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What's Happening in the Workplace

Boomers, Gen Xers, a few Traditionals and the newest addition to the workforce, Gen Z, are all affecting the way we do business. This week scary stats are focused on how these factors are shaping the world at work.

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Leaves Aren't the Only Things Changing

Its officially been autumn for over a week and that means its time for XYZ University’s annual scary stats campaign.

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Why They Quit: XYZ University Researches Millennial Turnover

Millennials are notorious for job-hopping. These young adults, ages 21-34 and also known as Generation Y, change jobs three times more often than other generations. In fact, 48% of Millennials are planning to leave their jobs within the next 24 months.

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3 Steps to Solving a Workforce Crisis

When Danny Hearn contacted XYZ University five years ago, two daunting issues loomed over industries throughout the region of Hickory, North Carolina: how to attract and engage Millennials, and how to solve for the aging workforce crisis and talent shortage.

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To Gen X, it was More than Purple Rain

The world is still reeling from the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, the multi-platinum-selling music legend who died on April 21. Prince was an influential artist in a recording career spanning 38 years, and his music became the soundtrack for Generation X (1965-1981) who grew up listening to his music.

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Swift Lessons in Millennial Marketing

There’s no doubt 2015 was the year of Taylor Swift. Building off the success of her 1989 album, Swift’s world tour generated over $4 million per show.

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Engaging the Modern Millennial Family at YMCA

For the past year, XYZ University has worked with the YMCA of the USA, surveying 5,250 Millennial members nationwide, presenting at YMCA conferences, and developing membership strategies and a Millennial membership-building toolkit to help Ys engage the membership of Millennial families.

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Super Bowl Ads Try to Woo Millennials

The sports fans will talk about the game, the music fans will talk about the halftime show, and the foodies will talk about the food they ate during the game. But we at XYZ University look at an event like Super Bowl 50 from an entirely different point of view — the generational one.

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The Most Unexpected Gift: Millennials

Close your eyes and think of the first word that appears when you hear “millennial.” Words likely to pop up are: entitled, self-absorbed, difficult, unengaged, or high-maintenance. Why do we criticize and avoid Millennials the way we avoid Aunt Matilda’s fruitcake?

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How Helicopter Parents Changed the Workforce

It’s back to school time, and as you prep your little darlings for another year of education, take some time to reflect on your own school experiences.

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Gen Z and Your Business: BFFs or Snapchat?

Just as companies are coming to terms with the wave of Gen Ys, another generation is creeping up behind them. Generation Z — the oldest who are turning 19 — are moving en masse into entry-level jobs, colleges, and internships. Born in the late 1990s and early 2000s they make up a quarter of the population and have little in common with their Gen Y predecessors. Here’s what you need to know about Z.

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Knowing Y in Holland

Generation Y. Millennials. Echo Boomers. Trophy Generation. Regardless of how you refer to them, organizations worldwide are really perplexed by the generation of young adults now moving into the majority of the workforce and consumer spending.

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The World's Aging Workforce and What Your Business Should do About It

Despite projected growth in the global population from 6.9 billion to 7.6 billion in 2020, the working-age population is expected to decline. In fact, aging will likely add 360 million older people (Baby Boomers) to the world’s pool of those not participating in the labor force.

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Rookie Talent: Avoiding a Kodak Moment

During most of the 20th century Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film, and in 1976, had an 89% market share of photographic film sales in the United States. Kodak began to struggle financially in the late 1990s as a result of the decline in sales of photographic film and its slowness in transitioning

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What Would Scrooge Do?: Planning For Workforce Future

Tis the season for the celebration of one year’s end and another year’s beginning. Amidst all the champagne and time spent with family and friends, I encourage you to ponder the future–but perhaps a little differently than usual. Most of us are familiar with the famous story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

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Culture And The Bottom Line: Why Burritos Are Outperforming The S&P 500

You can’t put a price on culture. Or can you? Danny Meyer is a renowned New York City restauranteur and the CEO and founder of Union Square Hospitality Group. He believes success in any business is based on culture. In 2009 Meyer appeared on Jim Cramer’s show Mad Money.

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Want To Ace The Interview? Strategies For Gen Y Job-Seekers

Did you know? One of the biggest complaints employers have about Generation Y (1982-1995) is that they’re not prepared for interviews, and many employers consider hiring Gen Ys a risk because they leave their jobs faster than other generations and they are difficult to manage.

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Scary Stats 2014: 10 Terrifying Workforce Truths

Brace yourself. This is scarier than any hairy spider, mean clown costume, or horror flick you could possibly see this Halloween. Last year, XYZ University sent out its Scary Stats debut, and it’s baaack and scarier than ever. We’re counting the stats down, working our way to the scariest stat of them all.

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The Tech Your Association Needs

The world is changing, your membership is changing and your association needs to make some changes too. Technology is not something limited to a single department anymore, it’s playing an important role in every member’s life. Tapping into the technology that members use will help you better connect, recruit and retain members.

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Online Communities And Member Retention

The only way way your association is going to be able to retain members is by making them feel connected to you and by providing them value. Why else would they pay membership dues? If they can have the same experience elsewhere, there’s nothing to keep them from going elsewhere.

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New Generations, New Opportunities

In the 1990s, REM wrote a popular song that exclaimed, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”I can’t think of a better explanation to describe what is happening in our world today.

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Generation X-Mas: Wonderful Life Falls From Favor

America has a new favorite Christmas movie. For the 11th year in a row, TBS aired its 24-hour Christmas Story movie marathon on December 24 and 25. TBS officials report most movie re-runs fade over time, but Christmas Story has continually risen in the ratings.

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A New Generation Of Socialites

On New Year’s Eve, my husband surprised me with dinner at one of the classiest restaurants in downtown Minneapolis. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to discover that most of the people eating there weren’t established couples enjoying a romantic evening, but rather boisterous groups of Gen Ys

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Xers, Ys Spur A Political Power Shift

I watched the televised coverage of the Iowa caucus with great interest, not only because I grew up in the state, but also from a generational perspective.

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Board Of Directors: Here To Stay Or Hopelessly Passé?

I met a colleague yesterday over coffee who specializes in board governance. We shared our experiences working with boards of directors, and both of us (as Xers) agreed the board concept has little to no appeal to our generation and the generation that follows.

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Start Marketing Like It's 2008

We’re eight years in to the 21st century. Can association marketing pros finally get with the times? If you’re frustrated with traditional marketing tactics that just don’t seem to resonate any longer, then consider these new strategies that target the importance of relationships with generations X and Y.Think for a moment how much the world has changed since the 1950s.

Read more

Boomers: Peace Or Pandemonium At Work?

Watch out below! Just when we thought the workplace was free from intolerance, today’s young professionals are bumping into age discrimination on their way to the top. For years we heard about women hitting their head on the metaphoric glass ceiling, never able to move higher on the ladder to success and get ahead of their male counterparts in the business world.

Read more

Marketing To X And Y: How To Reach The Next Generation Of Consumers

How do you reach an audience that can choose their own music without listening to a commercial radio station, can block outsiders from their social circle—which revolves around cell phones and online networks like Facebook and MySpace—and only refer to newspapers when they need packing material to move on to their next venue?

Read more

Back To School: Find Your Future Workforce Now

The job market was grim during the mid-1990s when I graduated from college. At my first job, I was barely making minimum wage working as a newspaper reporter. But after pounding the pavement for three months following graduation, I was extremely thankful just to have a job–especially a job in my field of interest.

Read more

Npr Feature: Looking Forward To Gen X Nostalgia

I was interviewed for a story on National Public Radio's Marketplace about nostalgia marketing and entertainment last week. Click on the link above to listen to the story, or read it below: KAI RYSSDAL: When we were younger, my brother was the first kid in our neighborhood who could solve a Rubik's Cube. That kind of dates me, I guess, because the thing first got really popular back in the late '70s, early '80s. But look around the next time you're in a toy store. Because Rubik's Cubes are back, as are a whole bunch of pop items from the past. Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll reports on the comeback economy.

Read more

The Dos And Don'ts Of Advertising To Generations X And Y

Generations X and Y are savvy and skeptical consumers. I know this as a fellow Xer and as the CEO of a generational marketing company. We are an elusive market and advertisers struggle desperately to reach us.Nevertheless, there are a few key tactics to keep in mind when selling a product or service to Xers and Ys: keep it real, be relevant, be creative, and tap into messages or ways to benefit us personally, professionally, and also benefit our communities.

Read more

Keeping The Faith: Xers, Ys Seek A New Way To Worship

Religion has made significant strides recently toward reaching younger audiences.Faithbook launched as the first interfaith page on the popular site Facebook in an effort to foster greater understanding among people of different religions.

Read more

Forget Getting Away From It All: X And Y Introduce New Travel Trends

Ah, summer. Here in Minnesota, summer is a highly anticipated event for the fun in the sun, barbeques, and the vacation time it brings.While most Xers remember camping during their youth or cross-country road trips with their relatives a la The Griswold’s in the movie Vacation, they don’t necessarily pine for the past.We have established new trends in travel, such as these:

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Age Doesn't Matter

It never fails. Wherever I go, whomever I’m speaking to, someone thinks Generations X and Y are a hopeless bunch of saps. Just recently I had a client tell me “those kids and their stupid iPods have no appreciation for anything great or meaningful in this world.” Ouch!

Read more

Banks Vs. Credit Unions: X And Y Less Loyal To Banks

A recent poll reverals that banks' most loyal customers are their oldest customers. While Generations X and Y are the retail banking customers of the future, the poll indicates they are also the least loyal and hardest to please.Why is this happening?

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Their Decision To Volunteer: How To Influence X And Y

Last week I spoke for two associations in Washington, D.C. – the National Fraternal Congress of America and General Federation of Women's Clubs. Both of these associations are concerned about their aging memberships.

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Economy Is In The Toilet But It's Good To Be X

The economy is in the toilet but it's a good time to be an Xer. Seriously, how often do we hear how hard we Xers have it? We've been called slackers since we were adolescents and even referred to as the Jan Brady generation because we're sandwiched between two such attention-seeking generations.

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Generations X And Y Rock The Vote

Throughout my generation-focused career, I have faced much critcism and cynicism regarding the power and influence of Generations X and Y. Most recently, I was questioned about the influence younger generations would have on the election.Some (who happened to be Baby Boomers) dismissed my statistics about rising registration rates and volunteer participation in the presidential campaign, saying that younger voters may be doing all the right things, but probably weren't going to actually show up at the polls and have their votes counted on Election Day.

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Economic Crisis Isn't New To Gen X

As we enter the second year of the U.S. financial economic crisis that started in August 2007 with the sub-prime lending meltdown, the impact on the economy and the average American has been devastating.

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Great Leadership Requires Plenty Of Practice

The mass exodus of Baby Boomers from the workplace has already begun. According to the US Office of Personnel Management, between 2006 and 2010 Boomer retirement will have robbed American companies of nearly 290,000 full-time experienced employees.

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View older posts →

New Generations, New Opportunities

In the 1990s, REM wrote a popular song that exclaimed, “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”I can’t think of a better explanation to describe what is happening in our world today.

Read more

A New Generation Of Socialites

On New Year’s Eve, my husband surprised me with dinner at one of the classiest restaurants in downtown Minneapolis. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to discover that most of the people eating there weren’t established couples enjoying a romantic evening, but rather boisterous groups of Gen Ys

Read more

Xers, Ys Spur A Political Power Shift

I watched the televised coverage of the Iowa caucus with great interest, not only because I grew up in the state, but also from a generational perspective.

Read more

Start Marketing Like It's 2008

We’re eight years in to the 21st century. Can association marketing pros finally get with the times? If you’re frustrated with traditional marketing tactics that just don’t seem to resonate any longer, then consider these new strategies that target the importance of relationships with generations X and Y.Think for a moment how much the world has changed since the 1950s.

Read more

Welcome To Parenthood: Managing Gen Y

I’ve read about it and listened to business executives gripe about it, but I’ve never experienced it myself until now.Yes, Virginia. There really is a Helicopter Parent.Like an urban myth or a mystical creature out of a fairy tale, it’s hard to believe they really do exist. But now I know for certain they do.What are helicopter parents? They are the parents of Gen Ys who are actively involved in their children’s careers.

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Boomers: Peace Or Pandemonium At Work?

Watch out below! Just when we thought the workplace was free from intolerance, today’s young professionals are bumping into age discrimination on their way to the top. For years we heard about women hitting their head on the metaphoric glass ceiling, never able to move higher on the ladder to success and get ahead of their male counterparts in the business world.

Read more

Recruiting The Latest, Greatest Talent

Let’s pretend for a moment that you are a talent agent sitting across the table from a very famous rock star. Let’s pretend it’s Elvis. Every talent agent out there wants to represent Elvis for obvious reasons—his records and concerts sell out within minutes, advertisers want him to endorse their products, and even Hollywood is calling him to make movies.

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Marketing To X And Y: How To Reach The Next Generation Of Consumers

How do you reach an audience that can choose their own music without listening to a commercial radio station, can block outsiders from their social circle—which revolves around cell phones and online networks like Facebook and MySpace—and only refer to newspapers when they need packing material to move on to their next venue?

Read more

Back To School: Find Your Future Workforce Now

The job market was grim during the mid-1990s when I graduated from college. At my first job, I was barely making minimum wage working as a newspaper reporter. But after pounding the pavement for three months following graduation, I was extremely thankful just to have a job–especially a job in my field of interest.

Read more

Npr Feature: Looking Forward To Gen X Nostalgia

I was interviewed for a story on National Public Radio's Marketplace about nostalgia marketing and entertainment last week. Click on the link above to listen to the story, or read it below: KAI RYSSDAL: When we were younger, my brother was the first kid in our neighborhood who could solve a Rubik's Cube. That kind of dates me, I guess, because the thing first got really popular back in the late '70s, early '80s. But look around the next time you're in a toy store. Because Rubik's Cubes are back, as are a whole bunch of pop items from the past. Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll reports on the comeback economy.

Read more

The Dos And Don'ts Of Advertising To Generations X And Y

Generations X and Y are savvy and skeptical consumers. I know this as a fellow Xer and as the CEO of a generational marketing company. We are an elusive market and advertisers struggle desperately to reach us.Nevertheless, there are a few key tactics to keep in mind when selling a product or service to Xers and Ys: keep it real, be relevant, be creative, and tap into messages or ways to benefit us personally, professionally, and also benefit our communities.

Read more

Keeping The Faith: Xers, Ys Seek A New Way To Worship

Religion has made significant strides recently toward reaching younger audiences.Faithbook launched as the first interfaith page on the popular site Facebook in an effort to foster greater understanding among people of different religions.

Read more

Forget Getting Away From It All: X And Y Introduce New Travel Trends

Ah, summer. Here in Minnesota, summer is a highly anticipated event for the fun in the sun, barbeques, and the vacation time it brings.While most Xers remember camping during their youth or cross-country road trips with their relatives a la The Griswold’s in the movie Vacation, they don’t necessarily pine for the past.We have established new trends in travel, such as these:

Read more

Age Doesn't Matter

It never fails. Wherever I go, whomever I’m speaking to, someone thinks Generations X and Y are a hopeless bunch of saps. Just recently I had a client tell me “those kids and their stupid iPods have no appreciation for anything great or meaningful in this world.” Ouch!

Read more

Speak Like A Y: The Latest, Youngest Lingo

Each generation has its own language. The Baby Boomers introduced the concept of cool and numerous variations of the word including fab, far out, groovy, hangin', hip, keen-o, nifty, and neat.

Read more

Banks Vs. Credit Unions: X And Y Less Loyal To Banks

A recent poll reverals that banks' most loyal customers are their oldest customers. While Generations X and Y are the retail banking customers of the future, the poll indicates they are also the least loyal and hardest to please.Why is this happening?

Read more

Read Between The Lines: More And Better Ways To Deliver The News

Take a look at any teen Web site and you’ll see that it takes a lot of bells and whistles to attract Generation Y—the age group that has always known the Internet, and the immediacy and interactivity that it has brought to publishing and the rest of our lives. Print publishers are already lagging in mindshare with this group.

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Election 2008: Will It Be Women Or Children First?

Several months back, when both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were campaigning for the Democratic nomination, I posed the question in this blog: Will it be women or children first?

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Their Decision To Volunteer: How To Influence X And Y

Last week I spoke for two associations in Washington, D.C. – the National Fraternal Congress of America and General Federation of Women's Clubs. Both of these associations are concerned about their aging memberships.

Read more

Is Small Town America Becoming Passé?

The impact that Generation Y, ages 13-25, will have on urban planning is already becoming apparent. I’ve read about and observed first-hand the many small agricultural communities reeling from massive population loss, and the mid-size industrial cities dealing with the same issue, as well as struggling with keeping crime under control and selling people on the notion that it is important to rebuild these cities’ urban cores.

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View older posts →

Boomers: Peace Or Pandemonium At Work?

Watch out below! Just when we thought the workplace was free from intolerance, today’s young professionals are bumping into age discrimination on their way to the top. For years we heard about women hitting their head on the metaphoric glass ceiling, never able to move higher on the ladder to success and get ahead of their male counterparts in the business world.

Read more

Marketing To X And Y: How To Reach The Next Generation Of Consumers

How do you reach an audience that can choose their own music without listening to a commercial radio station, can block outsiders from their social circle—which revolves around cell phones and online networks like Facebook and MySpace—and only refer to newspapers when they need packing material to move on to their next venue?

Read more

Age Doesn't Matter

It never fails. Wherever I go, whomever I’m speaking to, someone thinks Generations X and Y are a hopeless bunch of saps. Just recently I had a client tell me “those kids and their stupid iPods have no appreciation for anything great or meaningful in this world.” Ouch!

Read more

Generation Z: Young, Wired, Smart, And Sassy Consumers

Much attention has been given to Generations X and Y, the current teen and young adult population ranging in ages from 13 to 43, who entered the world with substantially different wants, needs, values, and interests than their Baby Boomer and older predecessors.

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Inauguration Symbolizes The End Of The Boomer Era

Generational change. A passing of the torch. A recent Associated Press article points out these terms have been thrown around with frequency as the moment nears for Barack Obama to take the oath of presidential office.

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Limelight Aligns With Monarch To Help Companies Leverage Their Talent

I am pleased to announce that Limelight Generations has formed an alliance with Monarch Leadership. Our companies share a common mission to help organizations grow and bridge the talent gap through the development of their emerging, young leaders.

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A Gen Yer Joins The Conversation.

My name is Katie Konrath and I'm a member of Generation Y. Since Sarah is going to be launching some very interesting new initiatives in the next couple months, I'm here to lend her a hand.

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Downsizing With Dignity – And Perks!

In November 2008, the Victaulic pipe plant laid off nearly 260 workers. After the workers were laid off, the United Steelworkers union applied for special unemployment benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor, citing that the company produces products that also are imported from other countries. The benefits will give the workers up to two years of unemployment pay and re-training.Unfortunately, not every company is eligible for benefits that will allow laid-off workers access to re-training or other valuable perks. But perhaps it’s time for companies to consider offering ‘perk packages’ for laid-off workers.

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Newspapers Suffering From Generational Divide

As a former newspaper reporter and editor, I am observing with great interest the closure of city newspapers. Last week, the 146-year-old Seattle Post Intelligencer published its last print issue to become an exclusive on-line publisher–a move that left the Seattle Times the only major daily in that city.

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Your Bridge To Access

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The Entrepreneur In Your (Parents') Basement

We all know one. You know, the recent (or not so recent) college grad living in his or her parents’ basement. Maybe it’s your cousin with the philosophy degree and $50,000 dollars of debt. Maybe it’s your next-door neighbor’s kid with the MBA who works at the mall. They may be victims of the economy waiting for their big break. Or they may be entrepreneurs in the basement taking charge of their own fate.

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Generations Working Together For A Change

In my work with generations, I’ve heard so much about how employers fear change, even loath change. Well, maybe they haven’t described it in exactly those terms, but when employers say things like: “Why do these younger employees expect praise just for showing up?,” or “We can’t have people working from home because we don’t know that they are actually working,” and “Do I really have to tweet?” — they are really voicing their opposition to change.

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Post 9-11 Generation Gets An Introduction To Osama Bin Laden

On September 11, 2001, shortly after I walked into work in downtown Minneapolis my boss made an annoucement: terrorists have attacked The World Trade Center in New York City. I clearly remember her telling us to leave work immediately.

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The Big Global Crack Up: Generational Shift Causes Economic And Political Shake-Down

Remember when associations and other membership organizations, like Rotary and chambers of commerce, enjoyed a lock on their markets? The Baby Boomers joined associations in droves. Now, participation is changing, fueled by social changes, generational shifts, a recession-prone economy, and rapidly-changing technology.

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Which Generation Works The Hardest?

Last week I spoke at a corporate event where younger generations were getting a tongue-lashing from their Baby Boomer counterparts. The Boomers were scolding Generation Y for needing constant feedback, being unable to prioritize, and wanting to have (gasp!) fun at work.

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Prolonged Retirements Could Become America's Worst Nightmare

In November, Wells Fargo released the results of its seventh annual Retirement Survey which found for many middle class Americans, 80 is the new 65 when it comes to retirement. According to the survey, a quarter (25%) of middle class Americans say they will need to work until at least age 80 to live comfortably in retirement. Three-fourths (74%) expect to work in their retirement years.

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Workplace Evolution: Flexibility For All Generations

Remember when doctors smoked at the office? You don’t have to watch Mad Men to appreciate how much the workplace has evolved in the last 50 years. Right now we have three generations–Boomers, Gen X and Millenials–in the workforce with varying needs and expectations, and things are changing.

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Is Your Industry Aging Out?

FACT: In the wake of the Great Recession, some Baby Boomers are delaying retirement, hoping that a few extra years of work will help them replenish nest eggs devastated by the economic downturn.

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Thou Shall Not Eat And Tweet At The Same Time: Resolving Generational Conflicts

With four generations in the workplace, compromise is becoming a necessity. But that’s easier said than done. It’s so much easier to point fingers, place blame, and criticize, isn’t it?

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2012: An Election Of Generations

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you really can’t overlook the fact that the topic of generations has dominated much of the political campaign dialogue.

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Agc Uses Viral Video To Reach Audience

I didn't get this posted in time for Halloween, but I wanted to share this very creative video created by Associated General Contractors to promote the association's upcoming conference. I have been working with this organization for the past few months, as AGC has observed an aging membership–and industry–and panic about the future has inevitably set in.

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The End Of Membership As We Know It

What goes up must come down. For years our society has supported membership associations and nonprofits and civic leadership. These organizations and concepts were especially prosperous in the mid-1900s.

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Association Demographic Trends For 2012 (And What To Do About Them)

Association TRENDS released a snapshot of the current demographic state of associations at the beginning of February 2012. Comparing data from the 2011 and 2012 National Trade and Professional Association directories, Association TRENDS found significant changes in associations by industry as well as an increase in association headquarters across the majority of the United States. When it came to association leadership at the executive level, the change was less significant. Take a look at the break-down of information below. Does the information seem to jive with your own association demographics?

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Create Must-Have Value With Membership Marketing

Membership marketing–the process of acquiring, engaging and retaining members–is the cornerstone for associations. It’s also a very challenging task. Now is the time to think about your goals and what you want–what you need–your association to look like in the coming years. Will you be able to sustain your current membership goals? Do you need support in attracting a younger demographic or engaging Gen X and Gen Y as your Boomers move on and enter retirement?

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5 Steps For Continued Association Growth In A Changing Market

For most associations, 1946 to 2000 were standout years. With the active support of the baby boomers–the largest generation in American history–membership associations thrived. Yet, as the saying goes, what goes up must come down.

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Creating Positive Culture For Your Association

Culture is not some inanimate object to scoff at or neglect. Fueled by economic decline, rapidly changing technology, and demographic shifts, culture is more powerful than ever.

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Is Your Association’s Culture Helping Or Hurting Member Recruitment And Retention?

As an association executive, you may have the power to change your association’s mission with the stroke of a pen. And you may have the ability to hire, fire, promote and demote people with relatively little effort.

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4 Membership Marketing Trends Your Association Can't Afford To Miss

In a time where a new social media platform seems to explode every month, and business professionals spend more time on their smartphones than on their desktop computers, associations need to step up their game if they plan on being top contenders for membership.

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Recognizing Membership Success: Examples From Ontario Library Association

In September 2011, I had the pleasure of meeting Beckie MacDonald, M.L.I.S at the CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) National Conference & Tradeshow in Saskatoon, SK.

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5 Simple Steps To Engage Members With Video

In January 2011, Newsweek came up with a list American Dying Cities , subtitled “Cities with bleak futures ahead.” Leading off that list at number 10 was Grand Rapids, Michigan. Grand Rapids native and indie film producer Rob Bliss and his friend raised $40,000 to make a video saying otherwise. The video, seen below, racked up over 1.3 million hits within its first week of being posted.

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Why Your Association Needs A Mobile Marketing Strategy

If your association is looking for innovative ways to connect with members and engage new audiences, mobile marketing–or mobile in general–needs to be seriously considered. Not only is mobile marketing one of the hottest topics amongst marketing strategists, (some say mobile is going to be bigger than the TV, radio and computer–combined), it is a great way to facilitate engagement and convert more users to membership within your organization.

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Effective Associations: Make Yours Hit The Mark

I’ve spent a lot of time working with association leaders and I’ve come to know what works and what doesn’t in order to grow membership and sustain organizations. The effective associations of 10 years ago are not the same today. Today, members are fast-paced, driven and they want information and access to exclusive information now.

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Your Mission Statement Stinks

Quick! What’s your organization’s mission statement? Don’t have the mission memorized? Do your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of it? Then perhaps your organization isn’t on a worthwhile mission

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Training For Association Professionals: New Asae Certificate Program In Association Management

In 1998 I started my first job in association management as a meeting planner for a start-up association management company. At the time there were only four employees, so I had to quickly learn not only what a meeting planner’s role was in the association management industry, but I had to learn the ins and outs of everything a good association manager would need to know because with a small staff you inevitably ended up filling all roles at some point in time.

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5 Must-Have Strategies For Successful Membership Recruitment

Ever feel like you’re reacting to low membership numbers rather than working through an established, proactive plan to recruit and retain your members? Do you know why you do the things you do as they pertain to reaching out to new members for your association?

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The New Era Of Member Recruitment: Listening And Adaptation

Fighting for members. It is a common theme that every association is facing in this day and age. Having had a 26 year career in the association industry, I can tell you that finding members is really not a new a subject to the industry.

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Members Won't Tell You, But Your Data Will

I work at an association and understand the value they offer. So when I get into a hobby I look for associations that may be helpful. My current obsession is family history research so I joined a local family history society. I’m in my 30s and work full-time during the day. That means exactly this: I’m not their typical member.

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Thank You To Our Advocates

This month, we’ve been talking about advocacy as it relates to membership associations, specifically from a political standpoint. Engaging your audiences at all levels is important in any organization and, in the spirit of advocacy and the month of Thanksgiving, we’d like to take a moment to thank all the wonderful advocates of XYZ University.

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Advocacy And Your Association: A Lost Cause?

With all the recent posts about associations and the struggle with advocacy, you might be wondering if it’s a lost cause for your association. Associations expend a lot of time, energy and resources on advocacy efforts. There’s no reason to keep taking punches if the fight is over–don’t make the ref call it. Maybe it isn’t over, but if you want to stay in the fight, you’ll need a new strategy.

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The Battle For Relevance: Stick To Your Mission And Engage The Next Generation Of Leaders

Your members are with you because you have fulfilled an expectation for them and can provide them with something valuable they feel paying membership is worth. It probably had something to do with your mission. At least it did. Are you happy with your new member recruitment? If not, you need to consider relevance.

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Work Ethic: Lost Cause For Millenials?

You aren’t even sure you want to hire those lazy Millennials, so why should you worry about keeping them productive? Well, Millenials are going to be 75% of the workforce by 2025. So, the truth is, if you aren’t recruiting and engaging with Gen Y, you won’t have to worry about keeping them at all. And that will be an even bigger problem for you.

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Generation Screwed: Will You Help The Millennials?

As part of the Millennial generation, we make up a quarter of America’s population. Many of us are pursuing higher education in fields that our parents never knew existed. Being that we are the most educated generation in history, it’s safe to say we should be creating our own milestones.

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Recognition 3.0: New Rules For Making Millennials Feel Like They Matter

The Millennials (a.k.a. Generation Y, Digital Natives and Echo Boomers) have arrived with a very different work agenda than preceding generations. Prepared to stay with their employer for 2-5 years, their average tenure is only 1.5 years according to the Department of Labor. With 75 million Millenials entering the workforce, employers must understand this disconnect and close the gap if they want to attract, retain and encourage better performance from Gen Y employees.

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Association Email Marketing: Millennials And Member Engagement

In the world of online marketing, two statistics tell you a lot about the effectiveness of an email: the percentage of recipients who open it, and the percentage of those who click through to explore at least one of the links.

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Why Your Company Needs Millennials And How To Keep Them

In fewer than 10 years, nearly half the working population will be Millennials (born between 1982 and 1995). If you think your organization will be able to get along without them, you aren’t being realistic. Even if you know you need Generation Y, do you know who they are?

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Creating Loyalty: What Works With Millennials

Being a Gen Y, I can personally attest to my generation’s dislike of being sold to. I dislike sales so much I chose a career path to avoid it! If the only way I can purchase something is by forcefully spending my precious time with a gym membership or car salesmen, I am immediately turned off from the company.

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Attract Millennials With Your Good Cause

Millennials want to make the world a better place. They even eat with a social conscience. A recent poll shows that a majority of people under the age of 30 want to do that by volunteering for charities or organizations.

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Will A Shift In The Economy Trigger A Shift In Millennial Values?

Events a generation lives through certainly affect that generation’s values. Events like wars, high-profile criminal cases, hostage crisis, environmental disasters, recessions. Oh, and good things too, I suppose, but my Gen X is showing (I’m on the cusp) and I can only think of disastrous stuff.

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We Can’t All Blame Ourselves: Why Millennials Need To Pull Their Own Weight

I was part of a recent conversation at a book club where we debated whether or not society gives too many “passes” to Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1995). You know, customizing everything for their needs rather than having them work for it “like we had to do” and changing the whole structure of workplaces based on their needs (yes, very “back-in-my-day” type of a conversation, I know)

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Millennials And Brand Loyalty

Adroit Digital recently published a report detailing how Millennials view and adopt brand loyalty. They surveyed 2,000 U.S. Millennials (in this particular survey classified as between the ages of 18 and 33 years old) who own both a smartphone and a personal computer. What they found can help you better your strategy for connecting with Millennials. To help you out, we’ve created the following infographic from some of the survey results:

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Rookie Talent: Avoiding a Kodak Moment

During most of the 20th century Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film, and in 1976, had an 89% market share of photographic film sales in the United States. Kodak began to struggle financially in the late 1990s as a result of the decline in sales of photographic film and its slowness in transitioning

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A Closer Look at Associations

At XYZ University, we’ve spent a lot of time with association professionals over the years and we know how important these organizations are. This week, we’re taking a closer look at scary stats about associations.

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The Most Unexpected Gift: Millennials

Close your eyes and think of the first word that appears when you hear “millennial.” Words likely to pop up are: entitled, self-absorbed, difficult, unengaged, or high-maintenance. Why do we criticize and avoid Millennials the way we avoid Aunt Matilda’s fruitcake?

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Super Bowl Ads Try to Woo Millennials

The sports fans will talk about the game, the music fans will talk about the halftime show, and the foodies will talk about the food they ate during the game. But we at XYZ University look at an event like Super Bowl 50 from an entirely different point of view — the generational one.

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Engaging the Modern Millennial Family at YMCA

For the past year, XYZ University has worked with the YMCA of the USA, surveying 5,250 Millennial members nationwide, presenting at YMCA conferences, and developing membership strategies and a Millennial membership-building toolkit to help Ys engage the membership of Millennial families.

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Swift Lessons in Millennial Marketing

There’s no doubt 2015 was the year of Taylor Swift. Building off the success of her 1989 album, Swift’s world tour generated over $4 million per show.

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Why They Quit: XYZ University Researches Millennial Turnover

Millennials are notorious for job-hopping. These young adults, ages 21-34 and also known as Generation Y, change jobs three times more often than other generations. In fact, 48% of Millennials are planning to leave their jobs within the next 24 months.

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Forget About Top-Down: Your Succession Plan Includes Everyone

Are your leaders about to retire? Are you prepared to deal with it? For a smooth transition, you need to know where your company’s next generation of leaders will come from before you need them.

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5 Keys For Building A Solid Succession Plan

Succession planning is good for the health of your organization. It ensures you are prepared to fill vital roles in your organization should people leave unexpectedly or otherwise, and it engages and helps retain your best employees.

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Get Your Succession Plan Up To Speed

Succession planning is a lot like getting exercise. You don’t just do it once and call it done. It’s something that needs to be revisited regularly to keep you healthy. Succession planning, like exercise, also seems to fall into the category of something everyone knows they should do but no one actually does. But you want your organization to be healthy, so let’s get your succession plans up to speed. We say “speed” because it needs to move.

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Trends In Succession Planning

Your employees are an extremely valuable asset to your organization. Investing time into mentoring, training and giving them stretch assignments to build their leadership skills will pay off for your organization when it comes time to filling upper-level positions down the road.

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Corporate Leadership Development Must Include Generation Y

We already know Gen Y (born between 1982 and 1995) is technologically savvy, uses social media to stay connected, and are the most well informed generation of all time; however, is it possible for them to become great leaders? Yes, it is!

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Our Workforce: The Scary Truth And A Treat For You

It’s coming, and it’s bigger than Y2K and that asteroid NASA says “could” hit the earth in 2032. This is real, and you need to prepare; it’s going to change the way you, and everyone else, works. There will be no near-misses or “oops we were wrong”, and you’ll need to do more than buy a backup generator and bury your gold to get ready for the changes coming, so listen up; we’re talking about your workforce. We’re talking about the workforce crisis.

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Could You Work For Your Kid?

In 2011, this blog featured an article that posed the question: Would you hire your own kid? And now, just three years later, the question has become: Could you work for your kid or someone your kid’s age? What on earth happened between 2011 and 2014? And how on earth is it possible for someone who is 50-something to be managed by someone who is 20-something?

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Are You Ready For The Talent Shift? 3 Ways To Develop Leaders For 2014

Companies invest millions of dollars in developing employees at all levels of the organization from the senior executives to the entry level employees straight out of school. The real challenge that all companies are facing is building ‘the bench’ and preparing for the greatest shift in human capital of our time.

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How To Develop A Succession Plan In 6 Steps

If you want to protect your organization’s future, you need to develop a succession plan. With the flood of Baby Boomers retiring, succession planning now is critical to future success.

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Succession Planning Tips From The Family Business

Family owned and operated for (insert impressive number of) years certainly has an appealing ring to it. Business owners who’ve worked hard to develop and maintain a healthy organization want to see that business continue to strive when turned over to the relative successor.

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Scary Stats 2014: 10 Terrifying Workforce Truths

Brace yourself. This is scarier than any hairy spider, mean clown costume, or horror flick you could possibly see this Halloween. Last year, XYZ University sent out its Scary Stats debut, and it’s baaack and scarier than ever. We’re counting the stats down, working our way to the scariest stat of them all.

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What Would Scrooge Do?: Planning For Workforce Future

Tis the season for the celebration of one year’s end and another year’s beginning. Amidst all the champagne and time spent with family and friends, I encourage you to ponder the future–but perhaps a little differently than usual. Most of us are familiar with the famous story by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

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The World's Aging Workforce and What Your Business Should do About It

Despite projected growth in the global population from 6.9 billion to 7.6 billion in 2020, the working-age population is expected to decline. In fact, aging will likely add 360 million older people (Baby Boomers) to the world’s pool of those not participating in the labor force.

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The Most Unexpected Gift: Millennials

Close your eyes and think of the first word that appears when you hear “millennial.” Words likely to pop up are: entitled, self-absorbed, difficult, unengaged, or high-maintenance. Why do we criticize and avoid Millennials the way we avoid Aunt Matilda’s fruitcake?

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3 Steps to Solving a Workforce Crisis

When Danny Hearn contacted XYZ University five years ago, two daunting issues loomed over industries throughout the region of Hickory, North Carolina: how to attract and engage Millennials, and how to solve for the aging workforce crisis and talent shortage.

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Is Talent The Same As Tenure?

Last week, I gave presentations to two very different audiences — technical recruiters and energy providers — yet, the questions were the same. Why worry about recruiting and retaining Generations X and Y? What could younger generations possibly offer that a more experienced, dedicated worker could not, especially in the midst of economc crisis?

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Changes In Technology Mean Changes In Policy

While in a meeting with my boss I noticed she seemed a bit stressed. I asked if she had a lot on her plate this week. She said that she did and maybe there was a way I could help.

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A Talent Management Nightmare: 42 Percent Of Employees Don't Trust The Boss

I read with great interest a recent blog posted by Talent Management magazine. While the blog's headline mentions 42 percent of employees don't feel their employers are looking out for their best interests (as evidenced by a fall 2009 TalentScope study of some 50,000), the article goes on to quickly dismiss this data (in the first paragraph!) suggesting it is likely 50 to 60 percent or more.

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Talent Troubles Back-Burnered In Recession Are Heating Up

Does your company have the right talent? The blunt answer is — not likely. I read with great interest an article in Harvard Business Review summarizing the Talent Management Strategies Conference which took place in March. According to the author, experts from companies such as Cisco, Gap, Toyota, Wal-Mart and Oracle gathered to share perspectives at the conference.

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It's 2010: Do You Know Where Your Employees/Clients/Members/Volunteers Are?

I continue to be amazed by how many organizations I work with who either do not use or do not value social media. They refer to social media as a tiresome chore (Do we really have to be on Facebook?) and consider it a silly pastime (I don't want my employees chatting with their friends all day!).

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Curb Your Employees' Enthusiasm To Leave

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow morning, walked into work, and half of the employees weren’t there? The desks were empty, the halls were quiet, and you find yourself panicking when you come to the realization that half the workforce has resigned.

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Trends In Work Culture: Make Yours Work For Less

You can probably think of a few companies with really great work culture. It’s easy because people are talking about them. Creating a unique and positive work culture goes a long way in recruiting and keeping employees, engaged, productive and likely to stick around for years. Bottom line, your organization will be more successful.

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5 Steps For Continued Association Growth In A Changing Market

For most associations, 1946 to 2000 were standout years. With the active support of the baby boomers–the largest generation in American history–membership associations thrived. Yet, as the saying goes, what goes up must come down.

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Going Rowe: What You Need To Know About Results Only Workplace Environments

Ever wasted time at work trying to look busy while counting the hours until you could head out the door? Ever wondered how to engage and empower your workforce while simultaneously providing them a perfect work/life balance and getting the most productivity? If you answered yes to either of those questions, the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) is for you.

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Engage Employees With Organizational Democracy

WorldBlu added its first Minnesota company to their prestigious list of most democratic workplaces. Because I live and work in Minnesota; this is exciting news for me.

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Sustain Your Organization Through Employee Mentorship

Your organization is unique. You are successful because there is something different about what you do and how you do it. Now, how can you best communicate that to your next generation of leaders?

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Volunteer Food For Thought: Shape Opportunities For All Ages In Your Organization

When I was in middle school the thought of volunteering for any school activities where I could spend time with my best friends and twin sister made me want to jump up and down with joy. As I entered high school, those same feelings of excitement were still there – and encouraged by teachers and peers in grades older than me. Seeing upper-classmen volunteer in organizations both in school and around the community made volunteering the “cool” thing to do. I kept those same thoughts in mind as I attended college and joined several organizations at the University of Texas here in Austin, and I am today, at the age of 30, still active in several organizations around the community.

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Kick Your Organization's Old Habits: Tips For Creating A Better Work Culture

Your organization is doing what it does because it’s always worked for you; or has it? It’s time to look to the future instead of putting too much stock in the past. Your old habits might actually be holding you back. Kick ’em to the curb and develop a future work culture that will sustain your organization and grow future talent.

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Your Mission Statement Stinks

Quick! What’s your organization’s mission statement? Don’t have the mission memorized? Do your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of it? Then perhaps your organization isn’t on a worthwhile mission

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Recruiting Young Talent: Examples Of Successful Student Association Chapters

You can’t expect Gen Y to graduate college and magically realize the benefits of professional organizations. I’ve been out of college for nearly 10 years and have only just joined my first professional organization, and only after being told repeatedly that I should.

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Online Events And Video: No Longer A Question For Associations

We’ve all been there… miles away from our loved ones feeling tired, stressed, and desperately wishing they were by our side. Not that long ago, voices of a parent, friend or child through the phone were as close as we could get to their touch.

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Training Our New Leaders

They might be working at Starbucks now, but pretty soon, Gen Y will be leading your company. Right now, Baby Boomers are retiring quickly; as a result, Gen Y is getting increased responsibility much earlier in their careers. Preparing Gen Y to lead is essential to the success of your organization.

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Who's Responsible For Career Development?

Millennials aren’t just looking for jobs; they’re looking for careers that are always evolving. Employers are looking for talented young employees who are willing to stick around more than a couple years. These two things are not mutually exclusive. If Gen Y wants to make a career and employers are looking for commitment, why are they having such a hard time syncing up?

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Associations And Social Media: Join In, Let Go Of Control

If your association isn’t communicating via social media, you’re missing out. Social media is a trend of the past; by now, your competition is already using it. You need to catch up.

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It's 2013: Change Or Die

It’s the third week of January. How are those resolutions working for you? If your New Year’s Resolutions fell by the wayside a few minutes after midnight on January 1, you are not alone.

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Gen Z Has Arrived: Get To Know Them

They are competitive, passionate, connected and they are here. Although the largest percentage of Generation Z (1996-2009) isn’t old enough to drive yet, they do have a growing influence over businesses. Gen Z is influencing their parents’ purchases, making their own purchases, and entering the workforce. It is time for businesses to start paying attention to them.

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Come See Us At #Asae14!

We are gearing up for a fun-filled weekend of networking with association professionals as part of the ASAE Annual Meeting and Expo in Nashville, August 9-12. We’re so excited that we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at some of the great reasons to come visit XYZ University at this year’s event (Booth #1713). Don’t miss it!

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Knowing Y in Holland

Generation Y. Millennials. Echo Boomers. Trophy Generation. Regardless of how you refer to them, organizations worldwide are really perplexed by the generation of young adults now moving into the majority of the workforce and consumer spending.

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Diversifying Your Association's Membership: Know The Answers Before You Begin

These days, many associations are looking to diversify their membership in order to survive. Diversification into additional markets outside your association’s original industry may provide some advantages—increased revenue from membership dues, additional outreach into other communities, increased sponsorship or exhibitor revenue opportunities—but also bring about the “cons.”

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Women Were Raised To Be Nice. So What?

It’s been said that men view business as a sport and women view business as a picnic. In other words, men want to win while women want to make sure everyone has a sandwich and a good time. As you may have noticed, women have been repeatedly bashed for this, as if “playing nice” were a pathetic and career-limiting move.

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The World Will Be Saved By The Western Woman

When the Dalai Lama famously spoke those words, he prefaced them with a warning that “some people may call me a feminist.” (As if that were a bad thing.) Still, what the D.L. meant is that women inherently bring a greater focus on nurturing and connection – i.e. love – which is the cure for the wounds of our time.

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Recruiting Members: Reach Them Where They Are

I recently learned that a Baby Boomer turns 65 years of age every 7 seconds in the United States. Up until now, Baby Boomers have been the majority and been able to successfully provide associations with a continuous pipeline of members.

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Leverage Your Assets: Stem The Tide Of Declining Membership

The staff and volunteer leadership of today’s professional associations are faced with two related realities. One, Generation Y is on the cusp of taking over from the Boomers as the most significant cohort in the economy, making them the future of membership. And, two, there has been a slow and steady decline in the membership of many professional associations, with this decline disproportionately concentrated in professionals in the first 10 years of their career.

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Happy Together: The Value Gen X And Y Bring To Your Association

Last time we were together, we discussed the disconnect between Baby Boomer centric Associations and Gen X and Gen Y membership recruits. Mainly, X and Y are not joining Baby Boomer centric associations.

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Creating Loyalty: What Works With Millennials

Being a Gen Y, I can personally attest to my generation’s dislike of being sold to. I dislike sales so much I chose a career path to avoid it! If the only way I can purchase something is by forcefully spending my precious time with a gym membership or car salesmen, I am immediately turned off from the company.

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New Ideas For Old Meetings

It’s a new day in the association meetings industry. For the most part, gone are the 5-day gatherings, full-day presentations and lecture-only sessions. Replacing them are shorter meetings, shorter sessions within a conference, and participatory lectures.

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Is Your Website Bringing Your Members Closer Or Pushing Them Away?

Your website is more than just the voice of your membership association. If you’re not using your site to bring your members closer, you’re probably pushing them away from your organization and from each other. One of the reasons people join member-based organizations to be a part of a community, so it’s your job to make sure your community meets their needs.

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Gen Y Is Simple

Engaging Gen Y (i.e. Millennials) is one of the hottest topics in Corporate America. From Google to Amazon, engaging Gen Y seems to be the permanent wallpaper of choice. And if you’re like most, the amount of information to sift through can be overwhelming and often times frustrating for Xers and Boomers alike. So listen up, I’ve got great news, Gen Y is not as complicated as everyone thinks. They’re an amazingly brilliant generation, and their basic needs within organizations are pretty simple and straightforward: Talk with me, respect me, and help me grow.

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Segmentation Recommendations For Membership Associations

I belong to a few membership-based organizations and nothing frustrates me more than getting too many emails from them. Often, they are about information, products or services that I am not interested in, or their timing between departments is way off, and I end up getting multiple emails in one day.

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What’s Your Point?

Whether you are trying to recruit an employee, or a member to your association, you likely have a lot to say in a short amount of time. You need to have a relevant “elevator pitch” that does not sound canned, or like you are reading a brochure. And, it needs to be consistent across various methods; whether it is online, or whether you are speaking to someone by phone, face-to-face, etc.

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The State Of Social Media In Associations And What To Do About It

We hear over and over again that associations are struggling to recruit, retain and engage young members in their organizations. And, according to Marketing General’s 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, 74% of responding associations indicated that increasing member engagement is a top membership goal. Yet, according to the report, among the top three reasons cited for members not renewing is lack of engagement with the organization.

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7 Ways To Engage Gen Y With Your Association

As XYZ University CEO Sarah Sladek said in her recent whitepaper “Engaging Young Generations,“: If we fail to engage Generation Y, we prepare to fail.

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Corporate Leadership Development Must Include Generation Y

We already know Gen Y (born between 1982 and 1995) is technologically savvy, uses social media to stay connected, and are the most well informed generation of all time; however, is it possible for them to become great leaders? Yes, it is!

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Young Staff, Big Results

I recently transitioned from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association to the young and energetic team at the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. After 20+ years of Baby Boomer generation leadership, a 30-something Matt Gruhn took the reins at MRAA in 2011. Since then, membership has grown 188%! Prior to his leadership at MRAA, Matt played a crucial role in reviving the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo (MDCE). Under his direction, participation grew from 97 in 2007 to more than 1,000 in 2012 and we expect continued growth this year.

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Associations Are Going Mobile. Really?

For the purposes of this post, I’m defining “the mobile web” with a focus specifically on an association’s provision of and members’ use of web content made available via a mobile smartphone and/or tablet devices.

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5 Ways To Engage Your Association’s Members

XYZ University has defined member engagement as the emotional commitment the member has to the association and its mission. As such, many association executives pose the question: “How do I engage my members in a meaningful way?” The following are five ways (that are relatively inexpensive and not overly time-consuming) to engage your association’s members:

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How To Get Your Association Members Excited About Advocacy

Often, advocacy is touted as a benefit of joining an association. Yet, many association members find every reason in the world not to get involved.

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Onboarding Gen Y College Grads: Channeling New Values, Energy, Enthusiasm

Today’s typical Gen Y college grad yearns to make a difference in your business and beyond. How will you embrace, nurture and channel their confidence, energy, enthusiasm and academic achievement into helping them achieve your goals and theirs? Commencement speeches reflect a generational evolution in values over the past 40 years.

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