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Associations Now

3 Lessons: Formula for Success

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, February 2013 Leadership

Summary: Lawrence D. Sloan, CAE, knows the value of good chemistry.

Lawrence D. Sloan, CAE
President and CEO
Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates
Washington, DC

Trust your staff.

"I've had a lot of bosses who were always very suspicious and always went to the dark side prematurely. If you give people the benefit of the doubt, you're going to prevent resentment from billowing up, and it creates a much more collaborative work environment. Go into it assuming that people really want to do the right thing, that they'll invest the right amount of time and energy into their jobs, and it'll pay back dividends."

Watch how you share numbers with the board.

"Sometimes too much information is not good. You don't want to hide anything, but you want to be careful about what the messaging is. When I was director level and attending board meetings, I was so eager to present as many facts and figures as I could. But once you utter a number or a statistic, it sticks in their brain. Whether it's a dues assessment or a membership count or the estimated net profit of an event, if it wasn't totally factual, it could come back to haunt you."

Hit the road.

"I'm doing 20 to 30 member visits a year. It's a great way to meet people who can't come to our events, and a lot of the people in those rooms know very little about SOCMA. I always come away from every single meeting with an a-ha. There's always somebody in the room who says, 'I didn't know your organization did that.'"

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