2016 Region 2 Spring PMI Leadership Institute Meeting –Day One

Both today (Friday, April 22, 2016) and tomorrow morning the Project Management Institute (PMI) is holding a Leadership Institute Meeting for Region 2 (Midwest US and Canada) in Oak Brook, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago.

First, let me start by saying why I went to the meeting.   I am the Director of Executive Council at the Chicagoland chapter of PMI.   Although this is the third year I’ve been a Director at PMI Chicagoland, it is the first time I’ve gone to a regional Leadership Institute Meeting.   Although membership is not my primary focus at the chapter, I was excited to see “Member Value and Growth” as the topic of the Region 2 LIM because my previous position as Director of Certification was one where I could see my direct connection to the membership experience of new members of the chapter.

In my new position as Director of Executive Council, executives, and not new members, were my “customers”, and I didn’t see how relevant I was to the membership situation at my chapter.   What this conference did for me was to a) to show me how wrong I was, that EVERY position ties in with membership either directly or directly, and b) to excite me about the potential value I could add to the organization.

Let’s first by saying what Region 2 is:    it c0nsists of 21 chapters in the following states or provinces:

  • Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Manitoba, Canada
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • Indiana

After the meet and greet opportunity in the morning, the keynote speaker was Mark Levin, who spoke on “Making the First Year Memorable:  10 Things Your Chapter Can Do to Bring Members Back for a Second Year.”    Mark Levin has served for over 20 years on the faculty of the Institutes for Organization Management, a continuing education program sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has helped tens of thousands of volunteer and staff leaders improve their associations with the programs he has given worldwide.

The situation is this:  the first year of membership is the most likely year for a member to drop out.   If you get them to sign up again for a second and, hopefully, a third year of membership, you will have someone who is likely to stay in the club on a permanent basis.   So it is not just about getting new members, but helping retain the members you DO have.

What we did in the afternoon, was have breakout sessions where we first of all listened to all of those who had similar roles in the 21 chapters of Region 2, in particular for those practices which helped attract and retain members.

Then in the following session, those who attended the earlier breakout session gathered together with members of their own chapter to decide which of the ideas presented by other chapters they would adopt.

Of course, there were so many ideas thrown out there that chapters had to prioritize, so we put the ideas in three categories:

  1. No-brainers:   ideas that could be implemented on a short time-scale of three months or less that would not involve the Board because they were required a minimal budget to implement
  2. Medium-term:  ideas that could be implemented on a medium time-scale of up to the end of this calendar year, which would involve the Board in terms of coordinating the various roles that would be involved in the implementation of the idea.
  3. Long-term:  ideas that the chapter would like to pursue in the next calendar year, but which are too complex to implement at present

Afterwards, each chapter presented their menu of chosen action items to the entire group.

The next part of the conference was a choice of topics, and I chose the topic of leadership development in the chapter.   This was facilitated by David Barrett, a project manager who is also a professional speaker.    This was a whole presentation on advice for Directors and Vice Presidents on how to improve their own leadership skills and to nurture the skills of others.

I am looking for to tomorrow’s half-day session!



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