News for the COOs, from the COOs.
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No Seal, No Deal
A few years ago, CCA created some documentation regarding the proper use of CCA/CCDC documents. There has been a recent resurgence in interest in this material, so we wanted to remind everyone that it is still available for your use.  

There are two other complimentary flyers available as well. DOs and DON'Ts when Purchasing CCA/CCDC Documents and DOs and DON'Ts when Executing the Documents.  Alls files are available in a number of formats and sizes for your various publication needs.
The Road to Success...
As part of ongoing presentation of articles and editorials from the CCA Partner Association COOs, we are pleased to present the President’s Message from the Toronto Construction Association’s  2014 - 1st Quarter Builders’ Digest. You may read the article in its original format here.

President’s Message
The road to success is always under construction
By John Mollenhauer, Toronto Construction Association

in part, by creating opportunities for members to source projects and network with decision makers, which ultimately helps them build better businesses.  With the 20 11 -12 global economic meltdown behind us, and a sustainable building boom in front of us, it would seem that businesses in Canada’s second fastest growing industry will have healthier balance sheets with or without our help.

The road to building better businesses, however, is about a great deal more than just restoring healthy balance sheets. An improved bottom line is a damn good start, of course, and  with construction accounting for approximately one tenth of our national GDP for the foreseeable future, more work is inevitable. And hopefully, more work translates into higher profits.
But what if winning more work isn’t generating higher profits? Or worse, what if profits are diminishing despite higher volumes? Successful businesses have healthy balance sheets because managers anticipate the bumps that impact their bottom line and ask the questions that need to be asked.
Are many of the costly setbacks that erode our margins not preventable? Of course they are. Do we not all sign statutory declarations solemnly swearing that our payables are current when our receivables are running to 90-plus days? Really! That suggests to me that we are either misrepresenting the truth or not-so-clever cash flow managers.
Either way, we need to ensure something gets done about the cash flow disconnect that characterizes the Canadian construction industry. We put our businesses at risk each and every time we agree to something that we know isn't OK.. And who among us hasn't overpaid for a negligible oversight?
Just this week, I was asked whether WHMIS online and video training is sufficient on a project subject to
COH&S regulation SOR/ 86-304 part x? Sure, say the neophytes. Why not?  Who needs to understand the acronyms? The answer is yes. What is your question?
Isaac Asimov said that people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. We agree, do we not? I think not. In the 21st century, we can't continue to manage our way around  all the tenuous clauses in the 200-page supplementaries that we didn't actually read carefully. And if we don't do something to abate the cascading transfer of risk from owners to contractors one day soon,  there won't be any contractors left to complain.
At TCA, we view your road to success as a road always under construction. Successful businesses read the signs, avoid the potholes and manage the process to sustainable success. But the parameters are dynamic and dramatically change from one day to the next. As a consequence, even the industry's greatest leaders classify planning and change management as a process, not an event.
The American economist Thomas Sowell said that it takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of our ignorance. We say, let’s compensate for our ignorance by bringing the industry's best minds together to identify the issues that daunt us most and suggest remedies and recommended best practices that will make the industry more profitable for everyone. We call those brain trusts "standing committees."
In recent years, some of TCA's standing committees have lost their way. There isn't always clarity about the mission and vision, which leads to confusion about desired outcomes and mandates. That's our fault for taking our eye off the ball and we propose to fix it, with your help, as always.
What that means specifically is that we are looking for volunteers. Leaders. Industry practitioners from  all corners of the sector with knowledge and insight that they are willing and able to share. To be part of a team that will collaborate on issues and propose best practices for the greater good of the industry.
2014 is an important year for TCA, and committee reform is among our highest priorities. So stay tuned... and get involved.  I do genuinely look forward to hearing from you.
John C. Mollenhauer
President, TCA

Snapshot of Association Membership Services

As was reported in the COO meeting minutes from March 2014, membership is a constant concern to CCA Partner Associations. The biggest issue – one size no longer fits all, and the value-propositions are stale.  How does an association service its membership well, when all the members want and need different things? And if they do want and need different things, do we know what they are?

In a brief survey to the COOs, the following four questions were asked.
Do you know your association’s best received products and/or services? If yes, please provide the top 3 with a one-sentence description.
  1. Do you know your association’s best received products and/or services by member category? (i.e. GC’s preference, Manufacturers & Suppliers preference etc.) If so, please provide the top service/product for each member category.
  2. What is your current value proposition statement?
  3. When was the last time you surveyed your membership?
For mixed-trade associations, access to planrooms and construction information was the number one service listed. Education was also highly ranked, by both heavy civil associations and mixed-trade associations, and the rate guide for equipment rental was highly ranked by responding heavy civil associations.  Networking was listed as one of the services that was more important to suppliers/allied professionals than to contractors, where the breakdown of services/products by membership category was available.
With the exception of one association (and it is running its membership survey this year) all of the responding associations had issued a survey within the last 2 years. The majority indicated that they offer a full membership survey on a less frequent basis than they offer meeting/marketing/education surveys. Two associations provided copies of their survey to share. You can view those documents here and here. (available in English only).

Value Proposition
As mentioned above, a number of associations had mentioned that their value-propositions were stale, and that what worked for one group of members, wouldn’t work for another.
In a recent CSAE seminar, entitled “Communicating the Real Value of Membership: How to Develop, Demonstrate & Deliver a Compelling Membership Value Proposition”, Sue Froggat, a membership training specialist, noted that a key current challenge for associations is to demonstrate value for money to members. An association’s value proposition statement expresses why a prospective member would want to join, and why current members should renew. Often, associations provide a list of services and products, as the benefits of joining an association. However, according to both Sarah Sladek, author of “The End of Membership as We Know It” and Sue Froggat, it is not the services and products (features) that make a benefit, but what the member can get from using the service or product (outcome). 
There are numerous webpages that provide how-tos for creating a value-proposition statement (i.e.,  and for example ). In a nutshell, the association should:
  1. Define the target audience
  2. Provide the services and products the association offers, and how members will benefit from using them
  3. State what makes the association unique or special
The next COO meeting (Sunday, June 8th, 2014 in Victoria, BC) will include round-table discussions on membership issues. COOs are encouraged to bring membership survey results, current head-aches and recent successes to share.

Please continue discussions of these topics on the COO Forum.
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