Ken Monroe Chairman & CEO, Bostrom kmonroe@bostrom.com

 

As a leading professional services firm specializing in full-service management, outsourcing, and consulting, Bostrom is fully aware of the dynamic nature of today’s environment that all non-profit organizations face. Member expectations, market forces for non-dues revenue sources, public policy and advocacy needs, information dissemination in an era of changing publishing business models, social media as an evolving mode of communications, and the changing nature of on-site meetings all provide challenges to the ongoing effectiveness of the modern association. These and other factors make the management process increasingly complex as efforts to meet these challenges must not only be responsive to the change factors in each area, but also must take into account the “big picture” strategic implications of how each area impacts the others. Solutions are no longer self-contained responses to individual issues; they must be part of an integrated response to the overall effectiveness of the total organization.

Agility and synergy are therefore critical elements of successful management in today’s complex environment. Earlier editions of SOLUTiONS (Spring 2014 issue) discussed the concept of agile management as an essential characteristic of modern management. The days of setting a strategic course on a five-year horizon and occasionally making minor course corrections are long gone. The increasingly dynamic and unpredictable management environment requires an agile mindset that is receptive to more frequent shifts in strategy than traditional management practice. Managers now live in a world of day-to-day potential for significant change. But success requires more than a shift in mindset and good sensing devices, it also requires agility in staffing, infrastructure, and financial management. Pacesetting organizations must have the ability to sense change, assess which changes are important and which are not, and then to move quickly to address challenges and opportunities.

Bostrom understands the importance of the agility-synergy syndrome that today’s approach to management requires. It is one of the hallmarks of our capabilities as one of a very few companies that provides both full service staffing and outsourcing as well as formal, dedicated consulting services. Over the past year, Bostrom has conducted an in-depth look at its service mix and client service approach and has made significant changes. Most recently, we announced the hiring of Dede Gish-Panjada as our new Vice President of Consulting. The announcement of Dede’s addition to the Bostrom senior management team noted that she “is a corporate culture change agent, critical thinker and problem-solver who is skilled in facilitating and leading key staff and volunteer leaders through the challenging process of organizational change, strategic planning, business modeling and growth development.”

This key addition to our consulting resources is only one part of the overall renewed emphasis on Bostrom’s commitment to making the combination of agility and synergy the foundation of its service mix. Bostrom has 85 plus years of experience and expertise in the not-for-profit arena with nationally recognized experts. Many of our staff have been association executives and have run successful organizations. We meld this experience base in the non-profit sector with a for-profit mindset, allowing Bostrom to bring together the best of both worlds to benefit our clients.

As part of Bostrom’s agile process of renewal on behalf of the association community, and carefully listening to senior leaders of associations, Bostrom offers a wide range of products, with special emphasis on organizational performance assessment, revenue diversification, business and growth modeling and human capital development. These areas of service are key strategic drivers that often enable growth and enhancement of more specific program activities such as growing and engaging membership, more effective meeting management, more responsive educational programs, and better day-to-day financial management.

The synergies we create for clients begin within the Bostrom team as we network to ensure that the best mix of expertise is brought to bear on clients’ needs and that as we work to solve one problem for a client we are sensitive to the impact of solutions on other aspects of the organization’s effectiveness. For example:

  • As full service clients look more intensively at the need for increased revenue diversification, there may be important human capital development implications that require attention.
  • As dues structures are examined as part of a membership growth strategy, it may be necessary to look carefully at new revenue diversification opportunities as an enabling strategy.
  • As publishing and communications strategies are updated, the need for a different digital strategy may be essential.
  • As consulting clients struggle with financial challenges related to changing membership and market conditions, outsourcing or full-service options may be important to consider.

Big picture thinking often leads to chain reaction evolution within organizations, and capitalizing on the synergy potential within the organization is the way to drive effective change with limited resources. This requires agility by associations, and by Bostrom, in its commitment to identify and meet those needs on behalf of its clients.