The Grass Roots of Our Industry
Home Care Associations – The Grass Roots of Our Industry
By Stephen Tweed, CSP
In a few weeks, I’ll celebrate 26 years as a member of The National Speakers Association, my professional society. Over those 26 years, I’ve spent over 250 days of my precious time and over $100,000 of my own money participating in association conferences, committees, the Board of Directors, and as national President. My wife and business partner, Elizabeth Jeffries, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, and I have traveled around the world from Australia to South Africa, and Great Britain to The Netherlands speaking at international conferences.
Why would a successful business person spend so much time and so much money traveling around the world hanging out with people who do what I do and who are, in reality, my competitors?
There are three distinct reasons I’ve been so actively involved in NSA:
Over these past 26 years, I’ve grown my business, increased my income, and made wonderful connections with new friends around the world. My wife, Elizabeth, and I met at the NSA convention in Atlanta in 1990, and married in 1992. Since then, we have built a wonderful lifestyle with the right balance of meaningful work, family time, frequent play, international travel, and wonderful friendships.
There is no doubt in my mind that my membership and involvement in my professional association has enriched my life and helped me contribute more to the home health care industry.
You too, can enrich your life, grow your business, make more money, and have more balance in your life by being actively involved in your state or national home care association.
Six Tips to Get More Value from Your Association Membership
Last week I was speaking in Boston, MA., for the New England Home Care Conference put on by six state associations. The week before that, I was in Indianapolis, IN for the Indiana Association for Home & Hospice Care. Two weeks before that I was in Raleigh, NC for the Association for Home & Hospice Care of North Carolina.
In all of these cities, I met enthusiastic, excited association leaders who are making a difference in their own home care agencies, in their communities, in their associations, and in their industry. Over the years since I attended my first Pennsylvania Association of Home Health Agencies (now the Pennsylvania Homecare Association) conference in Harrisburg, PA, I’ve come to realize that your involvement in your association is your key to success. The leaders in home care in America are also the leaders of their state and national associations.
Here are six things you can do to grow in your leadership skills while serving your association and your industry:
1. Attend Regularly
Make it a habit to attend your association’s annual meeting every year. Don’t look at the program to see if it’s interesting. Don’t look at your checkbook to see if you can afford it. Just put it on the calendar and be there. You can’t afford not to.
2. Serve on a Committee
My first introduction to leadership in associations was serving on a committee at my local chapter. Then I served on the national finance committee. That was the very best place to learn about the workings of our association and our industry.
Get involved. Serve on a committee.
3. Chair a Committee
There are some natural born leaders, but Leadership is a learned competency. You’ll learn leadership skills by leading a committee. It’s different than being a leader in your own agency. Both are important. If you can lead volunteers to accomplish significant goals, you can lead anyone.
4. Chair a Conference or Convention
If you want to really grow in your leadership and management skills, serve as the annual conference or convention chair. You’ll learn planning, organizing, facilitating, scheduling, platform skills, customer service, and problem solving being a meeting chair. You’ll also gain great visibility and move your association leadership involvement forward.
5. Serve on the Board of Directors
If you want to know what’s going on in home health care, and be involved in shaping the future, then serve on your association board of directors. Not only will you make decisions that shape the future of your association and your industry, but you’ll be better informed than 99% of the other people in this industry. Information is Power, and you’ll have more information than almost everyone.
6. Run for President
In 2003, I served as President of the National Speakers Association. It was the culmination of four years on the board and three years in the presidential succession, and it was an amazing experience. I learned more about leadership, more about the speaking business, and more about running an organization than anything I’ve ever done. And the biggest payoff was in the thousands of friends I made around the world … from the 38 chapters in the United States, to 11 chapters in Canada, to my new friends in Great Britain, South Africa, and Australia. If you really want to change your life and your leadership talents for the better, serve as the President of your association. You’ll never be the same … and that’s great!
To get involved in your state or national home care association, visit these web sites:
The Home Care and Hospice Financial Managers Association (HHFMA) – www.hhfma.org National Association for Home Care & Hospice – www.nahc.org National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization– www.nhpco.org National Private Duty Association – www.privatedutyhomecare.org
About the Author: Stephen Tweed, CSP, is Chairman and CEO of Leading Home Care … a Tweed Jeffries company in Louisville, KY. He is the editor and publisher of Home Health Care Today, the leading electronic newsletter for home health agency executives, and a frequent speaker at state and national home care association conferences and corporate meetings. He can be reached at 502-339-0653, or at www.leadinghomecare.com.