How can you strengthen relationships among your team members to ensure greater project success?
By Rachel Azark
One of the relationships that is important to strengthen in the association world is the relationship between the editor and the administrative leadership. June Pinyo, managing editor, National Association for Healthcare Quality (Association Management Center) and Beth Zemach, senior program and Product Analyst for the National Association for Healthcare Quality, presented on this topic at the recent Association Media & Publishing education session in Chicago.
There are a few issues that continually show up between editors and leaderships when new projects are presented or the board of directors suddenly has a great idea for publications. These include:
- We didnít allocate enough money for that.
- We didnít anticipate the related costs outside of printing.
- We donít have enough time for the possible setbacks.
- We donít have a Plan B.
- We learned of some important factors too late after board approval.
If these issues sound familiar in your organization, there are a few things that can be done to improve the situation.
Strategic Plan and Goals
One of the biggest things that can help keep the team on track is having goals and a strategic plan in place. This can help prevent everything from running off the track when new ideas come in or a sudden lack of money for new projects. Strategic plans can be helpful for both very large projects and for publications that have been apart of the association for many years.
"We believe that it is always important to reflect on how well the product/publication is answering what the strategic plan calls for, at least on a yearly basis,Ē says Pinyo.
The goals you would like to reach with your publications and projects should also be defined early on. "The strategic plan of a publication should fit into the larger associationís plan. It is a touch point with customers reflecting the associationís mission and should meet well-defined goals,Ē adds Zemach. "In addition to the evaluation value, a strategic plan also is an excellent communication device to keep editors, writers, and the association board all on the same page.Ē
Communication is Key
Once the strategic plan is in place, putting the team together to carry out the goals is the next step. It should be considered an investment to bring in all the players early on to avoid unnecessary expenses later.
When building the team, it is important to have diversity. Look at who has done this sort of project before so that you have someone with experience. Then examine what departments will be affected and get them on board. Also, consider who will be responsible for what piece.
Finally, remember that for everyone to work together, trust needs to be a big piece of the puzzle. It is tremendously helpful when everyone trusts everyone elseís expertise. If that sort of trust is well developed, then everyone can do their job and no one oversteps their boundaries.
"Iíve found that by increasing face-to-face contact with the executive directors, they learn more about my motives, intentions, and skills,Ē says Pinyo. "This means they learn to trust me more because Iím able to learn more about them and their goals for the association.Ē
Regular meetings with the internal staff will help with communications and keep everyone on the same page when handling various situations. Regular meetings help maintain a good relationship between everyone.
The final key is to know that each project is a learning experience and that mistakes will be made. The good news is that mistakes will help you make notes about what to do in the future when encountering similar situations.
Rachel Azark is the editorial assistant for the Chicago Dental Societyís CDS Review. Association Media & Publishing thanks her for volunteering to cover this education session for our members who were unable to attend.