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Ben's Tips

Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: 2020 Is Coming

Ben reminds us why strategy shouldn’t be a secret and reflects on his yearly goal-setting process.

Video transcript available below:

2019 is almost over, and we had a great 2019 here at The Markens Group; we hit most of the goals that we set. 2020 is coming. My goals have already been established and shared with our team because strategy is not a secret. Each of them has goals that they are going to do to help me achieve my goals.

In addition to business goals, I always think it’s helpful to have a personal development goal. My goal in 2019 was to get better at pivot tables. Is that going to make us more successful? Probably not. Is it going to make me feel better when folks ask me to weigh in on this spreadsheet or that analysis? Yeah.

So set goals for 2020 if you haven’t already, share them with the folks you work with and have a great year.

Ben’s Tip will taking a sabbatical for a couple of weeks and we’ll be back after the first of the year.

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Football & Association

Ben shares how social events can work to build camaraderie and promote trust at your next association meeting or event.

Video transcript available below:

So you know, there’s great power in association. We work with organizations that come together to solve common problems or to advocate together or to promote and grow an industry. Almost none of the work we do is purely social, but we find that having social events helps bring folks together to create relationships and common bonds.

Recently, between two hard days of work, we had a really nice event at a football stadium where we went and had a few beers, threw a few footballs around, had a few laughs, and built relationships so that the next day when we came back to do more hard work, there was a little bit more camaraderie and trust.

While it’s never just about the social part, the social part makes the business part richer because we have better relationships. Tell me what social activities you do and how they help your association better work together.

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Thank(less)

Ben shares a simple way to give immediate feedback, and reminds us why it’s important to stop and say, “Hey, you know, this place looks great.”

Video transcript available below:

So you know there’s a lot of jobs out there that people work hard at, but they don’t receive a lot of recognition. I think of people, for instance, who clean the restrooms in airports. I saw this thing recently which is really pretty simple. It’s four faces, from a smiley face to a frowny face, and as you leave the restroom, you’re invited to hit the button.

I think what happens here is the person in that job gets contemporaneous feedback on how well they are doing or how poorly they are doing. My experience is, people want to do better. By hitting the button, we give them thanks or feedback about how to do their job better.

Think about the people in your organization who may not receive as many thanks as they ought. Think about how you can thank them or give them feedback on a regular basis to do better.

By the way, the next time you see someone doing a thankless job like mopping the floor in the lobby, stop and say, “Hey, you know, this place looks great. Thanks for doing it.”

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Ben reflects on the importance of community.

Video transcript available below:

It’s almost Thanksgiving and the first thing I want to say is thank you to my family, friends, and to the folks I get to work with every day, it’s been a real pleasure.

I’m also thankful to the associations that honored us with their business. I’m thankful for the broader, the places that we serve. Our business is about creating community and helping communities of interest get together. So think about the communities in your life, your friends, your family, the associations you work with, and your broader community. What are you grateful for and how can you help put your energies to work to help the broader community and say thanks?

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Own Your Space

Ben shares his favorite way to “own” a space during an association, professional society, or non-profit event.

Video transcript available below:

One of the things we think works best when you’re having an event is to own the space. We do that in a lot of different ways. One of our favorite ways is by using a floor cling so that you introduce folks to your association as they walk into an event. Floor clings can also be wall clings and they both announce a space well.

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Real-Time Takeaways

Ben recently traveled to Malta for an association meeting where he learned an easy way to give attendees real-time takeaways.

Video transcript available below:

I’m here at an ECMA (European Carton Makers Association) meeting in Malta, and I saw something that I haven’t seen before.

While each speaker was speaking, someone took down all of the things that they said and they put them on oversized sheets of paper. At our meetings, we always ask the speakers, “Tell us one thing I should go home with from your talk.” Now here, in addition to having slides, meeting attendees actually have the gist of what the person has said.

I think it’s really good practice and we’re going to try it. Let me know what you think.

Good luck! Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Red Gate

Before winter swoops in, Ben takes us back to one of his favorite memories this Summer. Learn how our team works to inspire the next generation and build community in this week’s tip.

Video transcript available below:

I’m here at the Red Gate Farm in Buckland, Massachusetts. It’s a place where young people come, typically from the inner city to a farm where they learn really important things about farming and doing chores and being independent. These activities help students learn about kindness and respect.

This particular group of fifth and sixth graders went back to town in Springfield, MA, we think, changed. This is one of the organizations that we like to support because it’s really important to us that we support activities where folks really get to learn about themselves, learn about nature, and become better members of the community.

I’m interested to know what organizations you support. Good luck. Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Staff NSYNC?

Don’t go tearin’ up any hearts. Ben shares 3 quick questions he asks at the start of strategic planning sessions to see if staff are in sync. Learn more about establishing goal congruence in this week’s tip:

Video transcript available below:

I’m honored to be able to facilitate strategic planning with organizations of all sizes. When working with staff members, one little tip I use to see how much the group is in sync is by asking three pretty simple questions:

How big are we going to be this year? That’s either in dollars of revenue or number of members.

How big are we going to be next year?

How big are we going to be in five years?

The more different their answers are at the five-year mark (and sometimes I see huge swings) identifies they haven’t had any of these conversations. This information helps me direct them, and then they feel really good at the end of a fairly short session because they’re now able to have a lot more goal congruence about where they’re headed.

Let me know how it works for you. Good luck. Work on your business, stay in touch.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: Lessons From My Dog

Ben shares 3 things he’s learned from having a dog. Stay tuned for Ben’s bonus tip at the end!

Video transcript available below:

Mac, our border collie, is one-year-old today, and I thought I’d do a tip about what I’ve learned from having a dog in our family. First of all, I didn’t have a dog [when I was young] and I didn’t know I was a dog person until I was in my thirties. Beth, our daughter, really begged to have a dog. For two years, she had an imaginary dog that we had to walk every day. We learned it was a lot easier to actually walk a real dog.

What I’ve learned from Mac and from his predecessors in our family is this thing that I wish I could be better at – unconditional acceptance. He is always happy to see me, and he has incredible patience. He can stare at a ball for hours, well, certainly for tens of minutes, and sort of try to levitate the ball into my hand so that I will throw it for him and play with him, and then he brings it back immediately.

Lastly, Mac just wants to be part of the team. Whatever we’re doing, he’d like to be part of the team and be part of the family. If you’re a dog person, you know that when you come home, whether you’ve had a great day or a bad day, your dog always makes you feel better.

Here’s a bonus tip from Mac and me. Mac and I were out on a walk the other day and this cat came over and the cat looked at Mac and said, “Well, you know, in ancient Egypt I was considered a God and they built statues of me and they worshiped me.” Mac thought for a minute, he looked at the cat and he said, “Well, you know, I’m a very good boy.” Good luck, work on your business. Happy birthday, Mac.

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Ben’s Video Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Motivate Volunteers

Managing trade associations and professional organizations has taught us 3 keys to help motivate and engage volunteers.

Video transcript available below:

I was interested to read a blog that Tessa O’Sullivan, one of our Senior Account Managers, wrote. You can find it here.

Tessa’s blog describes 3 ways on how to help motivate volunteers. Tessa says to ignite their passion, respect their time, and communicate personally so that you’re talking to them and they’re talking to you. This applies to what we do, managing trade associations and professional organizations. But this also works very well anywhere you might be.

Let me know what you think. Good luck. Work on your business. Stay in touch.

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