SmithBucklin Introduces Association Excellence Program

August 27, 2018

SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other, is proud to introduce its proprietary association excellence program, SmithBucklin AXP. The program is designed to improve and ensure the ongoing success of the client organizations SmithBucklin serves.

The result of 18 months of research, development, and testing, SmithBucklin AXP is a methodology and set of tools designed to enable governing boards, executive directors, and staff to have regular, meaningful, and focused conversations about priorities, progress, and opportunities for improvement

“We know from research in the association world and the field of quality management, as well as from our 70 years of experience serving associations, that a commitment to achieving alignment about priorities is critical to sustained association success,” said Matt Sanderson, SmithBucklin President & CEO.

He added, “SmithBucklin AXP is a powerful program that institutionalizes that commitment, moves important conversations forward, and ensures both continuous improvement and progress toward an organization’s mission.”

“AXP represents a multidimensional performance excellence program that until now has not been available for associations,” said Executive Vice President Jim McNeil, who leads SmithBucklin’s Business + Trade Industry Practice.

He noted the study “Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices,” which found that only 40 percent of boards did an assessment in a two-year period, and boards that did assess their own performance got higher grades across all areas of board performance.

“We’re thrilled to provide all of our client organizations with a highly sophisticated assessment program that brings about the performance outcomes that matter most,” McNeil said.

“AXP reflects expertise and practices from outside our industry as well as from within. It demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement and our company’s mission of achieving the missions of the organizations we serve,” said Executive Vice President David Schmahl, who leads SmithBucklin’s Healthcare + Scientific and Technology Industry Practices.

Governing board members have enthusiastically embraced SmithBucklin AXP. During beta-testing, 96 percent of invited board members actively participated in the program. Both board members and executive directors lauded the program’s holistic nature and succinct design.

They said it enabled rich conversations that couldn’t have happened otherwise, and helped their organizations make positive changes quickly and effectively.

“Throughout my career I have studied dozens of performance excellence programs. SmithBucklin’s approach and methodology is the first I have seen designed specifically for association management, and I commend them on this impressive vision,” said Paul Borawski, retired CEO of the American Society for Quality (ASQ). Borawski, who led ASQ from a small U.S. society to become the largest and most respected organization of its kind in the world, was recognized in 2013 with the Forward Award for Excellence for ASQ’s application of the Malcolm Baldridge Performance Excellence Criteria.

Sanderson said the introduction of AXP comes at an important time for SmithBucklin. The company will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2019.

“As a longtime leader in association management, we are mindful of our obligation and opportunity to leverage the breadth and depth of our resources, experience, and talent to bring effective practices and drivers of success to all of the organizations we serve. AXP is a significant investment designed to enable long-term partnerships and impact across hundreds of industries and professions. We thank our strong community of executive directors and board leaders who, together, helped to shape its development and who will use it to further their missions,” Sanderson said.

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