MEMX2018: Networking Value in a Nutshell – the Governance Surgery

Originally published on the Memberwise website here.

With only a few weeks to go before this year’s Membership Excellence 2018 conference (, this is probably the best time to talk about the value of networking.  But what is that value and where is its relevance to the issues surrounding governance for membership organisations and associations?

We all take for granted that there will be networking opportunities at conferences, mostly taking place at the social times in the day’s agenda, which may or may not offer good links if you are fortunate in meeting the right people.  That can be an accidental process and, the bigger the conference, the more random our interactions become as we move through the day and in and out of various subject sessions.

However, networking should also be about benefits and, more specifically, the benefit of sharing both knowledge and personal experience.  One of the sessions in our Governance stream is designed to provide just that.  The pre-lunch “Governance Surgery – Get it Right and Keep It That Way”, offers an amazing opportunity for peer-to-peer discussions supplemented by the ability to pick the brains of the governance experts who will be leading the session.

This is not just about the standard ‘guided’ thinking of the more formal governance sessions earlier in the morning but a chance to take comfort from the knowledge that you are not alone.  One of the things I hear time and again from client Chief Executives and other Senior Managers is that it can be terribly lonely in these positions of responsibility. That loneliness often means an unwillingness to share your difficulties. Yet once you understand that it is unlikely that your problems are completely unique (allowing for your sector-specific issues), it makes them somehow more manageable and less intimidating.

You can’t do better than to benefit from the experience, knowledge and advice of your peers who understand exactly how you feel and may well have already dealt with some aspect of the problem which is giving you sleepless nights.  Having run these sessions at other conferences, I am always amazed at the generosity demonstrated in supporting colleagues who cannot find the way to solve a conundrum.

So, I look forward to welcoming you to our Surgery session and know that you will leave with a solution or a cunning plan to attempt a resolution, the support of your peers and probably a few phone numbers too.