My advice? Stop doing that

My advice? Stop doing that!

There is a classic TV sketch featuring Bob Newhart as a therapist. He helps his patients overcome their issues by using two magic words: "Stop it." (You can see the clip here: The sketch is funny because his advice is incredibly simple but obviously very difficult to apply.

Remarkably, this is the advice I often give my clients when they're struggling with a particular data management issue. Because very often, the troubles are self-inflicted. The association has created incredibly arcane and complex business rules that just serve to make life more difficult, not easier. I've probably seen hundreds of examples of this. Here are just a few examples of business rules that are making data management more difficult, not easier:

  • Membership rules are different for members from one state (i.e., all states have the same member rules EXCEPT one state).
  • Requiring staff to review membership applications prior to accepting payment (so payment has to be collected later, not during the application process), even though 99.5% of applicants are accepted.
  • Asking a dozen questions on an event registration form that are unrelated to the event itself.

What all of these examples have in common is that they make data management more difficult and every one of them is self-inflicted. The associations chose to put these rules in place.

So when a client asks me "How can we improve this process?" my answer often is "Stop it. Stop doing what you're doing, because it's actually making things worse, not better."

Take a look at the processes in your organization. What can you stop doing, right now, that will improve data management?

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

“Is this normal?”

May 25, 2022

“Is this normal?” ne of the greatest parts about my job is that I get …

“Is this normal?” Read More »

Give your staff more freedom, not less

May 18, 2022

Give your staff more freedom, not less I often tell my clients, when it comes …

Give your staff more freedom, not less Read More »

Is a college degree really required?

May 4, 2022

Is a college degree really required? I saw a job listing last week for an …

Is a college degree really required? Read More »

Small actions become big wins

April 27, 2022

Small actions become big wins I’ve written before about how data accretes, the idea that …

Small actions become big wins Read More »

Try not to OFFEND your members…

April 20, 2022

Try not to OFFEND your members… I recently received an email from an association where I’ve …

Try not to OFFEND your members… Read More »

How will you use that data?

April 6, 2022

How will you use that data? One of the beauties of technology today is how easy …

How will you use that data? Read More »

Pennywise and pound foolish

March 30, 2022

Pennywise and pound foolish One definition of the phrase “pennywise and pound foolish” is to …

Pennywise and pound foolish Read More »

How you respond matters

March 23, 2022

How you respond matters Very recently I wrote that I measure customer service by how …

How you respond matters Read More »

Your one non-renewable resource

March 16, 2022

Your one non-renewable resource For any project, the three primary resources are time, money, and …

Your one non-renewable resource Read More »

No system is perfect

March 9, 2022

No system is perfect When working with my clients on the selection of a new …

No system is perfect Read More »

Scroll to Top