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AMR IdeaCON – Collaborative Problem-Solving Six Months Later

Takeaways from the World Education Congress 2019
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AMR IdeaCON – Collaborative Problem-Solving Six Months Later

Molly Marsh, AMR Director of Education and Engagement Design


It's difficult to believe, but we’re coming up on six months since the AMR internal professional development conference; IdeaCON. The results were wonderful, with 82.6% of participants indicating the event made them feel more connected to their peers and 73.9% responding that they learned new skills or information about association management. The qualitative feedback was probably the most persuasive, however, showing that the greatest value of IdeaCON was the chance to gather together and build relationships among the AMR team in a purposeful way.

Collab Imagary

The project team component of the program (Click here for a refresher!) was one of these key collaborative experiences for cross-functional relationship building. While certainly not every idea shared was destined for greatness, it would be difficult to look at the evolution of AMR over the last six months and not see the imprint of IdeaCON recommendations on many of the strategic changes:

  • Basecamp – Significant time and energy has been devoted (by many critical team members!) to improving and enhancing the consistency of Basecamp use within the AMR team. Not only have event templates been updated, templates now exist for a wide range of association projects, calendars and initiatives. Each client has developed (or is in the process of developing) annual timelines through Basecamp, leveraging the tool across departments to facilitate better accountability to deadlines and delivery of quality services to our clients. We have also recently implemented a SuperUser group to develop a best practices guide as well as to serve as a resource for questions, tips, etc.
  • Managing Conflict – Integrated with the Entrepreneurial Operating System implementation, AMR revealed updated organizational values which more accurately reflect the nature of our work community. Not only are ongoing performance conversations being held in line with these values, leadership conversations have been focused on problem-solving and open communication when issues arise. Quarterly roundtable meetings are being held between HR and employees as a way to keep the lines of communication open and to address issues and concerns in an open environment. Finally, many association clients spent the spring leveraging AMR’s Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Toolkit to develop stronger policies and procedures establishing expectations for appropriate conduct.
  • Developing a Data-Strategy – AMR is in the process of implementing the MemberClicks database system for most clients, addressing one of the biggest challenges identified: centralizing data for each association. While there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, securing a stronger data solution is a critical first step. Also, part of the impetus for department realignment was to maintain the strong shared-services benefits of database expertise with the depth of knowledge that comes from more time and experience with individual clients. This shift was made – in part – to help provide more capacity for our shared services departments to think strategically about the needs of association clients and their members.   
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