• “Like” Us!

    Fraternals on Facebook
  • Follow me!

  • Twitter Updates

  • Join 823 other followers

  • Archives

  • Refreshed & Revived

  • Categories

Action Creates Clarity

That’s the mantra of one of the Alliance’s most popular Annual Meeting, speakers, Peter Sheahan.  And if you loved his presentation last September, and his best-selling book, Flip, chances are you’ll want to be among the first to buy his latest tome, Making It Happen: Turning Good Ideas Into Great Results.  Have you put one or more of Peter’s ideas to work in your society or your life?  Share those ideas by posting a comment here…

And we’ve got another great speaker line up for 2011...
Frank Luntz, the nation’s premier pollster and image builder will be featured at the 2011 Alliance Annual Meeting (watch for registration material in the next week or so).  He’s also written a recent best-seller – Win: The Key Principals to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary.  Here’s a look at Luntz’s “11 Phrases for 2011″…

  • ‘Imagine’ is still the most powerful word in the English language because it is inspiring, motivating, and has a unique definition for each person.
  • ‘No excuses.’ Of all the messages used by America’s business and political elite, no phrase better conveys accountability, responsibility and transparency.
  • ‘I get it.’ This explains not only a complete understanding of the situation but also a willingness to solve or resolve the situation. It’s short, sweet and effective.
  • ‘If you remember only one thing…’ is the surest way to guarantee that voters will remember the one point that matters most to you. This is essential in complicated situations like the upcoming debt ceiling vote.
  • ‘Uncompromising integrity.’ Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as ‘integrity,’ but in today’s cynical environment, even that’s not enough. People also need to feel that your integrity is absolute.
  • ‘The simple truth’ comes straight from billionaire businessman Steve Wynn, and it sets the context for a straightforward discussion that might otherwise be confusing or contentious.
  • ‘Believe in better’ comes from BSkyB, the satellite television provider owned in part by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire. Of all the corporate mission statements of the Fortune 100, ‘believe in better’ is the second-most popular – and it applies to politics as well.
  • ‘Real-time.’ This is not a pitch for Bill Maher. Many Americans were furious that they couldn’t get the details of the health-care legislation in a timely fashion. ‘Real-time’ communicates receiving information at the speed of life.
  • ‘You decide.’ No, this is not paying homage to Fox News. The lesson of 2010 is that Americans want control of their lives back and they don’t want Washington or Wall Street making their decisions for them.
  • ‘You deserve.’ This comes from DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and it was first employed by him in his highly praised 2006 SOTU response. It tells voters exactly what they should expect from their politicians and their government.
  • ‘Let’s get to work’ was employed by Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) in his successful campaign. No other end-of-speech rallying cry is more motivational to voters.

What once was old is new again…
Have you ever heard of a “benefit corporation?”  Well check out this article and tell me it doesn’t sound like a fraternal.  Here’s the quote of the day:  “This is a great model.  It leverages all the power of capitalism – the value proposition to clients and job creation – and it also has a community impact.”

We’ve been doing this for over a century!  It’s time somebody noticed!!  Maybe we should TELL PEOPLE!!!

Is state regulation federalism at its best or worst?
Industry analyst and blogger extraordinaire John Lobert weighs in on his latest posting.  Click here to read more…

Are you ready to compete in a no-frills life insurance world?
This March 12 Wall Street Journal article by Leslie Scism should be a “must read” for any fraternal executive.  I know simplified term life goes against the time-tested theory that the only “real” insurance is whole life sold through an agent, but as our products get increasingly “commoditized” we have to consider offering consumers the type of protection they want (simple, low cost term coverage) in the way they want to buy it (online).  Wouldn’t it be better – and easier – to “upgrade” the coverage for these new members if they purchased their first policy – even a simplified term policy – through the fraternal’s online portal?

A final thought – don’t forget to register for the March 24 webinar on annuities. I have been privy to the planning process between our two presenters and can attest they really know their stuff.  I have heard Tony Minopoli of Knights of Columbus speak and he is excellent. Chuck Ritzke of Problem Solving Enterprises brings his actuarial knowledge and will provide some great case studies.  Click here to register.

Joe’s Special – 5 Things You Probably Missed But Shouldn’t Have…

  1. Prospects for serious debate of tax reform in Congress are slim… Acting House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) recently said, "Clearly, tax reform is an issue for next year, not this year. I've heard almost no one in our ranks talk about it." That gives us a little time to build a more effective network of grassroots contacts and spread the good word about fraternals to folks on Capitol Hill (and, more importantly, in their districts back home). This is no time to rest easy. In addition to tax reform being a likely menu item for Congress in 2010, NFCA has compiled a “watch list” of 20 – count ‘em, 20!!! – states in which a detailed review of existing tax exemptions could put fraternals in the center of the target for tax reform legislation in 2011. Want to know how you can help? Contact Elizabeth Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, at esnyder@nfcanet.org.
  2. Special Section of USA Today highlights “Sharing in the USA”… Did you see this on April 13? An entire section in USA Today devoted to articles on service and sharing. No doubt you’ll pick up some great ideas for use in your society by reading them. Can you imagine a special section on fraternals some day? I can…
  3. Learning from Lutherans… And check out this article from a recent issue of Forbes magazine. What can marketers learn from your organization? You don’t have to be the largest fraternal to be a successful one, but it sure helps to be able to learn from a society whose commitment to fraternalism is its “differentiator” in the marketplace.
  4. Young adults, men, and top earners top users of social media for insurance… Brief but compelling article
  5. Who volunteers?… Check out this series of articles from Association Metrics – including a case study on "Who Volunteers?" and see how your society stacks up and how you can improve your members’ community service commitment…

Continue reading

Joe’s Special… Random Bits of Positivity from an April Fool

WFLA turns sales trip into community service event… Almost every fraternal life insurer provides their top producers with an incentive trip as a way to acknowledge their outstanding sales, service, and community service performance.  Western Fraternal Life Association (WFLA) has established a tradition of incorporating a fraternal activity into this annual event.  When the site for the sales trip is selected – in 2010, it was St. Thomas – society leaders select a needy school in the area, and over the course of the year, agents send the home office school supplies which are collected and sent to the school in advance of the trip.  Executives work out a date and time when the WFLA delegation can visit the school to present the supplies to the children and learn more about the community and the challenges that local educators are facing.  WFLA president and CEO Jim Wolfe said that the pens, paper, binders and portfolios donated by the society can often supply a school for an entire year, and “you have no idea how valuable and appreciated a simple pencil and notebook are in some parts of the world.”  A small project?  Yes, in the grand scheme of things.  051_9A But all those small projects combine to make a difference and extend the reach of fraternalism one person at a time.  Here’s a photo (click on the photo to view full size) of this year’s event that benefitted the Gladys A. Abraham Elementary School. 

Continue reading

10 Things I Learned at the Fraternal/Communications Sections Meeting…

The just-concluded Fraternal and Communications Sections Mid-Year Meeting was an eye-opener.  Most, if not all, of the speakers focused heavily on communicating with and selling products to the next generation of fraternal members – Gen X-ers (born between 1965-1979) and Millennials (born between 1980-2000).  If your society is planning on sticking around and staying relevant, the information presented during the Section meeting was absolutely invaluable.  Here’s a quick review of what I learned when it comes to the getting those 20- and 30-somethings involved in your organization:

Continue reading

Simplicity is the best recipe…

My sisters and I all learned to cook from watching our mother.  The kitchen was the most popular room in our house.  It was, after all, where the food was.  Our mom had no written recipes, so the only way you learned what went into the marinara, meatballs, and chicken cacciatore was to observe.  Her measurements were precisely calculated in increments like “a handful,” “some,” and “what you think you need.”  Her recipes didn’t come from a book, they came from the heart.  And the two most important things I gained from her is that a) you can learn a lot just by watching and that b) it doesn’t take a lot of fancy ingredients to make a delicious meal.  I mean really, you can make almost anything taste good if you add tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil.

Continue reading

Joe’s Special

A little of this and a little of that with hopefully something that you might find interesting, enlightening, or outrageous.  As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.  Let’s keep the conversation going…

Continue reading