Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy

September 2, 2020

Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy Having worked now in the association space for more than 30 years, I’ve heard my share of association executives utter the phrase “Our members aren’t very tech savvy.” This phrase is often followed with (or preceded by) “Our members are older.” (And this is typically related to the members not …

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Newton’s First Law

July 15, 2020

Newton’s First Law Part of Newton’s First Law states that “…an object in motion stays in motion…” What does this have to do with data management? Quite a bit, actually. One of the many challenges of data management is the constant grind of keeping data clean. (I refer to this as “weeding the garden.”) With most …

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Engagement is measured by the customer

May 27, 2020

Engagement is Measured by the Customer I’ve written a bunch about measuring engagement in the past. (Click here to read one of my favorites.) But one thing that’s critically important to understand is that ultimately, engagement is not measured by the association, but by the member or customer. Click here for an example of what I mean. For some …

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A Data Integrity Report…for Reports!

July 29, 2019

I’ve written elsewhere about the value of data integrity reports. But one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is that the actual list of reports within their AMS is so unwieldy, they wind up creating new reports (or queries) because they don’t really know what reports they have or what they do. …

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A change of systems requires a change of mindset

July 8, 2019

Every AMS vendor will tell you that the toughest part of implementing a new system is getting the association staff to think differently about the new AMS. And this isn’t just limited to changing processes (although that is incredibly important). It’s also about changing mindset. What do I mean by changing mindset? Here are three …

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Clean as you go

March 28, 2019

Clean As You Go A good cook or baker knows that, when working in the kitchen, you clean as you go, so that there isn’t a HUGE mess to clean up when you finish. The same is true for data management. Clean as you go. If you’re entering registrations for events, or new memberships, or …

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Baby Steps

March 21, 2019

One of the keys to developing good data management habits is to be aware of biting off more than you can chew. Or to put it another way, when you set out to change some data management habit, start with baby steps rather than some huge, unattainable goal. For example, if you’re looking to clean …

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Success Requires Discipline

March 14, 2019

When it comes to data management, most of us know what to do; we just don’t do it. What is required is discipline. Discipline is absolutely critical when it comes to managing data effectively. For example, you have to have the discipline to: enter the data when you receive it (I so often hear associations say “We have …

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Take a moment to be grateful

March 7, 2019

Because we’re so focused on always improving what we have now, it’s easy to overlook the things we already have. I’ve been working in association management systems for almost 30 years now, and the amount of progress in technology over that time is nearly dumbfounding. We’ve gone from systems that were entirely locked down, character-based, …

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KPIs and Dashboards

February 28, 2019

I saw DJ Muller from MemberClicks speak on KPIs (key performance indicators). In his session he stated that KPIs must be presented in real-time in order for them to really be adopted. I think he’s almost right; KPIs need to be as close to real-time as feasible. In other words, if the KPIs are 24 …

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Documenting Process is Critical

February 22, 2019

When it comes to managing data successfully, process is critical. For example, a client of mine recently discussed how important it is for them to capture notes across their organization. As different departments talk to members and customers, it’s critical for staff to capture these conversations in the database. But the reality is this: if …

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Motion vs. Action

February 14, 2019

In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits (I recommend it!), he discusses the concept of motion vs. action. In a nutshell, it’s the idea that we spend too much time planning what we’ll do instead of actually implementing. Because we are planning (motion), we trick ourselves into thinking we’re actually doing something (action).  It’s an easy habit to fall into. …

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Are You Answering Your Calls?

February 7, 2019

I’ve written about this before, but apparently I have to keep repeating it. If you’ve got a “generic” email box (e.g., info@ or contactus@) or a generic voice mail box on your voice mail system, you need to check it EVERY DAY. And you need to RESPOND to inquiries.  The following just occurred: I contacted …

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Who do you trust?

January 31, 2019

Who Do You Trust I was reading an article recently about Warren Buffet’s “rules” for how he chooses companies to invest in. One of these states that, if he doesn’t trust the CEO of the company, he doesn’t invest. No matter how good the numbers, the fundamentals, the market share, if Buffet doesn’t trust the …

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Set benchmarks to measure progress

January 24, 2019

It’s impossible to measure progress if you don’t know your starting point. This sounds axiomatic, but too often it is overlooked by associations looking to improve their data management. Measuring progress requires setting initial benchmarks. The new year is a perfect time to establish your data management benchmarks. Some ideas: How many data integrity reports do you …

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You’ll make incorrect decisions. Acknowledge them and fix it.

January 17, 2019

A client of mine recently wrote the following to me: “It’s so hard to set up a new database and decide how/where you want to track information when you don’t have a really good understanding of the database and how different fields/screens relate to each other. I think at some point when things slow down …

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"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to."

January 10, 2019

In Dan Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he writes: “Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to.” I found this incredibly profound as I thought about how often I’ll hear from my clients and other association executives, “The software should function like this, because that’s how we do it, and that’s …

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Know Your Audience Before You Speak

December 20, 2018

This one may seem obvious, but when you’re speaking to anyone, whether it’s one person, a staff meeting, or a speech to a large group, you need to know your audience. Never assume that who you’re speaking with is “just like everyone else.” This means you should know something about them, and you should know …

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"Behavior is a function of the person in their environment."

December 13, 2018

Lewin’s equation says “behavior is a function of the person in their environment.” (He was a psychologist and this was first published in 1936). The idea is simple; environment affects behavior. One example of where this principle is applied is in grocery stores. The products the store wants to promote most (i.e., the products they …

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Signal-to-noise ratio

December 5, 2018

Signal-to-noise ratio Signal-to-noise ratio, formally used, applies to electricity and engineering, and refers to how much of a desired signal is being received, versus how much background noise is coming through. The same thing applies to your database. The signal is your good data; the noise is your bad data. I’ve argued for years that the …

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