create focus areas called Governance, Internal and External. Governance is your executive board committee. Internal is operations,...

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