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Driving Change Management in Associations Across NA and EU

Alyx BernardoEvent Marketing

Alyx Bernardo,

Event Marketing

Apr 06, 2021

North America (NA) and Europe (EU) are facing the unprecedented socio-economic implications of COVID-19. The onset of the pandemic called for leaders’ active response in managing their remote teams successfully. Until today, they should continuously build effective strategies to stay resilient and survive as they keep up with the ever-changing dynamic of associations.

Glue Up’s recent thought leadership event ‘Association Leaders: Leading and Managing in 2021 - NA/EU’ gathered speakers from both regions. During the session, top leaders offered well-thought-out solutions and helpful strategies to promote effective leadership and manage a high-performing remote team during a pandemic.

Glue Up hosts events and webinars and invites top-notch association leaders and industry leaders to speak about industry challenges and opportunities. Learn more about our upcoming events.

Current Challenges and Outlook for the Future

“We are evolving, and probably one of the biggest challenges we encountered was a change in mindset and evolution from more established board members who used to do things in person. We would normally do handshakes and face-to-face kind of interactions, which held some value. Changing this mindset to be a productive business model as we move forward has been a challenge.”


"In leading an organization, every person that I was talking to was looking for one of these four things: compassion, stability, hope, and confidence that they could trust me. I always keep a balanced conversation with anyone I speak with."


"Every day was different. There was always something new coming out. As a team, we did an excellent job of compiling information and getting it out there. But everybody was struggling, so I think from our perspective, having an infrastructure in place and participating in webinars were essential. Moreover, the how and the why we're doing it were vital to our success, as we kept in touch with other leaders."


Leadership Management Standpoint: What’s the Next Phase?

"It will be hybrid for us. We also envision staggering work schedules so that they are not all in the offices at the same time. It can help mitigate any lingering effects, especially when prioritizing our staff's safety from the COVID-19 virus."

It's still a great unknown at this point. But what we've done with our staff, we redefined low rolls as soon as I came in. It's a solution to avoid overlaps, duplications, and backups in staffing. Today, we've created much more of a siloed effect where people are doing specific roles and redefining those."


We’re still trying to navigate that, but right now, we put in place where everyone works from home once a week. We’re working that out as a team to figure out whether that makes sense for us.


Transitioning Into a Virtual or Hybrid Office

“We cut down on travel and other things. Now they could sit at home, take the class, and be with our instructor virtually. We're keeping those that were effective during this crisis, moving forward, and trying to add the ones that worked in the past. Indeed, having that hybrid effect is working for more organizations.”

“I noticed the productivity increased. People were logging in early, getting their work done, and coming up with new ideas even though we had so much being thrown at us. You hire people because you trust that they will do what you ask them to, and what they’re supposed to be doing. So trust your gut.”


"I don't think that cultural and collaboration issues are going to be apparent, but that doesn't mean they aren't real. There's a challenge in maintaining a level of trust and communication through remote communications exclusively, which means that you need to have some physical contact. The jury's out, and we've yet to figure out some things as we go."

“You do more meetings and conversations. You send a lot of chats, and you set up one-on-one conversations throughout the organization. The big thing is you have to work at it like a long-term commitment. It doesn’t just happen, and you have to invest in that relationship. You have to develop new tools to build that connection. If you align your team around clear goals, you can achieve them. I'm optimistic about the future because I've seen what our organization can deliver in the industry.”


“The board unit unity has become a need, and it’s been a welcome necessity and a welcome result. It has helped us focus on the direction and the efforts of the association.”

“We did a lot of weekly Zoom meetings. Staff meetings give me a chance to brief them on what's coming up from the board. They can also see where they are on their projects. At least once a month, I sit down and call them individually to have a conversation at length because we're concerned about people's mental health as they've been on lockdown for quite some time.”


Events: Virtual, Hybrid, or In-Person?

"I think we're going to come out of it one step at a time. It's about the safety of people. The primal need is to feel safe. Being with your tribe is secondary. As much as we all want to, we're not going to do it yet, not until we feel safe doing it."


“Many of our dealers are showing up in smaller meetings that we're having. And once the vaccine is out, I'm optimistic that our convention will be very successful this year.”


“I can tell from the calls and inquiries we've received that there's been a pent-up interest and excitement about going back to the regular in-person events. They may not have the same volume of participants as in the past, but we're going to start rebuilding that base.”


Take the Leap Into the Digital Age

It has been a very challenging year for everyone and most associations are preparing to survive and thrive. As the digital age comes forward, embracing, managing change, and adapting to the fast-paced transformations are critical.

To help and digitalize the associations especially now that we are evolving towards the digital age, Glue Up offers an Association Management Software. To learn more about it, book a demo now.


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