Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer

When I’m working with a new client on a project, for example, selection of a new AMS, they’ll often ask me “Who should be involved in this project? Which staff should I include?”

Along with including all the people who are the subject matter experts that need to be included, and the senior staff who need to be involved to make decisions and set priorities, I also always recommend the following:

“Include anyone you think will actively work against the success of this project.”

That usually makes my clients stop and think. Many will ask “Why would we include those who don’t want this project to succeed?”

My response is that it’s always better to have your detractors “inside” where you can keep them up to date than “outside” where they can wreak large amounts of havoc. This may seem counter-intuitive, but having your detractors close by will allow you to keep an eye on them and may even help you to persuade them to support the project!

So if you’re working on a project and know of active detractors, invite them in to work on the project.

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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