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Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE

Recent Posts

What “Gen Con” taught me about associations

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Aug 2, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Gen Con returns to Indianapolis to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.  It has been an annual spectacle that draws over 60,000 gamers to participate in over 16,000 game events that include everything from monopoly to a 10,000-square foot life-size dungeon.  Secretly, I love playing games.  At first light, it may not seem like Gen Con and associations go together, but I believe we could learn something from those dice rollers. 

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Topics: Leadership, Association Management, Association trends

Culture Trumps Strategic Planning

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on May 31, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Strategic planning is critical to every association, but many strategic plans have a fatal flaw even before they get put on paper, before the first SWOT analysis and even before the expensive facilitator has coached you toward a plan. The fatal flaw is the culture of the association. You know culture, like norms and values of the association: the way an association works every day.

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Topics: Strategic Planning

What Do You Call Strategic Planning

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on May 24, 2017 12:00:00 PM

In a house with teenagers, the words “whatever” and “like” come up more often than the ghosts of my English teachers would prefer. But have you noticed that every association and board of directors seems to have its favorite terms and phrases? I think this is especially true in strategic planning.

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Topics: Strategic Planning

How to Sabotage Your Strategic Plan

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on May 17, 2017 12:00:00 PM

You are an evil mastermind who is hell bent on the total and complete destruction of your association’s strategic plan. So what are your steps to sabotage your strategic plan?

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Topics: Strategic Planning

Helping Political Parties Not to Suck Starts With People

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Feb 8, 2017 12:00:00 PM

I did not grow up in a political family. We voted but we did not debate politics, the candidates or the issues at our dinner table. I was always under the impression that others were involved in that. You know the kind, political science majors. Those friends who pop popcorn to sit down and watch what the election returns, like many watch the big game.

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Topics: Advocacy, Politics

Taboo Topics: I'm Not Prejudiced But...

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jan 18, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Don’t you just cringe when somebody starts a conversation with the phrase, “I am not prejudiced but…”? You know that the next comments are usually ones of prejudice. Now in the face of fast changing demographics, diversity and moving minorities in our society and associations, it is really important that association leaders deal with themselves and this issue. Our memberships may have historically been predominantly white, middle class and male, but today our committee meetings look and sound like the United Nations.

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Topics: Leadership, Associations, Diversity

What the Boy Scouts Taught Me About Associations

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jan 4, 2017 12:00:00 PM

For seven years, my two sons and I have been involved with the Boy Scouts of America. When I joined I was not a camper and was looking for a way to share experiences with my boys as they grew into men. From hundreds of camp nights, fire by friction and sleeping on a frozen lake to both boys earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout and me becoming a scoutmaster, we have learned a lot about life. For me, it has also provided leadership lessons I take back to my own association.

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Topics: Leadership, Associations

The 4 Rs for My Holiday Time

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Dec 28, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The holidays are supposed to be something we look forward to, right? The statistics on holiday depression, suicide, stress, packed schedules and credit card debt should make us turn and run from the holidays. I have heard it’s all about family, but have you seen my family? I know you all have that crazy family member who is bound to drink too much, bring up the most awkward conversation, try to kiss you on the lips, or ask you why you have gotten so…fat, bald, old or whatever thing you are a little self conscious about. With all of this I vote we cancel the holiday and take it back.

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Topics: Career, Goal Setting

Taboo Topics: Caring More Than Your Members

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Nov 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I am tired of meeting information and materials left unopened and unviewed prior to a meeting. I am weary of members not thinking about the association in between meetings, for no opinions expressed, no decisions made, industry trends ignored. Do I care more about the association than my members?

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Topics: Members, Associations, Engagement

Houdini’s Help with My Association Cyber Security Audit

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Oct 19, 2016 12:00:00 PM

How secure is secure? One of my childhood heroes is Harry Houdini. You know, the handcuff king, Chinese water torture escape artist and famous magician. I spent hours trying to pick locks and break out of my closet with just a hair pin and my wits.

Houdini helped me recently as an association manager when the topic of cyber security audit came up. The police departments around the country and world thought their jails were secure and then Houdini showed up. “How secure is secure?” is a different question than “How secure is the jail Houdini is in?”

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Topics: digital technology, Association Executives, Cyber security

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