These are a few of my favorite tips…

With the recent release of my book, Put Your Data to Work: 52 Tips and Techniques for Effectively Managing Your Database, I’ve been asked by several people which of the tips are my favorites. So this next series of blog posts will focus on that. Each of these tips is reproduced verbatim from the book.

Tip # 38 – “Train” senior management

Perhaps the greatest fear among AMS managers is the thought of their senior management actually changing records in the database. Fear not. I’m not suggesting that you train senior management to process data in your database. What I am saying is that senior management should be taught what is in the database, and what the database is capable of doing. Put together a “training session” for senior management (including the CEO) that will outline what is in the database, how it is managed, who is responsible for managing it, and how the data are used. You will be amazed at the kinds of discussions that will occur in the room as a result of this simple exercise.


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has 700-plus staff, more than 100 of whom work in the association’s centralized AMS. During training for database users, one user pointed out that she had learned as much about what other departments in NRECA were doing as she learned about how to use the database. When her boss heard this, he suggested that the senior management of NRECA meet to learn what was in the database and what it was capable of doing. Thus “Senior Management Database Training” was born.

The purpose of the “training” was to provide an overview of NRECA’s database so that each department head could understand what data was being captured, by whom, and for what purpose. The training consisted of a one-hour overview of all the data that was being managed in the database and by which department, followed by a one-hour discussion on how the departments could more effectively use the tools that were available to them. The session was a great success. At one point, department A learned that department B had already collected data that department A was about to survey the members to obtain. With this one meeting, not only did NRECA staff save time and money by not surveying their members for data they already had, but they saved themselves the embarrassment of asking their members the same question within a couple weeks of each other.

You can buy the book here in e-book or printed version.

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, 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.

Scroll to Top