Reading List to Grow Your Association

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Professional and trade association managers wear many hats. You can get overwhelmed with the day-to-day and never have enough time to grow or nurture yourself to stay on top of your game. Fortunately, books can help develop new skills and attributes and sharpen your mind with new ideas.

If you want to grow your association and lift your overall performance in 2022, here are seven books you should add to your reading list this year.


1. Getting to Yes ~ Roger Fisher & William Ury

As a business association manager, you will, more often than not, find yourself directly or indirectly involved in different kinds of negotiations. There’s a ‘fixed-pie’ mentality that still dominates much of the negotiation culture. Of course, deals often collapse because of this mentality as many people focus too much on winning and getting the bigger piece of the pie.

This book will sharpen your negotiation skills, teach you how to see the forest for the trees, create backup plans when all else fails, see the bigger picture and create mutually profitable deals. Getting to Yes is one of the single most-read negotiation books of all time.


2. Measure What Matters ~ John Doerr

Measure What Matters represents a goal-setting system that can work for any organization. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) focus effort on the most important work in the organization, coordination, keeping every team member on track, and eventually creating an environment of workplace satisfaction.

Although many of the examples in this book come from the commercial world, and the book was actually authored by a legendary venture capitalist, OKR principles are applicable across many industries, sectors, and organizations. This book will inspire you to create agility, focus, and explosive growth.


3. Your Brain At Work ~ David Rock

In the modern workplace, every day of the week can seem like a storm of unending phone calls, projects, proposals, nerve-wracking meetings, plans, and blizzards of emails. How do you survive and thrive in such a hyper-busy environment and still retain a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and energy at the end of the day?

This book isn’t a deep dive into the neurology of how the brain works but rather, ways of gaining an understanding of your brain to help you better manage your time, and organize, prioritize, and sort out your daily life.


4. The Mom Test ~ Rob Fitzpatrick

Should you ask your mom if your idea is a good idea? Probably not because she loves you and will most likely lie to you. However, The Mom Test is based on the premise that this is in fact a bad question and that everyone you ask will lie to you in varying degrees.

This book will give you a refreshing view on how to develop and present your ideas as well as how to collect feedback on those ideas. You will learn to ask the right questions because good questions are the foundation of any great idea.


5. Influence; The Psychology of Persuasion ~ Robert B. Cialdini

Robert Cialdini is often fondly referred to as the godfather of influence and persuasion in the field, and for good reason. He spent several years undercover in organizations to identify what made people say YES! He piled these principles and techniques into a book, now a classic, and has since sold more than 5 million copies.

If you struggle to influence and persuade others, this book is both illuminating and practical. You will certainly love and identify with the insights and examples and even occasionally jolt with recognition at how some of the principles have been successfully applied to you.


6. Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em; Getting Good People to Stay ~ Beverly Kaye  and Sharon Jordan-Evans

Every year, employees walk out of the doors and end up costing organizations more money, time, and other resources to replace. Employee retention is one of the most important challenges faced by organizations today.

As you work hard to grow your association, losing one or more team members can disrupt operations and even slow down your progress. This book will give you refreshing insights on how to provide engagement and help retain your best team members.


7. Start with Why ~ Simon Sinek

People won’t fully (or readily) buy into an idea, a movement, a product, or a service until they understand the WHY behind it. Many organizations often focus on articulating how and what they intend to do or accomplish rather than why.

While all these three aspects are important, the why is crucial because it illuminates the difference between manipulation and inspiration. People have an innate need to belong and will buy into ideas, movements, and products with a clear why because it gives them a way to inform the world who they are and what they believe.


While many of the books in this list feature examples and illustrations from the commercial world, the management principles they present can be applied to any organization. Grab the copies and glean all the nuggets and practical tips that you can use to transform and grow your association.

Check out our resources for more ideas on how to grow your membership organization.