Association Exec Lunch: Part II
Getting a room of people to agree is an association exec’s big challenge. The second part of our story on Bisnow’s lunch last week with association execs looks at how organizations manage their boards. Consumer Data Industry Association president/CEO Stuart Pratt, here with Associated General Contractors of America CEO Stephen Sandherr, meets with the top 25 corporations in his organization’s membership and board once a year. It helps to understand what they’re thinking one-on-one. The meeting usually involves more than the CEO and builds bridges beyond the few big conferences and meetings and random e-mails.
When a policy position comes before an association’s board, National Association of Chain Drug Stores CEO Steve Anderson says the CEO should know prior to the meeting the position of each board member, what each member will say during the meeting, and what will be the board's final determination. That means “work the phones” before the meeting, adds Steve, here with American Bankers Association president/CEO Robb MacKie. This will unite the board on the policy when the meeting concludes.
National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay, right, next to Heidrick & Struggles partner Julian Ha, says the association CEO role is to work with board members to build consensus—especially with any organization that faces lots of competitors who have approaches to various issues. Plus the fun of the job is adding value to an issue that will eventually make a difference for the industry. Some execs say their strategy is to remind officers and board members that they represent the entire industry, so policy decisions will affect a community beyond who’s sitting in the board room.
If you missed Part I, find it here. And thanks again to Heidrick & Struggles for helping us host the lunch.