Subscribe to my newsletter EDM News
Paradigms shifting
23 April 2009, by , in Data Management, 3 comments

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “paradigm shift,” but I recently experienced one first hand that I found rather interesting.

I was speaking for the Association Forum of Chicagoland at their office downtown. To get to the Forum offices, like most office buildings, you have to ride the elevator. But in the Forum’s building, rather than pushing an “up” or “down” button to call the elevator, you actually enter on a keyboard the floor you are going to, and then the keyboard screen tells you which elevator will take you to your destination. Once on the elevator, of course, there’s no need to push any buttons, as the elevator already knows where it’s going.

It’s a cool system, but it struck me that it really causes you to stop and think about a process that normally is done out of habit: what was “push the up button, wait for one of the elevators, get on the elevator that is going up, enter the elevator and push your floor button,” now becomes “enter your floor button on keypad, get on the correct elevator, and you’re done.” At first, the process takes longer, because I have to think about what I’m doing. But eventually, the process will be quicker than before, as presumably entering the floor before you enter the elevator allows the elevators to be more efficient (i.e., arrive more quickly or deliver me more quickly).

The same applies to any time we change business processes, whether it’s related to our database or to other systems within our organization. What may have once been a somewhat mindless “out of habit” process will now cause us to think, at least initially, about what we have to do. And that will likely slow us down, at least at first.

So keep the elevators in mind when you change processes. Things may slow down at first, but over time they should be more effective and efficient. Shift those paradigms!

About author:

3 Comments on "Paradigms shifting"

David M. Patt, CAE - 23 April 2009 Reply

Interesting perspective, Wes. When I first encountered Forum's elevators, I was offended by the apparent nod to security. Along with the "show your ID" in the lobby (which I detest), I was now transported by an elevator that did not give me the freedom to get off at any floor I wanted. It took me only where I was supposed to go.

Kerry Stackpole, CAE IOM - 24 April 2009 Reply

Wes, it's fair to say the paradigm shift is back "big time" as a certain politician used to say. Elevators, social media, business strategy, financial restructuring and if recent developments are any indicator deep within the AMS systems available to the association community. It seems the challenge at hand is to properly set the expectations curve appropriately. Expect lots of complexity and confusion in the early go, and then manage the developing productivity and integration of your knowledge management systems on the tail. Now if I could only remember to get on the correct elevator---oh, I mean search query.

Scott Oser - 24 April 2009 Reply

Wes, I am surprised that more companies are not using this "technology." They had the same kind of system at AAAS when I worked there and that was in 1997. It took me a while to get used to but when I did I liked it. It allows you to save time because when you were getting on in the lobby and were going to one of the higher floors you typically did not have to be on the same elevator with someone who decided not to use the stairs to get to the second floor. It also presumably was more efficient because not every car had the opportunity to stop at every floor. Some times I did question the decision making of the computer since some of the cars I got on with folks going to other floors didn't seem to make sense but the majority of the time it did speed the trip. I do have to add it was kind of humorous at times to watch the folks who were visiting try and figure out what to do.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Sign-up for EDM News

 

 

Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
%d bloggers like this: