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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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What should you do when something you value is free? 

I was chatting with my copywriter the other day and she said, "OH MAN I was writing the BEST article in Evernote and something happened and now its GONE. I can't find it anywhere!" 

I reminded her that when she was getting her business systems set up -- she was using the FREE version of Evernote -- and I encouraged her to upgrade to the professional version. "Did you do that," I asked? 

Well she did and boy is she glad. Because she could go to and see all of her notes and articles and the various iterations... and there it was. Her article that she worked so hard on was in there. 

It's a good reminder to look around at the things in your life and in your work that you value and that add value to those you serve. If you value it and it goes away, what then? Is there something you can do that will help make sure that it doesn't go away?

So many businesses look at the work you do and say, "I'm glad they do it. I benefit from their work. They're going to...

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When should you be lobbying your elected officials? 

Elected officials are just like you. They have a job and a family and they volunteer. In this case, they have volunteered to put themselves in the public eye, under a ton of scrutiny by you and ten thousand others. If you don't have a relationship with your elected officials, you should, and as you might have guessed, I have three tips for you. 

  1. Catch them in the off-season. Find out their down time. If they are a state rep or senator, that means don't schedule time with them at the capitol building. Find time outside of session when they are back home in your neighborhood. 

  2. Find their hot buttons. What is on their agenda that you can help them with? Reciprocity comes when you help them first. 

  3. Ask them how you can help them. Wait didn't I just say that? No, I said "what's on their agenda." Now I'm suggesting that you literally say the words, HOW CAN I HELP YOU? And then sit there silently and listen to their answer. If they have never thought about it before,...

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How do you tell a coworker or teammate that they have no tact? 

Working with a team requires some tact. The problem is, without tact, your responses are seen as careless, dismissive or unfiltered. If you catch someone at the wrong time with your new idea, you might get the tactless, unfiltered response. 

I remember when I was growing up, there were definitely times I knew NOT to ask my parents for something I really wanted. My dad liked to zone out while driving for example. I knew I would get a tactless response to my idea or question if I asked while we were driving. But I could ask for anything while we were playing catch or anything active -- and get a thoughtful response. The time to ask my mom was almost exactly the opposite. 

The opposite of unfiltered is thoughtful. So if you have ever experienced some unfiltered responses from someone on your team, I have some suggestions. 

  1. Learn to have conversations that start with, "Can I share with you some feedback?" And ask questions like, "When I shared my project with you, I was...

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Who are you waiting to hear back from?

Most days, you're reaching out to people by phone and email. The problem is that you're getting voicemails...  or your emails are going unanswered. So how do we convene leaders and influencers if we don't get a response. 

Here are some tips for improving your correspondence with member, leaders and influencers.

  1. Be specific about the reason your correspondence is important. For example, "I'm calling you to see if you're interested in weighing in on the proposed city ordinance. 

  2. Give only the information needed to respond. For example, when you send an invoice for membership, don't send anything else... If you put a survey or verification form in there, you're sure to slow the response time. 

  3. Have a specific call to action and deadline. For example, "I'm meeting with the task force chair next Thursday so I will need your reply by Wednesday if you're interested in being heard on this issue." 

And take a look at what high performance expert Brendon...

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How can you really get to know your team?

Have you ever had a personality conflict with someone on your team? Maybe you've found yourself banging your head against the wall because of one little thing they do or don't do that drives you nuts? 

The problem is they don't see a conflict and they don't have the self-awareness to work through it... And maybe you don't either. 

Looking back on my chamber career, I can now see where I may have been frustrating some of my teammates because of my own lack of self awareness at the time. For example, when my CEO would ask me to lead a project, I had to work on it in my own time. I had no questions and I gave no updates and preferred to rely on no-one else to play a role. And before I started a big project I had to do a whole bunch of meaningless little projects before I could start the big one. Turns out, it's just how I'm wired. 

You can always tell when I'm about start something new because I clean out my email, I clean my house, I clean my garage and I start fixing...

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How can you prioritize the million things you have to do? 

If you want to be the  go-to organization in your business community, you've got to get  things done. The problem is your to-do list is growing faster than you can keep up. You need a system for prioritizing. Here's how you can prioritize like an army general and take command of the demands of your time and attention. 

Check out this handy tool called the Eisenhower Matrix, or the Urgent Important Matrix as it's often called. The Urgent Important Matrix shows you exactly how to prioritize your tasks. For example, tasks that aren't urgent or important shouldn't be done at all... delete it. If it's important but not urgent, you should decide when to do it and schedule it. If it's urgent but not important for you to do it, you can delegate it. And if it meets your criteria for both important and urgent, do it now. 

To build your own urgent-important matrix, follow these simple steps. 

  1. Get yourself a white board or a glass board. I like mine about thirty...

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What is your chamber against? 

Leadership is the art of moving so swiftly in one direction that no one has time to stand around and notice their differences. To lead swiftly, we need to clearly define what our organization is for and what it is against. 

There are examples all around us. In the original star wars, Luke and Leia were for the Rebels and against the Dark Side. Simple right? 

Take a look at the TV commercials any Saturday during football season and you'll see the All State Insurance commercials. All State is for saving you money and against Mayhem that happens in everyday life. 

So what is your chamber against? Unnecessary business regulations? Job crushing policies? CAVE people? and I don't mean people who live in caves... I mean CAVE - citizens against virtually everything.

The problem is it's hard to choose just one thing to be against. But if you take a look at the Map to Remembership, you'll quickly be reminded that you're not a membership organization. You're running four...

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You'll crash into what you look at

When you start to lose traction, you will crash into what you look at.

If you're on a racetrack and slide on a turn, you get to decide if you hit the wall or steer back into the center of the track. Either look at the center of the track or the wall and you will go in that direction. Tony Robbins told this story years ago.

The problem, as he described it, is that you don't know what you will do until you're in that situation. The lesson is to get uncomfortable from time to time. Test yourself. Get on the track. Train yourself to not look at the wall. There's only one outcome if you look at the wall.

I got on a different track 18 months ago. 12 months ago I put myself in an uncomfortable situation on the track. More on that later.

Chip Eichelberger has a poster in his shower called roles, goals, why. It lists all the roles he plays, the goals he has, and why he gets up in the morning.

I have mine on the bathroom mirror and in my office next to my desk. I see it when I enter my office...

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