I’ve worked with well over 100 associations in my years as a consultant. In my experience, those of my clients that are most successful are those that don’t just talk about doing things, but actually do things.

I know this may sound obvious, but stick with me a minute.

When I work with my clients, very often I’m giving them all kinds of advice and ideas for how to improve their data management, how to get staff to use the system more effectively, how to save time and money with better technology, and so on. In any given engagement I might provide dozens of different ideas for improvement. And those of my clients who implement even a handful (two or three) of these ideas are by far the most successful. Why? Because they’re actually implementing the ideas, not just discussing them.

Tom Peters talked about a “bias for action” in Good to Great. I’ve always loved that phrase because I identify with it. I don’t want to talk about the great things we can do, I want to do them.

One of the greatest compliments I received from one of my clients went something like this: “Wes, you gave us six or seven actionable ideas, but your one idea for having weekly super-user meetings about the database easily paid for the whole engagement.”

I gave them six or seven ideas, but one was enough to pay for the whole thing. And it wasn’t because of the ideas I gave; it was because they took action on the idea. They actually implemented it.

So when you think about the challenges you are having with your data management, what one or two actionable ideas can you actually implement? And what’s keeping you from doing that right now?