Regular readers of the EACC Newsbrief may recall that earlier this year that we had contracted with Start Something Bold to undertake a “Voice of the Customer” study for us. The goal was not to just better understand the needs and wants of our members, but to use those findings to increase the value the EACC provides to its members and to the community. At the Board Meeting on October 25, Paul Miklautsch and Micah Zender of Start Something Bold (SSB) presented their findings, and I wanted to share a brief summary of their report. The finding are based on one-on-one and group interviews with a broad range of voices, including representatives from the Board of Directors and members with various levels of involvement with the EACC (including a few former members)
The EACC’s value comes from its unique European-American perspective; its small and intimate nature; and its middle market focus – these are strengths we should preserve and build on.
With regard to programs and services, members expressed concern that our events were for networking and overloaded with service providers (vice manufacturers) and that our programming is not always relevant to business needs in a European-American context. Suggested fixes include programming that focuses on connecting peers at multiple levels with occasional deep dives into complex but relevant topics that help companies grow their businesses.
With regard to relationships, there was a sense that the EACC has very shallow connections in some organizations; that the EACC has only limited knowledge of some of its members, and that EACC communications often lack a personal touch. To address this the EACC and Board members should, inter alia, expand its outreach and engagement with individual members to understand their business needs. There are further opportunities to help the Global EACC community better connect and share value across chapters.
In discussing membership types, SSB heard that members struggled to articulate the value of EACC membership and that it is unclear how members can get more deeply involved with the EACC. Options include developing new membership levels and structures (including multi-chapter membership options) and redefining and reinvigorating current committee structures.
Finally, SSB discovered that members feel the EACC Board of Directors is too large and overloaded with service providers and that board memberships are not earned through service to the organization, and suggestions included restructuring and rebalancing the board with better defined roles.
Putting these elements together, SSB described the EACC thusly: “The EACC is a uniquely European-American Network of Active Business Leaders that create Interactions designed to add Value to its members.” [Note that this lines up quite well with our current Mission Statement – “Stimulating business and networking relations between the Cincinnati Tri-State Region and Europe.”]
So what’s next? The board is creating a ‘Task Force’ to review the report in more detail and to develop a workplan to move forward. And in that regard, we want to hear from you. Do you have ideas on how we can make our programming more relevant or help you build deeper relationships with your peers? I’d welcome not only your feedback; let me know how you would like to get involved in reshaping the EACC for 2019 and beyond!