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ISAE Blog

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson is responsible for the Association's print and electronic communications, plus media outreach and public relations. She joined the IBA in 1987 as Hoosier Banker associate editor and business manager, after prior experience with local periodicals. Wilson has been active with the Indiana Society of Association Executives, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Bank On Indiana steering committee. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has served as a volunteer for New World Youth Symphony Orchestras and Boy Scouts of America.
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Recent Posts

‘Culture’ as a Leadership Verb

Posted by Laura Wilson on Aug 12, 2015 12:00:00 PM

In the late 1800s, the son of a Japanese noodle maker patented a process for culturing pearls by seeding oysters. Though he was not the first to patent pearl culturing, he was the first to master a technique that produced consistently round results. Today, few would recognize the names of the original patent holders, but the name of Kokichi Mikimoto lives on through his namesake pearls. Less well known is that all Mikimoto pearls are cultured, not natural.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture

Email Detox

Posted by Laura Wilson on Aug 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Last year my husband and I had the good fortune to travel to St. Maarten for a spring getaway. It was a fairly short trip, but I was dead determined to bring along my iPad so that I could stay in email contact with the work world, “just in case.”

It turns out that there were no emergencies and, even if there had been, I could have been reached by hotel phone. So why on earth did I lug my iPad into a Caribbean paradise vacation? Couldn’t I have used the trip as an opportunity for email detox?

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Topics: Leadership, Time Management

Association Professionals—What's on Your Bulletin Board?

Posted by Laura Wilson on Jan 14, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Association professionals use an arsenal of tools to master demanding time commitments. Online calendars, productivity apps and other digital products help workers stay on time and on track.

Then there is the low-tech standby that quietly decorates most office walls: the bulletin board. It may be humble, but it does not disappoint. The bulletin board keeps needed information in plain view for instant-view access, immune to power outages and other electronic mishaps.

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Topics: Association, Success, Associations, Association Executives, Productivity

Lead by Example: Banishing ‘Busy’ for 30 Days

Posted by Laura Wilson on Aug 13, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Like other four-letter words, “busy” is often bantered about with bravado, as if a sign of strength in this time-frenzied world. A simple, “Fine, thank you” will suffice when asked, “How are you?” Instead, we often bark out, “Busy!” – then proudly catalog our responsibilities and to-do lists.busy

Yet busy isn’t always good. In fact it can be a symptom of out-of-control timelines, driven by short-sighted work habits and skewed values. Busy becomes an addiction, a false friend that continually demands more, yet never satisfies.

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Topics: Association, Success, Associations

Your First "Real Job": ISAE Members Share Lessons Learned

Posted by Laura Wilson on Jun 12, 2014 1:15:00 PM

A person’s career is a roadmap history of his or her professional persona, starting with the first time a pre-adult earns money for work performed – babysitting, mowing lawns, washing cars — to a young adult’s first “real job.” What distinguishes the first real job from tasks done for pay is the sense of starting professional life.

When starting down a career path, the accompanying emotions may range from excitement and pride to trepidation about performance. Through it all, we learn how to hone the skills needed to continue and grow in our professions. We learn both the qualities needed for that specific career, plus how to navigate the general realities of working life – organization, punctuality, responsibility, and cooperation.

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Topics: Association, Members, Success, Learning, Career

Ask the Exec: What Would You Do Differently?

Posted by Laura Wilson on Apr 23, 2014 4:37:49 PM

“We do not learn from experience,” said John Dewey, an American philosopher from the late 1800s. “We learn from reflecting on experience.” With a nod to reflection, Indiana Society of Association Executives reached out to top leaders to ask:

Looking back at your journey to executive director, what would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?”

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Topics: Success, Learning, Leadership, Associations

Creating an Innovative Association Culture Based on Personality Types

Posted by Laura Wilson on Mar 5, 2014 12:02:00 PM

Businesses everywhere must innovate in order to stay current, but the pressure is especially profound in the association world. Professional and trade groups must work to remain relevant in support of the industries they serve, which in turn are ever-changing.

Associations which thrive do so by achieving the magic mix of service to members — generally through lobbying, education and products/services — blended with meaningful relationships among and with members. Those relationships add the emotional spark that prompts a member to reach out to its friendly association when facing a need or want.

 This balance of head and heart, so to speak, is mirrored in the makeup of staff — the most critical resource of any association. It is staff who must meet the needs of members through quality offerings, and it is staff who take the time to cultivate lasting relationships. Just as a happy, well-adjusted individual is apt to make friends with ease, so can a healthy, vibrant trade group attract and retain members.

How can a professional or trade association tap into its human resources to ensure that its culture is innovative, providing the best in both offerings and relationships? The place to begin is by understanding what drives the players on the team.

There are countless personality profile tools that identify the varying types that populate humanity. Many assessments are based on a quadrant system, a la Myers-Briggs, but others branch out into a dozen or more personality facets. Typically these tests not only identify personality types, but also offer suggestions for working harmoniously with others.

Most of these systems have merits, but a quick-and-easy starting point is simply to divide personality types into two camps:  “thinkers” and “feelers.” Admittedly this approach overlooks a range of human nuances, so it should be viewed as a spectrum rather than an absolute. Regardless, by and large most people have a tendency to be more of a thinker vs. a feeler, which affects our decision-making process and therefore our work style.

 What are the characteristics of each group? Writings abound on this topic, but frequently used descriptors are:

  • Thinkers
    • Values: truth, justice, reality;
    • Traits: analytical; consistent, action-oriented;
    • Decision-making style: fact-based;
    • Caveat: may be viewed as tactless, uncaring.

  • Feelers
    • Values: relationships, harmony, affirmation;
    • Traits: enthusiastic; creative; people-oriented;
    • Decision-making style: feeling-based;
    • Caveat: may be viewed as unrealistic, idealistic.

Basically thinkers get things done, and feelers add heart. It’s an oversimplification, but it’s also an ideal mix for a trade group staff. When these two personality types synchronize, they can master association goals by meeting and exceeding members’ expectations. Offerings are of top quality, thanks to the well-planned thinkers, and relationships are sincere, nurtured by the caring feelers.

 How can an association achieve this synergy? Some practices:

  • Talk about it. Mention at a staff meeting that your organization is graced with head and heart among staff members, equipping you to provide for both your members’ needs and wants.
  • Encourage mutual appreciation. Divergent personality types make everyone’s job easier, because one person’s weaknesses can be filled by another’s strengths.
  • As much as possible, align roles with staff strengths. When stretched resources put everyone in positions requiring both skill sets, brainstorm ways to compensate. For example, social media can help both camps — the thinker can develop the practice of commenting on human-interest details made available through social media, and the feeler will be more comfortable making promotional calls when prepared with personal information to reference.

The goal: Create an innovative association culture. The means: Mix the organization skills of the thinkers with the creative insights of the feelers. The outcome: The association remains fresh and relevant to its members through quality offerings and well-tended relationships.

 Blog submission by Laura Wilson, Indiana Bankers Association

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE).

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Topics: Association, Success

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