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!
“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.”
“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.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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