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Who is YOUR LeBron?

Written by Ray van Hilst on . Posted in Association, Association Best Practices, Avectra Partners

Confession time… I hate professional basketball.  Too much money, too much showmanship and too long a season.  (I do love college hoops though.)
And yet, my eyes were glued to the TV last week as LeBron James returned to Cleveland. I rooted for the Cavs to open an old-fashioned can-o-whup-ass and show that impertinent spoiled brat that they could do just fine without him #thankyouverymuch.
Alas, the final score?  118-90. Miami showed them who’s the boss…  Bummer.
So much for building a strong organization that could survive the loss of your superstar.
And then I saw this week’s announcement about Ben Martin leaving the Virginia Association of REALTORS to join NFi Studios as Product & Community Manager.  My first reaction was excitement for NFi to have such an innovative power user directing the development of the MemberFuse platform.
Then I thought about the organization he had just left.  Who is going to fill Ben’s shoes? I’ve read Ben’s blog for years and am confident that he built capacity in the organization and while there will be a hiccup, things will go on.
But many organizations don’t think that far ahead.
For example, ASHA’s Maggie McGary experimented with a position at Avectra last year.  While everyone at Avectra loved having her there, Maggie and I noticed the impact on ASHA as their online communities and engagement fell silent – no Facebook content or comments (and ensuing site traffic), no Tweets, nada.  There was no one there to pick up the slack.
(Maggie eventually realized that ASHA was the right place for her and went back to an even better role with best wishes on all sides.)
And while I have continued to blog for Avectra, my departure this past June created a vacuum that is just now starting to be back-filled.  (Check out @patrickfdorsey and @avectraleo on Twitter and the Avectra Facebook page.)
So what do you do?  Do you leave the keys to your social media kingdom in the hands of one person who could leave for greener pastures at a moment’s notice?
And it isn’t just your social media rockstar to worry about.   What about that database administrator who knows the ins, outs and every query of your entire association management system?  What about your webmaster who is the only one with the master login or ability to edit a web page?
The reality is any of us could win the lottery tomorrow and decide to take off on a grand adventure.  So you need to plan ahead and prepare.  Here are a few considerations:

Technology is Everyone’s Job

Next week is the ASAE Technology Conference.  I’m sure your CIO is attending.  What about the rest of your staff?  Your CIO looks at tech tools thinking “servers, ROI, firewalls, security.”  Other staff think about “faster event registration, efficient billing, improved customer service, more sales, etc.”  I wrote last week about sending multiple staff to the show.  I believe it’s a great investment that every organization should consider.

Make the Skill Sets institutional Knowledge

Todd Carpenter at the National Association of REALTORS commented on the SocialFish blog about Who is Doing Your Social Media? that he is institutionalizing the use of social media.  He’s making sure he is sharing the knowledge so anyone can jump in at a moment’s notice.  Do the same in your organization?
Encourage staff from multiple departments to engage and use all the tools you have.  Not just social media. Get them trained on your association management software, event registration system, content management software and more.  If someone leaves, you now have built capacity to fill the void and keep the business running.

Make Training a Priority

Your staff is busy.  We get that.  But if you don’t force a time-out and make training a priority, they’ll never learn the system.
Build a schedule and make sure people get regular training.  You can bring in your vendors to do a deep-dive, hands on session or have brown-bag show-and-tells presented by your staff to demonstrate how they use the system and get results.  Either way, schedule it and make it happen.
The sports world has led the way and shown that we live in a free agent economy where your superstar staff member can leave for more money/respect/responsibility.  Are you prepared to lose them?
Or are you going to roll over like the Cavaliers did when Lebron came back to his old stomping grounds?
For more reading check out these posts:
Speaking of bring all your staff to the ASAE Technology Conference, make sure they all stop by booth  #215 and check out all the new things that Avectra has to offer.
If you’ve followed this space, you know that they have introduced a number of new and innovative products including integrated social communities for associations, vertical specific applications like an AMS for REALTOR associations, and enhanced technologies that help your staff work more efficiently.


Comments for Who is YOUR LeBron?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 by Fred:
Not hatin’ but I can’t believe Ben is this famous. Funny. I KNEW HIM FIRST.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 by @bkmcae Ben Martin NFi Studios:
This is quite a flattering comparison, and in the same vein as Fred’s comment, I’m not sure it’s warranted (but I’ll take it, anyway, heheheh). VAR will get along just fine without me. Virtually everything I’ve accomplished there is a result of my willingness to say “Yes” and to allow the smart, creative, hardworking people around me the freedom do their thing as they see best. There’s no question in my mind: Amanda, Andrew and Christine on my team will kick butt after I leave.
Thursday, December 9, 2010 by Ray van Hilst:
And that is EXACTLY my point. Along the way you demonstrated, coaxed, coached and showed the way so that you weren’t the only one. And you left behind a capable team that can keep functioning and doing the same great social media work you initiated. It’s an example I think many other organizations should take note of and emulate.

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