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Michael_Gan
02-10-2008, 05:44 PM
Hi Marc,

I think the thread ended up the way it's going because you posted this under "affiliate leaders. So we answered based on what does the earning of the degree(s) pertain to the affiliates. But to answer your question directly, yes, I think it is easier to get your craftsman nowadays, BUT, the information age has changed the landscape of "mode of operation". That is, if there wasn't any change made with regards to availability of merits, it was quite possible that the Craftsman Degree program might die on the vine. PPA probably saw that change is necessary and gradually added new ways to earn the Cr..

Which brings me to my next point regarding Jack's comment:



I'm sorry but a "closed door" approach will create competition in a bad way. Better to have those photographer included, not excluded in education. It's up to leadership to figure out how to make membership worthwhile. Being "exclusive" is not a good long term solution. If there is enough "exclusion" you will see another local association form and that causes all sorts of political problems. We've already seen that in areas in the past.

I would agree with you probably 10 years ago that you bring in as many bodies as possible, but like the change previously mentioned before this quote, change in governance is absolutely necessary in this day and age. As a speaker up and down the state of California, I've been sitting with each of the boards and talking membership and organization. Alarmingly, nearly all of the associations are in critical care mode because they have not changed their governance style since the time of their inception (some are over 40 years old).

The common thing I found with all of these associations are:

"We have more 'apprentice members' than active members".

"Our older members and master photographers aren't coming anymore"

"We can't get enough money to bring in the right programs"

"Our board members consist of members who've been in this association for less than 2 years (this is a significant problem)"

"our members are upset at the aspiring/apprentice members practicing without a license"

"Our President is facing a third term because nobody else wants to step up (this is common in nearly all of the 18 California State Affiliates)"

"our membership renewal rate is at 40% of our normal membership numbers"

I could go on, but you get the idea. And from what I heard from PPA sources, this is not just a California thing. Even regionals and states are having financial whoas.

We saw the same problems as our sister affiliates three years ago. Last year we had two board members (2 year members) start an argument that PPA and PPC is not needed in the structure of our association. This was absolutely alarming to all the past presidents, charter members and 60 PPA members. "Oh my! These two might be President and VP in the next two years!"

So, you have to adapt and change. Marc once talked about his association and asked how the other associations are doing. I, and a bunch of us in the Northern California Association used to be very active members of that group. Most of us were former board members. When we left, there were up wards of 350 members in that group. Last PPC report was that numbers had dwindled to about 180 members (and counting their online roster, that seems to be correct). So you have to look at the cause and effect. Many of us left that group because there were too many aspiring/apprentice members. Why should we drive over 1.5 hours in SF Bay Area Traffic to get very little out of the meetings? For us older members, none of our friends were attending anymore. So, what can you deduce from all of this? Certainly it would make a lot of sense to rethink the standards of governance. The truth is, two local associations, Northern California and Redword Empire formed because of the aspiring problem.

Tough love for the apprentices? You bet! I apprenticed with a couple of very well known fashion photographers, and they worked my tail off and they nearly slapped the back of my hands many times for doing things mediocre. Are we an association that wants to promote mediocrity? If your photographic leadership ceases to come to your meetings, who's going to lead the sheep in the right path? A bunch of two year members who's only been in business for less than five years, or a bunch of Master Craftsmen who's been in the business for 20 or more years? Which would you choose?

It just doesn't make sense anymore, at least on the State and local levels.

Marc_Benjamin
02-10-2008, 06:33 PM
Last PPC report was that numbers had dwindled to about 180 members (and counting their online roster, that seems to be correct). So you have to look at the cause and effect. Many of us left that group because there were too many aspiring/apprentice members.

---- see now you got me on this tangent as well, wonder if we should take this on a different thread----

Ey now, well we don't really list our students/aspiring and retired members on the website so that true number is really closer to 250. I think that 350 you mention was pre-split which makes sense since the two spin offs each took probably at least 50 each.

I can't really speak in a "official" capacity but my personal opinion is that PPGBA is has always been open and aspiring/semi-pro friendly no pressure with a no compulsory homework kind of a group feel. I think it's culture is gonna continue like that. Oh and not only San Francisco, I'm with Sacramento also which is probably at 155 and that's how things are there also. They even go as far as inviting entire community college classes to the meetings.

Now if the old timers are really just showing up because they want to hang out with their old friends then wouldn't that be say a little to click'ish?

--------------------------

David_A._Lottes
02-10-2008, 07:01 PM
Now that I think (if I'm reading everyones post right) the consensus it there's not really much incentive in the merits to begin with. ?

OK I'm starting to think I don't really understand the system. When this whole merit thing was introduced to me it was in the context that (People who want to give back, get degrees to show people they are willing to help) That was it. No this means they're good or this means their smart or anything like that. Just hey, when you see someone with a ribbon on, it means they are willing to help you out. :confused:

I know lots of great business people and terrific photographers who don't have any merits and never will. I have just always assumed they don't go after them because they don't have the time or the inclination to wear a sign that says they would mentor other photographers.

I am slowly but surely pursuing my degrees because I learn from it and I am willing to help when asked. If I need to be more than that to deserve wearing the ribbons then I probably won't ever get them. Not a big deal really. A good incentive for me would be a free oil change. :)

Marc_Benjamin
02-10-2008, 07:13 PM
OK I'm starting to think I don't really understand the system. Not a big deal really. A good incentive for me would be a free oil change. :) You know what, maybe I'm the one who's really thinking that it was more of an incentive than it was a reward. You know that oil change incentive sounds good. Though I would like to at least get a brushless car wash in addition to.

Michael_Gan
02-10-2008, 07:19 PM
Nope, not it. 350 count was as little as 3 years ago. PPRE started 20 years ago and NCPP started 10.

Clicques were not it, because the masters at the time were there to share which gave rise to a whole bunch of Masters who've now moved to Redwood Empire and Northern California. But you know what was the single most reason for leaving GBA? Internal Politics. From the time GBA started to divest itself from PPC about 20 years ago, many felt the direction was not in the best interest of the Professional actives.

Please, Marc, keep in mind that many of us, including myself, still have a place in our heart for GBA. We all cut our teeth from that group. But the main difference was that Me, Hanson Fong, Jim Fidelibus, Mary Small, Tom Dawdy, Peg Jackson, John Pauson, Judy Host, Lisa Evans, Diedre Lingenfelter and many others in our "Master's Generation" had Barry Evans, Ted Gurney, Gage White, Paul Tumason, David Peters, Bob Pierce, Harvey Henningsen, Fred English, Virgina Felch (Clayton) Bill Martinelli and many other Masters to look up to. I'm counting and praying for you, Paul Tsang, Zee Bezehbeh and Julie Olson to rebuild that aspect of GBA. See the difference in numbers of Master then, as opposed to now?

Getting back to the craftsman. Its quite often that those who attain their degrees for selfish reasons usually don't get asked to speak anymore. If I were in it strictly for the degree, I wouldn't be spouting off this much on this forum, toaster, or not. :D

Stan_Lawrence
02-10-2008, 07:42 PM
"David Peters, Bob Pierce, Harvey Henningsen"

You haven't live until you've judged print comp with those three....I've spoken at PPRE a number of times, every time I was blown away by the work these three do......just amazing.....:cool:

KirkDarling
02-10-2008, 08:39 PM
"We have more 'apprentice members' than active members".
"Our older members and master photographers aren't coming anymore"
"We can't get enough money to bring in the right programs"
"Our board members consist of members who've been in this association for less than 2 years (this is a significant problem)"
"our members are upset at the aspiring/apprentice members practicing without a license"
"Our President is facing a third term because nobody else wants to step up (this is common in nearly all of the 18 California State Affiliates)"
"our membership renewal rate is at 40% of our normal membership numbers

Are you sure that's all the fault of the newbies? I'm not an old-timer in PPA, but I've had a lifetime of experience leading men and women through tougher times and situations than ever occurs at an association of photographers.

How can it be the newbies' fault if they just got there and aren't running anything? That would be like a general blaming the loss of the war on the privates.

I can gauran-doggone-tee you every single one of those problems is a result of neglecting the people in the middle.

The question isn't what's happening at the entry level, it's what's happening at the middle levels where all the real work is being done. In the military, that's the middle-grade sergeants and middle-rank officers, the squad leaders and platoon leaders.

What motivations and incentives exists for people who are beyond "entry level" but still below "master?" Those are the people who are training the newbies and in training to be the leaders. What do you give those people that makes staying in the battle important to them?

It's not about the newbies, it's about the people in the middle.

Stan_Lawrence
02-10-2008, 08:45 PM
"What motivations and incentives exists for people who are beyond "entry level" but still below "master?""

Great question, and it applies to experienced pros that stopped attending meetings. Telling them they "owe us" is no real reason. If they give those folks an incentive to be there, make it worthwhile for them, they wouldn't have a lot of these challenges.....:cool:

Todd_Reichman
02-10-2008, 09:01 PM
Well, I'd like to consider myself as a member of that "middle class" and ultimately it feels like everyone falls into 3 categories - MWAC-type newbies, rockstar speakers, and old Masters. Granted, that's judgmental and unfair, but it feels like trends in the industry have forced a certain distance in membership. There are a ton of youngsters that need to be brought up to snuff. Alot of the education out there is really aimed at bringing those people up who might be dragging the market down - and I think rightly so.

However, as a member of that middle class, I'm finding it difficult to know where to go for advice, inspiration and methods of improvement. It seems like those middle class folks are finding what they need more from forums like this and annual seminars rather than local associations. Most of the photographers that I know who seem to be at a similar level wouldn't be caught dead at a local (or any PPA gathering) meeting, but they go to WPPI every year. Why do you think that is? Is PPA and the local/regional organzation structure not as "sexy," for lack of a better word? What are they getting from those organizations that they apparently don't think they are going to get from their locals?

Anybody have an opinion? I have yet to attend a local, and due to a scheduling issue won't be attending until possibly the fall seminar. I didn't even know about it until recently! Is it an issue of the locals not effectively marketing the value or benefit?

- trr (not an affiliate leader :))

Michael_Gan
02-10-2008, 09:24 PM
Are you sure that's all the fault of the newbies? I'm not an old-timer in PPA, but I've had a lifetime of experience leading men and women through tougher times and situations than ever occurs at an association of photographers.

How can it be the newbies' fault if they just got there and aren't running anything? That would be like a general blaming the loss of the war on the privates.

I can gauran-doggone-tee you every single one of those problems is a result of neglecting the people in the middle.

The question isn't what's happening at the entry level, it's what's happening at the middle levels where all the real work is being done. In the military, that's the middle-grade sergeants and middle-rank officers, the squad leaders and platoon leaders.

What motivations and incentives exists for people who are beyond "entry level" but still below "master?" Those are the people who are training the newbies and in training to be the leaders. What do you give those people that makes staying in the battle important to them?

It's not about the newbies, it's about the people in the middle. The common problem of these associations is that there are no middle grade sargeants and middle rank officers. The newbies are the officers. This is my point of all of this. All of the upper rank people, the established working pros aren't coming to the meetings, or getting involved anymore, and all the middle rank people aren't going because they are burned out. So, it comes down to who's training whom? There are at least five affiliates where their president has less than 3 years membership in their associations, all the rest except four have presidents serving a 2nd, 3rd, and some have come back for 4th terms of office because they either don't have enough members, or they can't find anymore to serve.

Michael_Gan
02-10-2008, 09:43 PM
OK here's where this is all kinda connected. With degrees come some form of leadership and knowledge (we hope, anyway). If the leadership does not exist, photographically, educationally, or organizationally, one may have to wonder, where these teachers are sprouting up from?

If indeed it is too easy to receive a Craftsman, does this bode well that the rest of the association is learning from less than qualified Teachers?

Personnally, I say no, because students, I hope, can ferret out the good teachers from the bad ones, and these people get weeded out eventually. Or do they?

Rick_Massarini
02-11-2008, 05:39 AM
If indeed it is too easy to receive a Craftsman, does this bode well that the rest of the association is learning from less than qualified Teachers?

I believe that a qualified teacher in this business is anybody who has valuable information and is willing to share it with their peers. I've always said that you can always learn something from everybody and anybody! I've heard many new photographers speak, and even though I've been around this business for over 30 years now, there's always something I can learn from them - no matter how far above or below me they are on the scale of experience. It is really only the "really very stupid" who are so arrogant that they believe that they are so smart that they can't learn something from a "newbie". A dedicated student (no matter how young or old) can ferret out the "pearls of wisdom" from the mountain of information being offered by all the speakers that are out there, both old masters and young bulls. And it is these dedicated students who will take those pearls and turn them into gold (in the bank)!!!

KirkDarling
02-12-2008, 07:26 PM
A dedicated student (no matter how young or old) can ferret out the "pearls of wisdom" from the mountain of information being offered by all the speakers that are out there, both old masters and young bulls.

I think it's a natural reaction, however, that if one is paying for instruction, one should not have to ferret out the pearls of wisdom.

If one is diving for pearls in the open ocean, one can expect that some oysters are empty. But if one is buying an oyster at a cultured pearl farm where the signs advertise, "A Pearl in Every Oyster," then one has reason to expect there to be a pearl in every oyster he buys.

I'll open a new topic for this different thread.

Michael_Black
02-12-2008, 08:46 PM
I've been a member of many forums over the years and I am finding that much of the comraderie that I used to get at the Guild monthly I now get online every day.

I also can just get on the phone and talk shop with some of my friends.

Many times the monthly meetings are scheduled the same time as my kids' athletic events - BB, softball, dance. It's hard to say no to your kids when they are still young.

Todd_Reichman
02-12-2008, 08:57 PM
Interesting point. Definetly the 'net has allowed us to get some of those benefits that the affiliates/locals used to satisfy. Anyone care to weigh in on what the locals can still provide that the net will never do better?

- trr

Jackie_Haggerty
02-12-2008, 08:58 PM
I've been a member of many forums over the years and I am finding that much of the comraderie that I used to get at the Guild monthly I now get online every day.

I also can just get on the phone and talk shop with some of my friends.

Many times the monthly meetings are scheduled the same time as my kids' athletic events - BB, softball, dance. It's hard to say no to your kids when they are still young.


Michael,

I agree with you on the comraderie- and believe that is the direct result from the changing times of our world these days. The question is then how do we implement the same type of comraderie back into our affiliates that used to be seemingly apparent in the 'good old days'?

Auralee_Dallas
02-12-2008, 09:18 PM
I'm a member at PPSV (Sacramento Valley). I can't emphasize enough how valuable this group has been to me as well as the two other locals I previously was a member. Not trying to be negative, but I don't know what PPCalifornia does for me except for being able to enter print comp once a year. It's usually done 500 miles from where I live so I never have been. The local affiliate has meetings 10 times a year and almost always a good speaker, two day-long symposiums a year with prominent speakers, print comp every month. We don't have very many Master's that attend, so the judging at print comp is a panel made up of members and the speaker or speakers. It's a wonderful group of supportive folks all in varying stages of their business career. I can't even imagine where I would be without this group. Ironically none of the numerous other photographers around my area belong. It's a 100 mile round trip for me, but well worth it. We have new and old members on our Board and great participation.

As far as the Craftsman Degree, I don't know much about it. I thought is was more of a service degree--speaking and holding office and writing articles.
I should look it up so I understand, although I have no interest in getting one.

Jackie_Haggerty
02-12-2008, 09:20 PM
Auralee,

What do you feel your locals that you thought so much of did for you? What did you do for them?

David_A._Lottes
02-12-2008, 09:42 PM
In my case it was a small sub state group like the Northern group you belong to Jackie. This was my first "professional" membership after college. I earned my Photographic fellowship degree (their version of the masters). As a young twenty something it gave me the chance to spend time with people who had been there and done that. I had so much to learn I could blindly grab anyone in the room and learn from them. I still think of most of those people as family even though most of them are now retired. We shared sets for Christmas promos, doubled up on proms at big schools, got together just as friends to hang out. In return I was the chairman of the hospitality suite at every convention for years. It became a tradition for the police to shut us down after getting calls from other guests. :D Volunteering to be the hospitality chairman was the smartest thing I did to get to know those folks. I would "tend bar" all night long and just listen to everyone who walked through the door. When a salesman from a camera shop got a job with Calumet in California he told me he made them wait for him to start until after our convention mostly because of my hospitality suite! :cool:

Jackie_Haggerty
02-12-2008, 09:46 PM
And where are you now, Dave? Hmmmmmm? :D :p

David_A._Lottes
02-12-2008, 10:01 PM
Well......
I'm at a crossroads. I'm still an APPI member mostly cause you guilted me into that last year but ...I'm old and rotten enough now that I don't make such great company. So I'm thinking I could take the money I spend on APPI and do more PPA stuff. Go to both Super Mondays and Convention and maybe do a SMS workshop or some webinars. I'm having a GenX moment. We'll see....we'll see. :confused:

Jackie_Haggerty
02-12-2008, 10:17 PM
Guilted into it, eh? One can't do that to someone else- so if you have guilt associated with being a member that is your own doing. I personally feel guilty for NOT doing something to help the organization if I see where it needs help. We did have a discussion last year about our organization, and I know you saw changes that needed to be happening there also- remember the 'revolution'? I just haven't seen you around.

You and I and a number of other people are the 'middle-man' being referred to in this thread- so what happens to an organization if nobody steps up and moves an organization to the next generation.

Why do you feel you are at a crossroads?

Michael_Gan
02-12-2008, 10:21 PM
Many times the monthly meetings are scheduled the same time as my kids' athletic events - BB, softball, dance. It's hard to say no to your kids when they are still young.
Kinda funny because photographers routinely give up their kid's games in lieu of weddings :D (note, laughy face).



We don't have very many Master's that attend, so the judging at print comp is a panel made up of members and the speaker or speakers.
Question is, how is the quality of the work coming out of your association in comparison to PPA standards? Do you find it harder to pursue your Masters degree when there are very few who are qualified to judge your images properly? This is what I mean by photographic leadership.



I don't know what PPCalifornia does for me except for being able to enter print comp once a year.
This has been a problem for PPC for years: Transparent benefits. Many things are an indirect benefit. PPC spends a lot of resources training your affiliate presidents to lead your association properly. Now, whether they learn properly, or not is a whole different story. But, stay tuned, because there are some new ideas that need to be ratified on the state level that will be very apparent in the perceived benefits column.

Michael_Gan
02-12-2008, 10:25 PM
You and I and a number of other people are the 'middle-man' being referred to in this thread- so what happens to an organization if nobody steps up and moves an organization to the next generation.
This is my original discussion that stemmed from Marc. Unless there is a good leadership system in your organization, you and David will probably slowly creep away leaving the governance of the association to the newbie members. That's what's happening all over the country.

David_A._Lottes
02-12-2008, 10:30 PM
Yes, I remember. And it's still true. We only get out of these groups what we put into them. I don't want to offend anyone at APPI because I know they are over worked and NOT paid. I have always been a supporter of the local and state groups...even if I'm MIA most of the time I still send my check, HA I paid for last years fall seminar and then didn't go because I was too worn out from my wedding on Saturday....I think they serve a real need. But I'm really leaning towards the offerings PPA has instead of spending the money locally and trust me this is contrary to everything I've believed in all my life. I'm the guy who won't shop at Wal-Mart because nothing in the place was produced locally. So there's the crossroads. Spend my time and money locally which has always been my way of thinking or go all national. I'm working hard to try and cover both but if something has to be cut out it won't be PPA. That's all I'm sayin. :cool:

Jackie_Haggerty
02-12-2008, 10:31 PM
This is my original discussion that stemmed from Marc. Unless there is a good leadership system in your organization, you and David will probably slowly creep away leaving the governance of the association to the newbie members. That's what's happening all over the country.


That is exactly my point, Michael. It is up to us to step up and do it. I am a new member (in my 3rd year) but I am willing to learn and do what I can so this doesn't happen down the road. It is one thing to be aware of the problem, it is another to do something about it. If you are one that knows it exists, and doesn't do something to help, then you are just as guilty to the demise of the association.

So what is the call to action for those that need it? In todays world where there is so much knowledge and inspiration at our fingertips we have to be willing to look for new ways to help the organizations to grow and thrive once again.

I would like to explore the topic of how we can help our associations in todays world-

David_A._Lottes
02-12-2008, 10:35 PM
Well, have you volunteered for any of the committees that Wayne sent the email out about? I haven't and yes I have guilt.......

Todd_Reichman
02-12-2008, 11:10 PM
hope this doesn't become bash the APPI just because there are several of us posting about it! I for one would like to see more organizational events. As far as I can tell, APPI meets twice a year. That's great, but if you can't make one of the meetings, the value of membership really diminishes. Maybe we (the middle-men) need to proactively schedule and plan more get togethers, or structured shoots, etc.

- trr

David_A._Lottes
02-12-2008, 11:20 PM
Todd
With the merging of Indiana and Illinois in MARC the members of both organizations can attend both groups events at member rates. So there are two other events you can go to but one of Indiana's is all ready over for this year. But technically your APPI membership gives you access to four events a year at member rates now. For those entering MARC regional print comp in March at APPI the February Indiana event would have been a nice trial run. Note to self.....bookmark Indiana Professional Photographers homepage so that I know when the meetings are. :rolleyes:

Jackie_Haggerty
02-13-2008, 12:17 AM
Actually, as a member of APPI, there is a list of states in which you can attend other state conventions at the same rates as the members of that state- not only Indiana but also Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa and Kentucky. It is listed on the APPI web site ( www.appillinois.com ) under Resources>Education>Reciprocal State Conventions.

Todd, this is not at all a 'bash' but the thread only an exploration of what the middleman needs to be doing to keep the organizations alive and thriving. As David pointed out, our state board, and from my understanding of a lot of organizations, is over worked and NOT paid- the overworked is directly a result people not volunteering to help- exactly the point of the article I had posted the other day about volunteering for your organization. An organization is not an organization by itself - it is an organzation of it's people that contribute to its livelihood. The people ARE the organization.

David- on a personal note, yes- I have volunteered and am still volunteering.

KirkDarling
02-13-2008, 12:27 AM
There is a verse in the Old Testament of the bible: "Thou shalt not bind the mouths of the kine that tread the grain." In other words, the ones doing the work get freebies.

Jackie_Haggerty
02-13-2008, 12:28 AM
Maybe we (the middle-men) need to proactively schedule and plan more get togethers, or structured shoots, etc.

- trr


Todd,

Already in the works ;) . You know what they say about great minds.... This has been a conversation among a number of people, and given time I believe you will see some developments.

David_A._Lottes
02-13-2008, 12:40 AM
Thanks for the link Jackie. :)

Michael_Gan
02-13-2008, 12:45 AM
So what is the call to action for those that need it? In todays world where there is so much knowledge and inspiration at our fingertips we have to be willing to look for new ways to help the organizations to grow and thrive once again.

I had mentioned this in a different thread. So, let me rehash a bit as to what our association has done.

First, we realized that if the new members continue to govern the association, what are the standards that they are accountable for? How do they interpret the mission statement of the association? How do they train newer members to carry on the proper leadership?

Second, how do you keep your older members, charter members (if they're still alive) and past presidents active?

The answer came in the form of my conversation with David Trust.

1. Most Corporates are governed by the Board of Directors, not the Executive Board. That makes a bunch of sense. The CEO must report on a regular basis to the Board of Directors.

2. The CEO/President and the Chairman of the Board works for the Board of Directors and the Executive Board. Not the other way around.

3. Despite the individuals of the boards, one thing must be made perfectly clear: Once a board, by majority vote, approves a decision, the decision must be agreed to and supported by all members of the board.

So, what did our association do? We presented a by-law change to the membership and got the approval to make all of our past presidents, and charter members lifetime board of directors as long as they remained members in good standing.

This gave our Executive board the direction needed to continue the quality of membership necessary for the long term survival of our association. Right now, the board consists of five charter members and six past presidents. The Board of directors meet with the Executives twice a year in a full day retreat (and they are a lot of fun). It is headed up by the Chairman of the Board (immediate past president). Many incredible ideas come from these meetings including:

"Night with the Master" - one evening where all the Master Photographers we can find in Northern California are invited to have dinner with us, enjoy a top notched program, talk about what our degree means to us, and participate in a Masters Only print competition, so that the newer members can see the quality of work, and why their 78 seem to look better than what most would otherwise think a 78 should look like ;)

"CPP Study Group". Each year, we have a study group for certification of 12-16 participants. This is the third study group and I have proctored the last two, averaging 14 members taking the exam. So far, only one did not pass the exam (missed by 1 point) and he's retaking it soon.

"Masters Grant". This is new. The members know how much the Masters have given to our association, so, it was time to give back to them. Our association has set up a grant for any of our active Masters to attend the PPA Judges Workshop in Daytona. The conditions are that the Masters must judge at our association a minimum number of times per year and pursue their affiliate credentials. The members felt they could benefit by having national affiliate judges in our own association.

"Standards of Volunteerism". This one is interesting. Every new and renewing member fills out their application. In that application, is a checklist of volunteer duties in the association. New Professional Active members must participate in one, Apprentice/Aspiring members must be involved with three. This increases the experience levels of all members. This may sound really crazy, but it works. Our meetings are like a beehive before the program starts. Have you ever heard of a member say "I want to help, but nobody asked me"? We don't have that problem anymore.

The volunteerism thing is a key. With activity emerges a leader. Because we no longer have the usual "Board of Directors" Everything is action team driven. We can now see from each of the head positions who will possibly be our future leaders. We have done away with the "moving up the ladder" syndrome. A first VP is not guaranteed the Presidency.

Not having Board members going up the ladder through the exec board prevents burnout. We were getting Presidents who barely made it through and didn't return, or, in some cases first VP's who burned out and didn't take the presidency (which is kinda funny, because you work a lot harder as a VP than you do the President (Or, it should be that way)! We have vowed never to put a member through a seven year ladder again. Think about what most associations do. 2-3 years as a board member, secretary, treasurer, 2nd VP, 1st VP, President! 7-8 years of your time!

Auralee_Dallas
02-13-2008, 01:52 AM
Auralee,

What do you feel your locals that you thought so much of did for you? What did you do for them?

I ran print comp for a year and the raffle for a year. Since the Board met Friday Morning at 7 a.m. 60 miles from my house, I never was a board member.

KirkDarling
02-13-2008, 03:07 AM
As I asked above: What motivations and incentives exists for people who are beyond "entry level" but still below "master?" Those are the people who are training the newbies and in training to be the leaders. What do you give those people that makes staying in the battle important to them?

Some general concepts of purposes and roles at each level (worked for Caesar's army, still works today):

Senior Officers:
1. Set the strategic direction
2. Set the organizational standards
3. Set the example
4. Sell the organizational culture to the middle grades

Middle Grades:
1. Plan tactical operations to execute the strategic direction
2. Manage tactical operations (working leaders)
2. Teach the culture to the juniors (but they don't "own" the culture)
3. Train and direct the juniors

Junior Grades: Perform operations under direction (working learners)

While it's nice to have saints who will work forever for nothing, the fact is that most people only give dependably when they're getting something clearly valuable in return. The absolute most important group that must get a real reward is the middle grades. They are working leaders, they are the direct teachers, they are the glue holding the top and bottom together. They are the ones who are close enough to the junior people to still understand the ground truth: What works for someone starting out today. People coming in at the bottom aren't just looking at what's offered on entry, they're also looking at the rewards that would come from working for a while.

What do I mean by "ground truth?" I've seen articles in past PPMags extolling hired staff as an absolute necessity for a successful studio. This is someone who no longer understands the ground truth. This is not 1987--what worked starting out back then does not work today...at least not in the same way. What works in 2007 when you have an established name and established credit doesn't work even in 2007 when you have neither name nor credit.

Michael, I'm sure there is more to your program than you outlined, but of what you did outline, absolutely nothing--not a single point-- was of benefit to the middle-grade working leaders.

Yes, you did speak of a faster ladder to the Board, but most people know they will never get to the Board (just like most soldiers know they will never become generals). So what is there for the people who will be middle-graders for their entire professional careers...those people make up the bulk of the membership. You need them both working and leading, and you need them in large numbers. What do they get?

What motivations and incentives exists for people who are beyond "entry level" but still below "master?" This takes deliberate thought. What do they need? What do they want? What can the organization give them?

Can you identify the motivations and incentives you've designed specifically for the middle grades and for them alone? Not skimming the top of the junior benefits, not getting a bone from the senior leadership (being allowed to kiss the hand of a Master is not sufficient reward), but something valuable to them and for them. There is nothing more important in any organization than making sure the middle group is sufficiently and specifically compensated.

Visible reconition certainly helps--people will work hard for a bit of ribbon. Note: Taking away fellowship points for membership lapses always creates unnecessary ill will even in the faithful--you should never take away what has already been earned. That's a threat hanging over the heads of the very people you value--you shouldn't threaten the people who are working for you. That's why the promotion points the military gives a soldier for an award are still there even if the soldier has a break in service. What you've earned through your own effort...you keep. If you leave, it's still worth your while to come back because you won't have lost anything.

Visible recognition is good, but visible recognition doesn't feed the baby. Benefits-in-kind (like free convention admission to convention workers) are an obviously valuable benefit that doesn't actually cost anything (except in "possible" income, which is not real money).

Todd_Reichman
02-13-2008, 03:29 AM
Wow, Kirk pretty much nailed my feelings on the local/affiliate issue. The middle class is the most important section of any organization. Let's be honest, we know what the role of the rockstars or the masters is. We know that the "newbies" are supposed to help out wherever necessary, generally keep their eyes and ears open. What are the middle of the road folks doing? Are there too many of us who think that we're middle of the road who are really newbies (or masters in ability if not title)?

I personally think there is a little too much separation between the masters and rockstars and everyone else. Like Kirk, I don't always want to hear from a millionaire, I want to hear from somebody fighting it out in a similar trench. Frankly, it feels like we're all either newbies or masters, I'm not even sure what being middle of the road means anymore. Anybody willing to offer an opinion about what qualifies each level of development, or what roles within an organization should be filled by what qualification of person?

thanks ( and bravo Kirk)

- trr

Michael_Gan
02-13-2008, 05:17 AM
Kirk, I think these concepts I outlined are hard to understand until you walk into our general membership meeting and experience what I'm talking about. I understand the concept of the importance of the mid grade group, but there are a few things amiss in you examples that weren't taken into consideration.

1. What if your upper grade people did not exist? Whom do the mid grade learn from, other than what they cobbled together from their "leadership" experience as a newbie?

2. If the "upper echelon" group was not there to teach the former newbies (now called the mid grade), what (or where) is the standard of excellence for them to succeed and excel? From your example, yes they are the important workers, but in our system they see the chance to be a leader as an exciting opportunity, not one of "more work". Perhaps, this is an ingredient that is lacking in our profession, not just in associations, but in practice as a business owner: The ability to lead, to lead in both their business, as well as in their community. I would challenge anyone who thinks this is contrary to the success of anything.

3. "Junior Grade perform under direction" - Under whose directions? If middle management doesn't have a standard to follow, how could they possibly lead?

4. "What can the organization give them?" An experience that they can utilize in their own business and life. An association is a product, it is a product of inspiration, of learning and of camaraderie. It's like church. Do you want to leave the sermon uplifted, or feel like your life is headed for gloom and doom every week/month.

Let's revisit the first post on this thread. Look at that list. What would you do to fix an association that has all of the symptoms listed? Based on you're analogy, what if you've transported a mess load of junior grade soldiers and mid grade soldiers out onto the field and all of the Generals, down to the lieutenants didn't show up? It kinda reminds me of the Movie "Galipoli" where the English didn't give a hoot what happen to the Aussie Army, and they got slaughtered. This is the prevalent problem throughout many of the Guilds and Associations across the country. Oddly enough, it's interesting to see that as our profession is one of the most impoverished professions so are many of the Pro Photo Associations: Perhaps bad leadership begets bad leadership?

Let me say this one more thing. All of these symptoms listed were symptoms of our own association. It took the will power of a lot of our older members who still cared deeply about the ideals of our association to affect some changes. This required the older members to throw out what they currently knew about Pro Photo association governance. Luckily, our association is still pretty young (10 years). Luckily, many of us where leaders in other associations, so it wasn't like we hadn't seen these problems before. It took many hours of brainstorming, logical thinking, and hard work to make the changes necessary. Is it a perfect model? Heck no. There's still some glitches here and there, primarily the biggest thing is to teach people to not be "Do Alls". Will it ever be perfect? Not in your life (or mine), because the moment you do, some new generation will change the preferences of things. But at least, if we keep moving up our mid grades into the lifetime leadership role (board of directors) at least our association will always have a fighting chance to grow and adapt.

Where do I get my leadership skills, one might ask. I got it from one of the most powerful organizations in the world. In order to be President of a Rotary Club, it is required of you to take a "President-Elect Training" Course, which is intensive for three days. It is a combination of ideals, passion and leadership all rolled into one. For an organization that could reach toward world peace more than the United Nations, they must be doing something right.

Auralee_Dallas
02-13-2008, 07:14 AM
Kinda funny because photographers routinely give up their kid's games in lieu of weddings :D (note, laughy face).

Question is, how is the quality of the work coming out of your association in comparison to PPA standards? Do you find it harder to pursue your Masters degree when there are very few who are qualified to judge your images properly? This is what I mean by photographic leadership.

This has been a problem for PPC for years: Transparent benefits. Many things are an indirect benefit. PPC spends a lot of resources training your affiliate presidents to lead your association properly. Now, whether they learn properly, or not is a whole different story. But, stay tuned, because there are some new ideas that need to be ratified on the state level that will be very apparent in the perceived benefits column.

I think the work coming out of PPSV is pretty good. We tried to have a mentor program where experienced/Masters would meet an hour before the meeting to give feedback to folks with small prints in the hopes they would enter print comp. Unfortunately it fell by the wayside. I think everyone from PPSV who entered Western States Regionals this year got at least one merit.

Our leaders are doing very well at leading the group (my opinion). I'm also glad to hear that there may be some new ideas coming from PPC. I know things were rough for awhile and they reorganized. I was eligible last year to get my Fellowship, but it slipped through the cracks. Thanks to the fellow who is in charge now said it will happen this year.

Like mentioned in another thread, it's easy to find fault, but it takes time and effort to step up to the plate and help make the changes. I may never see that Masters in my lifetime. I am probably going to retire next year and only be active in marketing my fine art work Painter work and electronic imaging.

KirkDarling
02-14-2008, 01:07 AM
1. What if your upper grade people did not exist? Whom do the mid grade learn from, other than what they cobbled together from their "leadership" experience as a newbie?

But you do have the senior grade people. You've already said you have them, so that's not a "what if." Your senior grade group may not be as large a group or as senior a group as some others, but relative to your group, they are the senior group.

The senior group does not have to be large at all. It could be quite small--you and two other guys. Remember that they aren't executing tactical operations.


2. If the "upper echelon" group was not there to teach the former newbies (now called the mid grade), what (or where) is the standard of excellence for them to succeed and excel? From your example, yes they are the important workers, but in our system they see the chance to be a leader as an exciting opportunity, not one of "more work".

Presuming the middle-grade people are not stupid, they know that not everyone can be a leader, so they will recognize dangling leadership in their faces is a false promise.

Nor will everyone want to be a senior leader. In fact, as has been learned over the centuries, most people do not want to be senior leaders. Most people don't want that responsibility. They are happy as mid-grade working leaders, but they have to be getting something of value where they are.


3. "Junior Grade perform under direction" - Under whose directions? If middle management doesn't have a standard to follow, how could they possibly lead?


Under the direction of middle-grade leaders. You've already said you have senior leaders.


4. "What can the organization give them?" An experience that they can utilize in their own business and life. An association is a product, it is a product of inspiration, of learning and of camaraderie. It's like church. Do you want to leave the sermon uplifted, or feel like your life is headed for gloom and doom every week/month.

Well, actually people should be getting more even from church than a mere uplift. They can get that much from a John Powers tape. The most vibrant church congregations do, indeed, exactly what I've outlined--they have a lot of programs, both beneficial and productive, specifically for lay leaders.

But there is no "experience that they can utilize in their own business and life" unless the organization deliberately and specifically creates such experiences for them. It can't simple be presumed that because you have a bunch of photographers in one room that they're getting an "experience that they can utilize in their own business and life."

Michael_Gan
02-14-2008, 07:38 AM
I'm sure in our association, you would be correct. I was asking these questions based on associations not doing well, where they have no Senior members, nor the mid grades never had any guidance because the lack of senior members. Lets assume this. That there is no leadership. That is my premise for why so many associations are struggling right now. Many of the California affiliates are down to less than 20 members.

Michael_Black
02-14-2008, 02:13 PM
I think you guys may not realize the biggest cause of our lack of participation.

It's digital capture.

Really think about it. The masters we looked up to in the days of film have either retired or are still struggling with the transition. Young photographers understand computers but few are the total package.

Digital takes more time. With film we just sent it in to the lab. With digital, we now spend hours and hours in front of the computer. It is harder to find the time to go to events. Being in leadership takes lots more time.

Joe_Galioto
02-14-2008, 04:52 PM
these same issues have been going on in nj. i was once very active and now rearly show up for a meeting. i didn't relize it was something going on all around the country!
around 10 or 15 years ago, a bunch of newer photographers started a move to rid the offices of the old regeem. "the old boys club" as they call it.
well for a number of reasons thier dreams came true and now thiers no leadership at all. most of the programs are either from unqualitied speakers or same old recycled local photographer who might be good, but we need some new faces out there.
the other issue i have with our organization is that it feels more like a camera club then a professional organization. when i started in photography, you had to really be a professional to gain admitance, now all you seem to need is a check-i don't even think a tax id is required.
i'll hang in there and see what happens.
joe
michael,
interesting point regarding digitals effects on the affililiates.

Todd_Reichman
02-14-2008, 05:36 PM
I can say that, at least in my area, the younger photographers don't think that PPA is "cool" for lack of a better word. I don't know if that has anything to do with the "old boys club" reputation or not.

Second, I think that the digital thing does have something to do with it. For many, gone are the days of apprenticeship. Many people just start up and put their noses to the grindstone and try to make it work. Personally, it becomes difficult to want to give up days or volunteer because I could be meeting with clients, making money, paying the rent, etc. At some local seminars, you're still seeing alot of "how to cope with the digital transition" talks. While I understood that 3/4 years ago - these days it seems a little passe, especially for the young 'uns.

Now, I think that the affiliate thing is really great, and ultimately think its a mistake for people to discount it. However, there is a problem if young/mid range photographers are finding what they need from WPPI or online forums rather than locals. I mean, these days the new breed of photographer is much more willing to share and collaborate, so the local meeting thing should really appeal to them.

Now, when you hear stories about membership inquiries going unanswered, and people not being aware of their local affiliates (both things that I experienced) there does seem to be some kind of "marketing" problem with the whole affiliate system.

Or am I nuts?

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
02-14-2008, 05:46 PM
I think it depends on the state. Joe Galioto and Andie Goodman, among other Forum members, can tell you how packed our kick off meeting of 2008 was on Sunday. We have a lot of Masters & Craftsmen as well as lots of C.P.P's but also a lot of newbies so we have a good mix. We also have an excellent group on the board of governors.

Todd_Reichman
02-14-2008, 05:54 PM
So Craig, in a thread about getting more participation, what do you think your state is doing correctly?

- trr

D._Craig_Flory
02-14-2008, 06:03 PM
Hi Todd;

I'll send out e-mails asking our officers what they think is our secret. I do know that our three amigos ... female best of friends photographers going "through the chairs together" , made sure we always have a feeling of friendship among all members and guests.

Joe_Galioto
02-14-2008, 06:30 PM
i think leadership is the one thing that drives any entity be it an organization or a business. whenever i have lousy customer service in a resturant or store, i say it's due to poor managment. it's good to have young members involved so they learn how things opperated from the inside. most groups need fresh new ideas and energy that new/young members can contribute.
many of us that have been around don't always try new things because we know it won't work, but someone without experiance doesn't know it won't work- so the try it and it may work after all. the balance of the experiance/wisdom of the old energy/freshness of youth is probally the best combination if we could get them to work together without all the politics & power issues getting in the way.
joe
and yes d.c.f. it looks like pa is doing a great job as you keep reminding us.
you talked me into joining and i live 2.5 hours from the meeting site.

D._Craig_Flory
02-18-2008, 05:08 PM
So Craig, in a thread about getting more participation, what do you think your state is doing correctly?

- trr

Hi Todd;

I got an answer back from a recent president of PPAofPa. This is what she wrote about why we have such a great association:

Hi Craig!
Thanks for supporting PPA of PA. I think one of the best reasons to join our organization is because of the wealth of information that we learn from each other at lunch, dinner, breaks. etc. We can share ideas in a a casual setting, and learn from each other, things that work and don't work for our businesses. I come to every meeting with business questions for my friends. Keep up the good publicity! Thanks, Lynn

Michael_Gan
02-18-2008, 05:28 PM
I think it is vitally important that new members are not thrust into Executive leadership positions with the lack of knowledge of how the association works. That's what's happening up and down California. Our association now puts our new members into action teams where they can develope their leadership skill on that level. To have a two year member in the presidency is absolutely insane.

David_A._Lottes
02-18-2008, 05:36 PM
Hey Michael
I was talking with a small affiliate past president over the weekend and she told me that for the third year in a row she and one other past president will be sharing the responsibilities of president...again....they had the old "president by attrition" set-up but for the last few years everytime a board member comes up for VP or Prez they suddenly find themselves too busy to stay on the board. After three years of being president she would probably jump at the chance to find any willing volunteer. :(

I told her about what your doing with your group, new members being required to work committees etc. Hopefully she will give you a call. :)

D._Craig_Flory
02-18-2008, 05:41 PM
I think it is vitally important that new members are not thrust into Executive leadership positions with the lack of knowledge of how the association works. That's what's happening up and down California. Our association now puts our new members into action teams where they can develope their leadership skill on that level. To have a two year member in the presidency is absolutely insane.

Hi Michael;

That is insane and can't happen here. Here, they first would serve on committees. Next, if noticed as a hard worker, they may be recommended for the board of governors. A few years later they might be asked if they would consider "going through the chairs". That entails first a vote by the entire membership. Then, each year they would move up and hold a different job > starting first with Secretary. The next year they move up to serve as Treasurer. Then the following year they are 2nd Vice President. Then a year later it's up to 1st Vice President. Finally, after a 5 year journey they serve as President.

Michael_Gan
02-18-2008, 08:33 PM
There's a delicate balance. We've found that if you have people going up the "Ladder", they're often burned out. Five years is stretching it (in addition to the few years in committees). We've done away with the "ladder principal" because our board is able to monitor the performances of the two VP's we have. Often, We recommend Action team "head" to enter the VP positions foregoing the Secretary and treasurer position. Of course, we are fortunate to have people in both of those roles who actually love to do that stuff.