In a monthly online happy hour, a group of friends always ends up venting about the same challenge: how to balance work, kids, and household duties during this crazy time. But one of them, a single mother, manages to work full-time from home, keep her kids on task with remote schooling, and if Zoom is to be believed, keep a clean house too. If that’s not enough, she’s always sharing pics of delicious-looking meals—during the week!
Her meal-making prowess is an example of a bright spot —a glimmer of success based on something she’s doing differently from the rest of her friends. If one of these ladies had heard best-selling authors Dan and Chip Heath talk about bright spots, she would figure out the supermom’s secret and share it with the rest of the gang.
Bright spots are a sign of something going right. Sometimes a chapter experiences unusual success because they’re doing something in a different way than other chapters. If you can identify those chapter bright spots and figure out what they’re doing differently, then you can reproduce those practices in other chapters.
In our last post, we described the six-step process for identifying chapter bright spots. Now, let’s talk about replicating bright spot behavior and practices.
The bright spot advantage: chapter-to-chapter solutions
Sad but true… chapter leaders are usually more receptive to new ideas and solutions from their chapter leader peers, not your team at HQ. The advantage of the bright spot is that it’s not HQ’s idea, it’s a proven practice from another chapter. You’re just there to facilitate the sharing process and support chapters with resources when necessary.
In the Vietnam story from our last two posts, aid worker Jerry didn’t push his organization’s solution for malnourished children onto families. Instead, he organized cooking circles where the bright spot mothers he identified showed their fellow villagers how they prepared meals differently. They served four small meals a day instead of two large bowls of rice, and they supplemented that rice with foraged sweet potato greens and protein, like tiny crabs and shrimp.
Bright spot practices or behavior don’t require extraordinary money or resources. The bright spot families in Vietnam weren’t receiving extra food or money from rich relatives elsewhere. They had the same resources as other families.
And the supermom friend? She wasn’t relying on meal delivery kits or a private chef. Her bright spot practice was prepping all her meals on Sunday afternoon and freezing them for later—not extraordinary resources, just an exceptional routine.
Share bright spots: exceptional chapter behavior and practices
Just like Jerry convinced the Vietnamese mothers to share their meal routines in cooking circles, you must convince a bright spot chapter to share the steps to their success. Chapter leaders are more likely to sit up and pay attention if a peer is describing something different.
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) hosted a virtual chapter leader meetup where one of their bright spot chapters described their golf tournament planning process—we’ll share more on this chapter bright spot below!
Publish meetup recordings on your chapter leader website and in your community library. If a chapter leader isn’t comfortable speaking in front of a virtual crowd, then you can record, with permission, your conversation with them about the bright spot process or practice.
Share highlights of the bright spot—and the results—in chapter leader newsletters and on your chapter resources web page. The American Guild of Organists (AGO) shares success stories in their chapter leader newsletter.
AGO’s San Diego chapter was wrestling with a common challenge: creating engaging virtual experiences for members. They knew it wouldn’t happen without leadership making it a priority so they eliminated member-at-large board positions and replaced them with new volunteer leadership roles:
- Hospitality coordinator
- Chapter life/social media coordinator
- Education coordinator
- Membership coordinator
- Newsletter editor/webmaster
- Placement coordinator
Their bright spot behavior was figuring out what to do to prioritize these new leadership responsibilities, creating new positions, and giving these volunteer leaders ownership, authority, and accountability for creating virtual engagement.
Provide bright spot support to chapters
Take away any barriers that chapters may encounter when trying to emulate bright spot behavior. For example, help them save time and energy by developing playbooks, templates, checklists, and timelines that will help them implement new practices. Or provide sample email, website, and marketing campaign copy—whatever makes it’s easy for them to adopt new behavior.
The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is developing a step-by-step template for a bright spot discovered at their Minnesota chapter. Where they’re allowed, CAI chapters want to host in-person golf tournaments but are worried about attendance and sponsorship. The Minnesota chapter retained nearly all their tournament sponsors and sponsorship revenue and met their attendance goals as well.
CAI learned that the chapter executive director had a very methodical approach for transitioning from a traditional in-person event to a Covid-friendly event. He broke down every aspect of the event and identified which elements needed adjustment due to public health restrictions and guidelines.
CAI is translating that methodical approach to templates that will help other chapters navigate the same transition. For example, the template provides a step-by-step process for:
- Communicating with members.
- Working with sponsors on a new Covid-friendly approach to events.
- Managing event logistics, such as registration, tournament format, and golf carts.
- Providing food and drinks.
- Hosting an awards ceremony, in this case, a switch to a virtual event with a raffle and drone footage instead of the traditional awards banquet.
If your chapter bright spot requires a drastic change in behavior or departure from tradition, ask a few chapters to do a pilot project for you. Work closely with them to implement the changes. Their success will show other chapters that the bright spot changes are doable and desirable.
Turn on your bright spot radar
Sometimes a bright spot emerges, but you may miss it unless you’re continuously watching chapters from afar. Figure out a way to keep track of what chapters are doing so you can spot bright spots.
- Subscribe to chapter newsletters.
- Schedule regular “what’s new” calls to chapter leaders.
- Check chapter websites on a regular basis.
- Read everything in your chapter leader community.
Questions to get you revved up…
How will you incentivize chapter leaders to share their processes with you? What would make it worth their time?
How will you arrange for chapter leaders to share their bright spot practices with other leaders?
What resources will you provide to make change in behavior possible?
Which chapters are more likely to try out a new idea? Who are your chapter leader champions?
How can your CRP network help you in this endeavor?
To identify bright spots, you need more visibility into your chapter data. Let us know if you’re interested in learning how Billhighway can help you discover chapters with exceptional behavior and practices.