20 Basic Questions to Ask Yourself, Board That Could Help Transform Your Chamber

Dave Kilby

While talking with a number of chamber executives lately about upcoming board retreats and conference planning, the following questions are among the items that seemed to come up on a regular basis.

Brainstorming these “20 Questions” with your leadership might help get everyone on the same page about what REALLY needs to be done to take your organization to the next level and be an all-star 3C—catalyst, convener and champion—chamber.

Common Questions

1. What are your components for this equation: ______+ _______+_______ = Chamber Success?

2. What is holding us back from achieving our fullest potential?

3. Do you do a good job tooting your own horn, taking credit and communicating your accomplishments?

4. Is there REAL value in your chamber without involvement?

5. Do you regularly use testimonials from raving fan members to tell their stories and communicate the value of the chamber?

6. Do you do regular focus groups, listening posts or 12 at 12 lunches with your members?

7. Do you do a good job using opinion research data to help you make decisions about priorities and strategies?

8. A foundational question to always keep in mind and have a clear answer for: Why is this (whatever you’re doing) important to your members?

9. What are the top two problems facing your community and your members, and is the chamber ready to step up and be a problem solver?

10. Is “running the chamber like a business” more than a slogan at your chamber?

11. When people think of your chamber, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

12. Are you and the leaders of your chamber happy with the answer to Question 11?

13. What do you do to help new businesses succeed after you “cut the ribbon” at their grand opening?

14. Do you have the “willingness to risk” and go for “new and improved,” or are you OK with doing what got you where you are today?

15. If you were going to embrace a new business model, what ideas would be at the top of your list?

16. Do you have (should you have) a group that does nothing but horizon-scanning and focus on future issues?

17. What mission-related things are you going to do over the next 12 months that will take things “up a notch” AND can be monetized?

18. Who are the protectors of the past at your chamber?

19. Do you have what it takes to attract to your chamber and retain the talented people who have the skills and attitude to make things happen?

20. Would your chamber members be better served if you got focused and served up a limited menu instead of the undisciplined pursuit of more?

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