What Makes an Organization Remarkable?

Dave Kilby

What sets successful chambers of commerce apart from others—or to put it another way, what’s the difference between being great and good?

While I’m sure that answers to the above can vary widely, I often revisit the classic American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) best-selling book 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t, published in 2006, for my talking points.

ASAE’s research revealed seven measures that differentiate remarkable organizations from their counterparts. No one measure outweighs the others and ALL contribute equally to an organization’s ability to innovate, grow and thrive over time.

The measures are grouped into three categories:

Commitment to Purpose

• A Customer Service Culture—A “we’re here to serve” approach is built into the organization’s structure and processes.

• Alignment of Products and Services with Mission (not just making money) —Consistency with the organization’s mission remains central and unchanging.

Commitment to Analysis, Feedback

• Data-Driven Strategies—The organization not only excels at gathering and analyzing information, but also has processes in place to take action based on what is learned.

• Dialogue and Engagement—There’s a continuous internal conversation taking place about the organization’s direction and priorities.

• CEO as a Broker of Ideas—Although the CEO may be a visionary, what’s more important is that the CEO facilitates and promotes visionary thinking throughout the organization.

Commitment to Action

• Organizational Adaptability—Remarkable organizations learn from and respond to change; while they are willing to change, they also know what NOT to change.

• Alliance Building—The best organizations aren’t afraid to partner, but doing so has to be for the right purpose and in sync with long-term goals…not just for short-term gain.

How does your chamber measure up?

As I look around the chamber world, it seems that today’s best organizations definitely excel at the 7 Measures; AND, maybe most important…they also “have the right people on the bus”—outstanding leaders on their board of directors and talented professional staff.

All my best for you and your chamber being remarkable!

Dave Kilby is the president and CEO of W.A.C.E., and is executive vice president of corporate affairs at the California Chamber.