Molly Marsh, AMR Director of Education and Engagement Design
In his book Dream Teams, author Shane Snow sets out to illustrate why some diverse teams excel and some do not. His early chapters emphasize perspective and how the addition of new and different perspectives to a team can help the group uncover ideas or solutions they never could have before. He uses the illustration of a mountain range. If everyone starts hiking the range from the same starting point, you may all get to a peak, look around and say “we’ve done it, we’re at the summit.” But, if someone else starts hiking the same range from the other side, they may come to a taller, more stunning mountain that you never even knew existed. This, he argues, is one of the aspects that makes some teams great. They look for people with perspectives not like theirs who can start tackling an issue at a completely different angle, ultimately bringing everyone to a better, stronger solution.
As I read the book, I couldn’t help but think about the Association Management Company (AMC) model. Particularly for small associations with a limited budget for staff, by being a part of an AMC they can enjoy a diverse range of people and perspectives working with the association. Instead of one or two full time staff who have to manage everything from governance to finance to conferences and membership, the team might be up to eight different people devoting a portion of their time to bring their unique skill set, experiences and perspective to the organization. It allows for those discoveries of new mountaintops every day.
It’s helpful for individual professional development as well. Someone who specializes in membership engagement certainly looks at member information in one way, but as they are constantly exposed to the ideas shared by the conferences and events team, or creative services or finance, they can begin to see new opportunities and ideas emerge. Staff members within an AMC broaden their perspective, becoming a Dream Team with expanded value to associations, regardless of size.