5 Books to Inspire Leadership and Innovation

5 Books to Inspire Leadership and Innovation

In the spirit of today being World Book Day, we have compiled a list of some of our staff’s top book recommendations for e-learning leaders. These books fulfill different needs in our lives, whether it is to inspire or inform.

Through reading, we can learn skills, adopt new perspectives, and experience personal growth. Books embody themes that translate to our everyday lives, and additionally, convey new ways of thinking that can strengthen organizations. The five books we listed provide core strategies for empowering leadership and inspiring innovation.

I hope you enjoy our recommendations and learn something new!

CP Recommended Reads:

Competitive Advantage – Tracy King, CAE

In her debut book, Tracy highlights common mistakes associations make with their learning programs, and also provides a strategy that will take your association to the next level.

 

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute

Is your leadership style effective? Are you inspiring those around you? This book forces an interpersonal examination to combat self-deception and encourage an environment of trust, teamwork, and enthusiasm.

 

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs is an icon and an inspiration whose drive for perfection revolutionized the technology sector with an emphasis on user experience. His life and work are a source of inspiration for not just those in the technology sector, but also those who aspire to pursue innovation, push boundaries, and lead a purpose-driven life.

 

Mastering Leadership – Robert Anderson and William Adams

Unlike other leadership books, this one provides a comprehensive model for leadership development, not just for yourself, but for the entire organization. By recognizing leadership is a collective effort, the authors outline strategies to become a mindful leader who can drive personal growth within the entire organization.

 

Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug

For those who work in web design, this book is a must-read for developing a common sense approach to web design and functionality. The author argues good web design begins with understanding the instincts of the user and should be so simple that users barely need to think to operate it. This is an excellent book to encourage approaching design in new ways.

10 Takeaways from CP’s Peak Bootcamp

10 Takeaways from CP’s Peak Bootcamp

1. Community Starts With Trust

To kick off Peak Bootcamp our keynote speaker, KiKi L’Italien, discussed the importance of community. Who is your community? What are some shared experiences or interests that bring your community together and create a purpose for them to engage and interact with one another?  

These are a few questions to ask yourself and your team to help develop a clear concept for the best approach to building a strong community. Take the time to understand your members and peers. By doing this, you are quickly showing them that they can have trust in you and your organization. KiKi’s keynote presentation really dove deep into how to build a core community and ways to incorporate virtual elements that allow you to extend your reach to every person that belongs regardless of location.

2. A Good Partner and Strong Communication Goes a Long Way

During Peak’s Devil in the Details session, the team from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) shared that their key to putting on successful virtual events consists of a good partner and seamless communication from beginning to end.  Building a strong event communication plan allows all key players to have clear expectations of their tasks from all sides of the event planning process and in return, increases productivity leading to a successful outcome.

3. You Have to Consider the Production But Don’t Forget the Function

Before you consider the production of your virtual event, you have to think about some key factors. This is where inspiration, learning, and training come into play. When planning an event it’s crucial to consider the inspiration. By doing this you are creating a learning opportunity that brings together a core purpose that is relevant to your audience and makes the remote learner feel like they are onsite with the speaker. Other things to consider are using best practices that can help your audience and think of specific ways that add to the training that they are receiving by including a credit or social opportunities. 

4. It’s Okay to Step Outside Your (virtual) Comfort Zone

Don’t be afraid to take risks, even if they include stepping outside of your organization’s niche focus. Today, sharing relevant thought leadership ideas that pertain to topics such as culture, diversity, and inclusion may not be relevant to your association, but they are relevant to the lives of your members. As we spoke with Tonya Muse, Executive Director at the Council of Manufacturing Association (CMA), she discussed their decision to take a risk by planning a session based around social bias within the association community.

5. Literally, the Devil is in the Details

No detail is too small and what is common sense to one may not be to another. It is important to think through every detail, including contingency plans, and to relay all relevant information to the key players. You may not think you need to tell a keynote speaker what to wear, but if your event is going for a certain look, make sure you share the dress code. Planning a virtual event is completely different than an in-person event, so when you are considering a hybrid event, it’s important to consider all details from content, production, staff roles, branding, camera placement, and so much more. A strong partner will help you navigate the planning and execution, though.

6. Don’t panic, most people are tardy for the party!

If you’re concerned about your registration numbers, don’t be! NASW discovered that most of their attendees registered the same week of their event. It is crucial, however, to have a clear promotion plan to ensure the event is reaching your intended audience via organic and/or paid social media, email campaigns, and word of mouth.

7 Don’t Underestimate Event Setup Time

One thing that our audience discovered during Peak was that a virtual event setup takes much longer than you might expect. According to CommPartners multimedia producer, Bryan Ranharter, the Peak setup at Spire took the team about 2 ½ hours to complete. It is essential to give your tech team ample time to test all the equipment, conceal the wiring, check the audio, and the list goes on.

8. Don’t Be Scared to Utilize Your Virtual Engagement Toolbox

When putting on a virtual event, it’s important to think of any and all ways to get your remote audience engaged in what’s happening on site and interacting with the speakers. During Peak Bootcamp, our team utilized our virtual engagement tool that allowed our remote audience to upload photos from their location, engage in a live chat, share their thoughts on the session through an interactive mood indicator, give input via live polling questions and even enter a live raffle for the chance to win a fun prize. During this session, they also encouraged our onsite audience to get involved by logging in and getting a glimpse at how we were engaging with our remote audience. It’s exciting to use these types of tools and see the remote audience come to life with their responses, comments, and questions.   

9. Monetizing Webinars Can Lead to Bigger Partnerships Down the Road

Peak Bootcamp speaker, Erin Snyder from Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), shared with our audience how they monetize sponsorship through webinars. A few key takeaways that Erin shared was to protect your brand by steering clear of sales pitch content, get insight from your membership to understand what it is that they want to learn about, and embrace your technology by working with your event partner to stay up to date with new features and ways to engage and interact with your online audience.

10. Give it a shot! The Reaction to Virtual Events Might Surprise You

NASW addressed the fact that, yes, some organizations have their concerns about producing and hosting virtual events. What will the registration look like? How will we engage the audience remotely? However, based on NASW’s positive experience, they confidently encouraged the Peak audience to take a chance!

At first, planning and implementing a virtual event might seem a bit scary, but try one because you might be surprised how well your community responds to the idea of virtual events. Looking for some direction on where to begin? Consider a hybrid event for the perfect starting point. By incorporating an onsite audience and a virtual audience into the event, your organization will still be able to have the in-person format that you might be used to, but also break the barriers of travel by allowing those who may have scheduling or cost conflicts to feel included with the ability to engage remotely. Additionally, virtual events do not take away from those willing to travel to your event, but instead, extend your organization’s reach to those who might not be able to attend otherwise.

It’s Our Pleasure vs You’re Welcome

It’s Our Pleasure vs You’re Welcome

The CommPartners Approach to Onboarding Your LMS

Last week, I was speaking with a colleague who had just returned from an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico. During our conversation, I asked what some of the highlights from her trip were. The response I received sparked a thought about the true value that comes with genuine customer service.

Now, you would think that the first thing she would tell us about is the delicious food or beautiful beaches, but to our surprise, there was something that she thought stood out above those luxurious details. What stood out to her the most was every time she and her husband asked for something, the staff responded with “It’s our pleasure.”   This made them feel valued for choosing to invest their time and money into this resort.  It’s our pleasure, conveys a feeling of appreciation.

At CommPartners, we quite often discuss how grateful we are to be involved in the association community, surrounded by an amazing group of people, who we value and feel so fortunate to work with and support.  We know education is a core component for most associations and what we do matters a great deal.

A learning management system is a significant investment, both financially and strategically, that can take months, even years, to make a decision on. Once the decision is made, the client and LMS provider come together to create a unified partnership and shared mindset, determined to fulfill the client’s overall vision.  The onboarding process that follows is a critical time where expectations are confirmed and a foundation for working together is set. This is where “It’s Our Pleasure” comes into play.

Like any first impression, the first moments of the onboarding process are a sign of what to expect down the road. The first thing you notice is the tone of the communication. How professional and courteous is the project manager? Is this person responsive?  Is he or she clear about what to expect, and with follow-up communications. Is this person detail oriented?  These are all critical elements?

Just as important, is if this person has a positive attitude and is enthusiastic about your project?  Do you, as the client, feel appreciated for the decision you have made and the faith you’re imparting on your selected provider? Are you truly in this together?

At CommPartners, we have gone to great lengths to support and empower our onboarding staff who in turn are giving and generous with their time and spirit. They recognize how critical it is that you are welcomed properly to our organization and that we are simply not just saying thank you for your business. Actually, it’s our pleasure to serve you.

Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

When organizations consider holding a livestream program from a place based conference or a completely virtual event, a common question asked is, what content will be compelling enough to get people to pay attention?

 

 

 

 

Click to view the livestream.

Several weeks ago CommPartners was asked to livestream a session for the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) in cooperation with the American Society of Association Executives titled: Unconscious Bias: An Association’s Role in Social Issues. The program originated from CMA’s Winter Leadership Conference that took place at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, MD, on Friday January 11, 2019. The archive of that event can be accessed here.

Of all the possible topics to livestream, CMA chose this subject because they knew, organizations are wrestling with their role in today’s political and social discourse. It’s a topic that transcends professional development training and presents an opportunity for community conversation and engagement. CommPartners’ role was to bring this session to the remote audience and to make them feel as if they were onsite and provide opportunities to share thoughts and ideas.

Taking risks and considering alternative formats for livestream programs can position your organization to extend your reach and impact. It can place you at the center of important conversations we are all having.

As a result of using the livestream format for a more personal and compelling topic, CMA was able to realize five key benefits:

  1. They greatly increased their profile to individuals and groups who otherwise would not be aware or involved with the CMA.
  2. Attending an onsite conference is expensive. By offering a session like this one, they were more inclusive and recognized the importance of reaching out to those who could not afford to attend or didn’t have the ability to travel or leave their homes or offices.
  3. CMA, along with ASAE took the lead in forging the conversation around hidden social bias. They showed who they are and what they are about by addressing the topic in public way. This showed is pays to be bold.
  4. This was a session from the heart. Online attendees were touched by the format and conversation.
  5. The session used a dramatic delivery that worked well to engage those in the room as well as those online. You had to walk away with a wow feeling as you watched the event. It’s the type of session that creates interest and a positive feeling about the host organization. If you are a member, it solidified your feelings about your investment. If you aren’t a member and this was your first experience, you had to walk away impressed.

This program was a collaboration between CommPartners, Council of Manufacturing Associations and the American Society of Association Executives. It was an important topic that has relevance to the greater association community.  As the production company, we were proud to help extend the reach of this session to online viewers around the country.

For additional information about CommPartners Elevate platform integrated with Higher Logic Communities, contact Meghan Gowen at mgowen@commpartners.com

CommPartners Year in Review

CommPartners Year in Review

As 2018 winds down, all of us at CommPartners want to express our gratitude to our clients, partners and extended community for your collaboration and friendship over the past year.  This was our 25th year in business.   Where has the time gone?  It’s been fun to look back and see how technology and online learning has changed and how our company and all of us individually have evolved.  We’re proud of our history and our evolution as an organization. We feel fortunate to work with so many wonderful clients over many years. These relationships make our jobs so enjoyable and rewarding. We are extremely blessed!

Recently Barbara Bouton, Vice President, Professional Development from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association provided us the following quote:

I truly think CommPartners is the best company I’ve had the privilege to work with in my career. I value each of you and am proud of the work we’ve accomplished together – especially the innovations!

What Barbara said reinforced our sense that what’s most important is the relationship between our team and our client’s staff and the commitment to stick together to seize opportunities and meet whatever challenges arise.

So as we celebrate 2018, we take pride in our clients’ success and all you have accomplished through your education initiatives.

The Year’s Highlights

  •  We celebrated five years since Elevate LMS was developed. It takes this period of time for a SaaS solution to fulfill the promise you envision when it’s first created.  This year we experienced over 100% growth in new client placements.  We are thrilled to welcome so many new organizations into the CP Family.
  • We had our first user conference in 2018 that occurred in the spring in Washington DC. The conference included keynote and breakout sessions, trainings, one on one consultation and exhibits. Thank you to our presenters, partners and attendees for making this event a success.
  • We established our Advisory Board to receive feedback on new ideas and development and provide clients an active voice as we move forward.
  • We created a new administrative portal in Elevate that makes creating, managing and tracking education programs simple, fast and convenient. Our team was determined to support our clients with the most intuitive and user friendly admin available.
  • EventCenter our proprietary webcast software was redeveloped with a new design, attendance checks, interactive features, high quality VOIP and enhanced multimedia.
  • Our Higher Logic Partnership continued to evolve allowing our mutual clients to bring together community and learning in a unified presence. We are now building the next generation of our integration to support further engagement and bring together content from thought leaders and peer sharing of ideas.
  • We established a partnership with BadgeCert to seamlessly provide and assign digital badges from learning activities in Elevate. We feel this will be an important to benefit to our clients as they incorporate digital credentials into their education offerings.
  • The National Credentialing Institute was unveiled by our friends at Limitless Association Resources. CommPartners will be hosting this new site which is created to provide associations with assessment-based, professional development based on industry best practice for current and emerging industry professionals.
  • We created our own community called CommPartners Connect. It supports the opportunity to collaborate around important topics in online learning and events.
  • We welcomed five new staff members to the CP Team.

CommPartners’ first client 25 years was the National Association of Home Builders. This year NAHB selected CommPartners and our Elevate platform for their LMS.   We’re grateful to reestablish our partnership with NAHB and all of our clients who continued to depend on us to support their online learning and events.

May each of you be blessed with good health and happiness in the New Year.

 

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Online Communities and Online Events: The Perfect Match

Online Communities and Online Events: The Perfect Match

Online communities have become a valuable component of an organization’s engagement strategy.  According to the advisory firm IDC, the online community market will reach $1.2 billion dollars by 2019. A University of Michigan study found that customers / members spent 19 per cent more after joining a company’s online community.

Paralleling the growth of online communities is the expansion of the virtual event market. Virtual events include virtual conferences, virtual trade fairs, livestream programs, webcasts and live courses. Market Research Media states, this market will grow from $14 billion annually in 2018 to $18 Billion annually in 2023.

Online communities and virtual events bring people together to exchange ideas, network and learn. Since they basically do similar things, there are advantages to connect these two offerings to provide greater participation and engagement. The premise is based on the knowledge that participants are already psychologically committed to their community. They established their picture and profile, have made connections and are accessing resources. In integrating and offering virtual events, participants can continue to use current features. Support for registration and access will be in place.

Integration of community and virtual events is now possible through Higher Logic’s integration with a virtual conference site through CommPartners’ Elevate Platform.

Here are five reasons to consider folding in your virtual events through your community:

  1. Positioning virtual events as an added resource to current engagement vs a separate offering will increase the likelihood someone will register. A trust has been established and participants have already bought in to the value they are receiving.
  2. Attendees can use their picture and profile that’s already established in the community for each event. 
  3. Adding virtual events will nurture greater commitment and participation in the community.
  4. Attendee participation in virtual events will be counted in the community’s reporting of individual and overall engagement including the rewarding of ribbons and badges.
  5. Conversations that begin in an event can seamlessly evolve once the event is over.

There is a belief that sharing of knowledge that occurs through a community, an LMS or virtual events should not be segmented and separate. If we can have these resource integrated and seamless, both the learner and organization will benefit.


For additional information about CommPartners Elevate platform integrated with Higher Logic Communities, contact Meghan Gowen at mgowen@commpartners.com