Leading Associations helps at each step on the journey to Association Excellence

Leading Associations and its board development arm, World-Class Boards, provide a variety of board development programs and support resources, as well as leadership coaching and governance consulting.

Governance Review
Do you have an unwieldy governance structure? Is your board focused on operations rather than strategy? Is your board size getting in the way of effective decision-making? Is it hard for your organization to be nimble and market responsive? Are board members selected based on “doing their time” or geographic representation vs. competency, mindsets or skillsets? Have your bylaws remained virtually unchanged for decades even though your election process or volunteer structure no longer serve the organization well?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we can help. Leading Associations We’ll help you identify more effective structures, processes and approaches to align your governance process to organizational needs.

Conflict Reduction
In short, unhealthy board conflict is the single biggest obstacle to board productivity and strategic leadership. When board members can’t play nicely in the sandbox together, meetings and discussions get derailed, and more time may be devoted to damage control than getting things done. We help boards eliminate or at least mitigate destructive conflict, difficult board member behavior, or – on the more extreme end – navigate real or potential legal and ethical challenges.
Strategic Leadership
One of the biggest strategy mistakes boards make is to confuse having a strategic plan with “being strategic.” Often boards execute strategy as just another operational exercise, engaging in the “doing” rather than “directing” and/or confusing process improvement with strategy. Leading Associations not only helps boards establish a strategic direction, but become strategic leaders.
World Class Boards Training
World Class Boards offers unique, real-world-scenario based board development programs. We not only deliver powerful content, but great Theater. In addition to a board development plan, you’ll develop a Personal Road Map for board member success, which individualizes the experience. What you gain is personal and practical, not general or theoretical. Board members leave energized and enthusiastic about becoming the best board they can be.
With our strategic focus, Leading Associations will help your organization identify what the next level is, and help you get there. We provide a range of leadership and management services including full-service association management – where we serve as the permanent headquarters office and staff for your organization – to temporarily serving as your interim executive, including executive search services to support your transition.
Full Service Management
We’ll be your association headquarters. With Leading Associations’ expertise in management, the board can focus on strategic direction, rather than tactical issues. We have the infrastructure, staffing and expertise to begin immediately executing the board’s vision.
Interim Executive
When the chief executive departs either expectedly or unexpectedly, the board can lose productivity if it doesn’t hire an interim executive. Without help, Board leaders must take on the role of managing staff and overseeing operations even though, as volunteers, they already have a “day job.” Board members quickly burn out and the staff isn’t clear who their boss is. Leading Associations lets the board just be the board. We oversee day-to-day operations, managing staff and keeping business on track while a new executive is sought.
Executive Search
With Leading Associations you can get the full package of interim leadership and an executive search expert to ensure a seamless transition. We’ll focus on the day-to-day operations and keep the hiring process moving so the board can focus on selecting the best person to lead the organization long-term.
Strategic Planning
We are a strategy-driven and strategy-driving company. Beyond our strategic planning and execution expertise, Leading Associations is an industry thought leader in the area of strategic leadership. It’s what we’re all about.
Leading Associations is experienced in helping organizations establish and implement strategic vision. With a wide variety of specialty consulting services, we assist association leaders to:


  • Create their aspirational culture
  • Bring organization vision to life
  • Lead through strategic conversation
  • Maintain consistent focus at the strategic level
  • Influence and reinforce alignment of staff and volunteers with the board’s direction
Strategic Plan Implementation
Organizations may have a strategic plan, but lack a strategic culture. Strategic execution requires a leadership mindset, framework and conversations that drive aligned action. We can help you build a leadership culture that drives strategic execution.
Organizational Effectiveness Studies
From time-to-time organizations should assess – how are we operating in comparison to our peers? How are we operating against industry best practices? Do we have the right individuals and teams in place at the staff and volunteer level? Are we maximizing our resources? We can help you find the answers.
Organizational Development
If you need to re-examine staff roles and responsibilities due to changing industry needs, new programs and services or a new strategic direction, we can help you better align your human resources to best serve your constituency and fulfill your mission.
Program / Service Development
Have a great idea for a new product, program or service but don’t have the internal bandwidth to develop it? We can help.