10 Cool Tools to Keep Your Association Aligned

April 30, 2021 Staff Writer

Software solutions—even for association alignment—are everywhere. By some estimates, there are 288 different project management tools available right now. That doesn’t count personal productivity tools, task management tools, customer relation management tools, and a myriad of other task- or concept-related tools that you deal with every day.

The question is: how do we make it easier for employees to work on what’s important?

If you’ve ever taken a time management course, you probably know the difference between important and urgent, and how we often work on non-important, urgent projects because they are screaming in our face instead of the important projects that ultimately will make or break us. Focusing on important, high priority goals helps us be successful.

10 Cool Tools to Keep Your Association Aligned

Intranets and Communities

Powerful intranets can often check more than one box for you – interactive org chart, space for

 conversations, even functionality related to some of the categories below, like feedback and performance management. These plays tend to fall into the “high-investment, high-return” category, so smaller associations might be drawn to a different solution. Some examples:

  • Jostle. Dubbed a “people engagement” platform, it covers events, newsfeed, and “shout outs” to fellow employees. Jostle includes an organization chart and employee directory (with expertise info) and facilitates team discussions to encourage collaboration
  • Limeade. Key features include ideas and surveys, expert search, document sharing, and tools for employee communications. They tout it as the one employee app you’ll need, and they integrate with enterprise-level products from Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.
  • Igloo. Igloo calls their product a “digital workplace solution,” focusing on communication, collaboration, knowledge management, and culture. Its features include blogs (and microblogs), file sharing, forums,
    people directories, collaborative virtual spaces,
    and to-do lists.

Collaboration and Project Management

This is one of the more “evolved” categories, as some of the software solutions have been around for quite a while. One of the primary benefits of all of these products is reducing and redirecting email traffic into other forms of communication so that information, documents, and momentum are not lost.

  • Asana. Focused on organizations, this software product allows you to create projects and tasks that are assigned to individuals on the team. At the more advanced levels, you can create and share dashboards and also accomplish basic communication and information sharing related to the various projects.
  • Basecamp. Basecamp is also organized around organizing teams, projects, and tasks, but puts more emphasis on document sharing.
  • Trello. This platform is more focused on straightforward team collaboration than full-service project management. You create “boards” on which you can place “cards” that have details, to-dos, and even threaded conversations.
  • Slack. This tool is far on the collaboration side of the spectrum, allowing teams to communicate and share information more effectively.

Feedback and Performance Management

If engagement is about being successful, then it follows that we should be measuring success somehow, and performance reviews can at least partially fill that need.

  • Small Improvements. Declaring that the annual review is “dead,” this solution focuses on supporting 1-1 meetings, real-time recognition, and 360-degree feedback.
  • Lattice. This tool connects performance management, employee engagement, and employee development in one solution. It is designed to support teams that are entirely remote. It allows peers and managers to conduct formal performance reviews, as well as recognizing accomplishments and improvement areas.

RELATED ARTICLE: A Deeper Look at Collaboration and Communication in the Workplace

Our Favorite Alignment Tool for Associations: Align

Every once in a while, you come across a tool that is focused specifically on allowing you to align big-picture priorities (read, BHAG) to yearly, quarterly, and even daily goals. Align is exactly that. All of the Blue Cypress companies, including PROPEL, are committed to using Align to help every team member focus on outcomes, no matter where they are.

  • Align. This tool helps managers keep information flowing with regular one-on-one meetings, huddles, and weekly team meetings. The “stuck” feature gives users a chance to recognize and identify a roadblock in any given project. And Align has created an association-specific offering that is designed uniquely for the challenges that associations face.  

The Takeaway 

Digital technology resources have so much to offer associations. They can certainly help streamline routine functions, connect employees or members in physically distant locations, increase engagement, and foster innovation. Online tools, however, cannot solve the biggest organizational issues in isolation.

At PROPEL, we work closely with associations to identify places where misalignment of priorities is impacting your foundational culture. When you’re ready to talk about how to make changes to bring your association back into alignment through a combination of good software and best practices, connect with us here


Photo by Daniel Lim

Align - software that helps align strategy and execution

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