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Cindy's Corner
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Call for Volunteers 0 C. Prud'homme Greetings IAIP Members.  I hope you will forgive this unconventional method of reaching out, but I have an urgent message for all IAIP members and I hope you will take a moment to read.  I’m reaching out to you today to ask for your assistance and your support. When I was installed as IAIP President I spoke to the members attending the 2019 Annual Convention in Reno, NV, and I shared my hope that we would create an army, all working toward the same goal… to revitalize our association and reinforce it to serve our industry for generations to come. We often joke that we can do anything, as IAIP members… after all, we plan conferences, we create amazing experiences out of limited (or non-existent) resources, WE MOVE FURNITURE!  Together, we’ve shown ourselves to be a powerful force, and on behalf of IAIP I’m asking for your energy and your support now, when IAIP needs you most.  Your IAIP Board of Directors has shown commitment and courage in establishing the vision and making the decisions that will reinforce our association and ensure relevance for the future.  We’ve heard your concerns, we’ve heard your suggestions, and we’ve defined strategies that will expand our customer base, expand our products and services, and defined new sources of revenue that will, over time provide needed resources and provide relief and greater value to our existing members. But, somebody needs to make these visions a reality.  Somebody needs to investigate them, work out the kinks, create and implement the solutions.  That’s where you come in. This year we will build a corporate membership program, create new professional development programs to be delivered to the workplace, implement special interest communities, investigate a new e-learning platform, establish a program to train and license non-member trainers to deliver IAIP programs, perform a technology gap-assessment, develop a governance model to ensure that our use of association management resources delivers the value that is intended, and a host of other important initiatives.   We have so much important and transformational work to do! All of these new opportunities have been turned over to IAIP Task Forces to implement, and their efforts will only be as successful as the willingness of our members to engage.  The more who join our army of volunteers to build these solutions, the more quickly we will be able to realize the benefits and begin generating the needed revenue to sustain the association.  Time is not a luxury we have, and we need to act quickly now – build quickly now.  These solutions need to be generating revenue for IAIP within the next 18 months. My call to you is to jump in, join a winning team, help us expand our capacity so we can, more quickly build the solutions that will sustain IAIP for generations to come.  We need your help.  Will you be part of the team that revitalizes and rebuilds our association?  I’m counting on you, your Board of Directors is counting on you, and your fellow members are counting on you.  Join our team today, please, and let’s get this job done!  I appreciate your commitment and your engagement and look forward to the future we will build together!
by C. Prud'homme
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Can An Ant Eat a Moose? 0 C. Prud'homme Last week my seven-year-old granddaughter asked me if an ant can eat something that’s bigger than itself.  When I told her yes, she asked me how that can be, so I explained to her that many ants, working together carry the bigger object back to their nest, where they share it among themselves and feed the entire colony.  Then she asked whether they could eat a moose.  I didn’t have words to respond to that. The same week I was having this interesting conversation, I was preparing a presentation on the importance of Leadership for Gamma Iota Sigma students later this week.  One of the main points of that being leadership is a team sport – leaders will see greater success through the achievements of their teams than they will through their own contributions.  Thus, the mission of any leader is to compel a team to perform at its very best.  How does a leader influence others to make that happen? Surely, ants can teach us a lesson in leadership and teamwork.  After all, if they can carry a moose, surely, they can achieve anything, right?!  So, how does a leader convince an army of ants to carry weight greater than themselves back to the colony so that all can benefit?  How does a leader in business, or in IAIP motivate an army of employees or volunteers to achieve challenging things that will benefit the entire organization? I don’t know if there are easy answers to those questions, but I think IAIP’s CLP program is a good place to start.  To move an army of individuals toward a common goal, for the good of all, requires that everybody understand the purpose and mission of the organization.  They must develop, communicate, and all understand the strategic plan.   Negotiation, persuasion, change management, and delegation would all have their place.  How would you turn resistance into support?  How would you help each member of that army see their role and the benefits they will realize by helping to meet the goal? I believe this is the challenge that lies before us, as members of IAIP.  There are some lofty goals ahead of us with some amazing rewards that will benefit us all.  The weight (and the work) of the goals is greater than any of us can carry alone, but together we can realize unimagined accomplishments.  Revitalizing an association?  Building a future for the members of tomorrow?  Expanding our products, our services, and our customer base?  Alone we wouldn’t know where to begin, but together we’re a powerful army.  If you’re serving in a leadership role in IAIP, I recommend you start on the course of CLP study & get your designation – build those skills you’ll need to lead your team.  We have our destination and our plan; now we just need to begin the work of taking ourselves there!  If you’re one of the army, we know your efforts will be much greater than anything any of us could achieve alone – we will realize our organization’s success through your efforts.  We cannot get to our destination without you. Together we have a lot of work ahead.  But we’re not intimidated; we’re ants and we can carry a moose!  If a seven-year-old girl can imagine it, why can’t we make it come true!
by C. Prud'homme
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
What Language Are You Speaking? 0 C. Prud'homme I was thinking recently about the challenge many organizations like ours face; members not renewing at rates that exceed their ability to recruit new members, the result being a steady decline in overall membership. This is the reality for organizations across the country. Recently, I found myself giving counsel to some members. The concern was the subject matter and tone of the casual conversations during meetings. I’m a believer that, in this world where we say we control nothing, we actually control a great deal more than we like to acknowledge. And who doesn’t want to control their membership numbers? I’m one of those people who gets excited about the things I like to talk about, and I can easily misinterpret people’s silence in conversations to mean that they agree. But with age comes a certain amount of wisdom, or at least experience, and I’ve learned that people remaining silent does not mean they agree. Sometimes, it means the opposite. They may simply not want a debate. Sometimes, taking a strong position can cause others to feel ‘run over’ and the preferred course of action is a quick escape out the back door at their earliest opportunity! When faced with a ‘fight or flee’ instinct, some of us choose to stand our ground, but others are going to flee to avoid confrontation. Could it be that this is part of the problem with the declining membership associations are facing? What message are we sending to our members in the conversations we have, when we’re at our most relaxed, when our guard is down, when we’re with those we trust? When we meet at the local or council level, are our conversations focused on building up members, their careers, their success, their advancement? It’s important to recognize that not all members speak their minds. Many hold their tongues, keep their own counsel, and quickly remove themselves from environments that do not reflect the positivity and professionalism they expect. It becomes easy for us, especially those of us who are more opinionated than others, to think that we’re stating obvious truths, with which everybody agrees; when in fact the opposite is true. Many who hear negativity, judgments, or harsh critiques may perceive us to be unkind or unwelcoming. If we fail to support one another, other members are likely to wonder if we will be there to support them. Do not underestimate how powerful our words and our actions can be! The next time you’re at a meeting, listen carefully to what’s being communicated. Is the dialog positive, supportive, and tolerant of others, or could it use some work? Are you building relationships or undermining them? Do you want to allow negativity or carelessness to open up that back door to less-confrontational members if they begin to feel uncomfortable with the messages they’re hearing or the conduct they’re observing? Don’t be ashamed if you find that you need to ‘up’ the professionalism a notch or two – it’s something we all need to pay attention to. When we get too comfortable, we sometimes need to buckle down and start paying attention again to set ourselves back on track. If we all focus on creating an environment that’s accepting and supportive, and commit to building up our entire membership, we will enjoy a healthy, refreshing and diverse community for generations to come!
by C. Prud'homme
Monday, August 26, 2019
Choose Kindness 0 C. Prud'homme Happy August! Already a month has passed, and it seems like we’re just getting started. But before we get too far into our new leadership year, it’s a good idea to take inventory, understand where we are, what we’ve achieved so far and what’s coming up next. That is the best way to ensure we have a clear path forward and can start checking off those objectives. It helps to have a plan, right?   We wasted no time getting down to business, as last year’s board of directors partnered with this year’s board to finalize several important strategies that will help us revitalize and transform IAIP for the future. We’ve already released those strategies to our IAIP Task Forces, so they can get busy executing and implementing our vision. Task Forces have all been filled, and volunteers should be hearing from their Task Force Chairs right about now. We do appreciate the many of you who volunteered, and I promise that your work is certain to be impactful! We’re going to be sharing our vision and plans for IAIP in a future Town Hall Meeting, so I’m not going to jump the gun by talking about that now. But let me tell you, there are some exciting times ahead of us and there will be many opportunities for all of us to contribute. What are you doing to make your IAIP year count? It doesn’t matter if you’re a member of a local association or a member-at-large, or whether you’re active in the workforce or happily enjoying retirement. There’s still a lot of opportunity to make a difference, and many opportunities to realize the value of your membership. I want to consider, for a minute, the subject of friendships… those connections you make with IAIP members over the years. As I read about another mass shooting this weekend in Texas, I saw the many expressions of gratitude from our members that our own Betty Curry was safe, it reminded me of one of the most valuable benefits of IAIP membership – the relationships we build over the years. It was only last week that I joined two of my dearest friends for dinner and thought how very blessed I am to have met them through my membership in IAIP. Those relationships nourish us and sustain us. In a world that is often unkind, it matters tremendously that we always have friends in IAIP who will offer kindness, generosity, and acceptance and who are dedicated to our success and happiness in ways that others are not. This should be the first way we make our membership count. Bring kindness to your world and the worlds of those around you. Have you been to a local association meeting recently, or a council or regional meeting? Others are counting on you; you bring value to their lives. Have you supported your fellow insurance professionals, and your own careers by attending a class or conference that your nearest IAIP group is offering? They can only succeed when others support their efforts. Have you engaged with your fellow members, carved out a small amount of time in your busy schedule to include them? Have you given encouragement and support to others, when it’s so easy and tempting to pass judgment instead? When given the choice, have you chosen kindness above all else? It’s not too late. As members of IAIP, we are all here for one another. We share each other’s successes and each other’s failures. We are only as strong as one another and when we forget to be kind, we undermine our association, just as a small handful of unkind individuals outside of our association can undermine the fabric of our society through their anger and violence. When we decide to support one another, when we join hands and work for a common purpose and when we forgive one another and embrace one another for our differences and imperfections – that is when we are at our best as human beings, as insurance professionals, and as an association. In a world that can become discouraging at times, I think about the IAIP friendships I’ve gained, and I realize my membership has delivered value that I never even contemplated. So my message is: be kind, be supportive, love one another, help each other. Leave judgment behind. Hold each other up instead. And more than anything else, enjoy what each individual member brings to our association – let them share their value with you, and take the time and make the effort to share your value with them.
by C. Prud'homme
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
A Lesson in Diversity 3 C. Prud'homme Cindy, the tree fell and I heard it, yes, some articles will get little or no response, but keep going, many read and don't respond Nice article to ponder, I hope all local presidents read it to their groups!
by L. Luka
Friday, August 2, 2019
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