Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Be concise!

July 10, 2024

Be concise! I started a monthly newsletter almost 25 years ago (which I recently discontinued). And almost six years ago I started writing these “Wednesday Wisdom” missives. I’ve received more compliments about my Wednesday Wisdom in six years than I have for my monthly newsletter in nearly 25 years ago. Why? Because these missives are […]

A great example of a data integrity report!

June 26, 2024

A great example of a data integrity report! A couple months back I discussed the importance of data integrity reports. One of my past clients and a longtime reader, David Churchill at Grantmakers in Health, offered up this idea, which I think is fantastic and should be added to any association’s list of data integrity reports. […]

“If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’.”

June 5, 2024

“If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’.” I saw this line recently (“If you keep doin’ what you’re doin’, you’ll keep gettin’ what you’re gettin’.”) and I chuckled because of how often I experience this with my clients. I’ll hear things from my clients like “Our data is really […]

Rather than adding something new, try subtracting

May 29, 2024

Rather than adding something new, try subtracting I read recently that sociological research suggests, when presented with a problem, humans default to “adding” something to address the problem, rather than subtracting. And of course, this got me to thinking about how this happens in data management all the time. Some examples: When faced with a particular challenge for collecting […]

It’s always people, process, and technology

May 22, 2024

It’s always people, process, and technology I speak and write a lot about people, process, and technology (Here’s a whole bunch on that.) In a nutshell, your highest performance will come when the right people are using the right technology in the right way (process). So whenever there is a data management challenge, we need to […]

Once it’s lost, trust can be difficult to regain

May 15, 2024

Once it’s lost, trust can be difficult to regain I recall hearing once long ago that trust is like a bank account with one distinct difference. If you think of telling the truth as one unit of savings, a lie counts as four units of spending. Put another way, every time you “lie” you have to […]

Share your successes!

May 8, 2024

Share your successes! I was speaking at an association meeting recently and one of the points I raised was that associations should practice what I call database PR or database public relations. In a nutshell, database PR is about proactively and regularly telling our users all the good work that is occurring in the database. (Here’s more on database PR.) We need […]

What are YOUR data integrity reports?

May 1, 2024

What are YOUR data integrity reports? Sitting in an AMS demo with a client recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see the AMS vendor had a short list of reports they called “Data cleaning” reports. These reports included a check for potential duplicate records, checking for erroneous emails, and checking for other missing data (e.g., […]

You might have to do SOME of the work yourself!

April 24, 2024

You might have to do SOME of the work yourself! Many, many years ago I met with an executive director of a small association to discuss their needs for a new association management system. In the course of the conversation we determined that one thing she’d like to be able to do is capture key points […]

Don’t manage to the exception!

April 17, 2024

Don’t manage to the exception! One of the universal truths about data management is, wherever possible, avoid managing to the exception. What I mean by this is to avoid developing any process that is designed to catch some arcane or unusual circumstance. Instead, the process should capture what happens the vast majority of the time, and […]

It’s always about improvement

April 10, 2024

It’s always about improvement Talking with a client recently, she expressed frustration about one particular project around data. As she put it, “It feels like no matter what we do, we’re never able to get all the data we want from our members.” My response? “You’re right. You never will. And that’s OK.” Because the reality […]

Don’t be a hoarder!

April 3, 2024

Don’t be a hoarder! The simple truth is that it’s almost “free” to collect data. Or at least that’s how it seems. Set up a field in the database, send out an email and ask for the data, and voila, you’re collecting new data. The problem is that, in many (most?) cases, the data that we […]

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple!

March 27, 2024

With data analytics (as with most things), keep it simple! Over the past several years I’ve spoken with many clients and other associations about their experience with data analytics. I have been surprised to learn that many associations have implemented fairly expensive analytics tools but have not had great success with them. So I was pleasantly surprised to […]

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance

March 20, 2024

Don’t forget about periodic maintenance Just as most automobiles need periodic maintenance, keeping your data as up to date as possible requires maintenance, as well. And while most cars have a “typical” maintenance schedule, they are not all exactly the same (all-electric cars, for example, don’t need oil changes!). The same is true for the data […]

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable

March 13, 2024

Users Groups are ALWAYS Valuable I am a huge fan of users groups. (Here’s a bunch of stuff I’ve written in the past.) A client of mine recently attended their users group meeting, and I was reminded once again of one of the key values of the users group: peer assistance and validation. As I like […]

But will you DO anything with that data?

February 28, 2024

But will you DO anything with that data? I frequently exhort my clients to always answer the question “What will you do with that information?” when they talk about collecting new data or creating new reports, queries, and dashboards. Because it’s “easy” to do these things, we often want to collect or report on data without […]

It’s not what happens, but how you react…

February 21, 2024

It’s not what happens, but how you react… “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus I confess, I did not know this quote came from Epictetus, but it’s one I’ve known for a very long time. It’s applicable to all of life, but so very useful […]

Saying it and doing it are two different things

February 14, 2024

Saying it and doing it are two different things When I work with my clients on a new AMS selection and implementation, one thing I focus on heavily is business rules and business process. This is an area most associations have total control over and is also an area that can bring dramatic improvements to data […]

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement

February 7, 2024

Benefits downstream are difficult to implement In my 25 years of consulting, one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen organizations face is implementing a process change that is initially “difficult” but has significant downstream benefits (i.e., hard now, but beneficial later) . For example, a client of mine explained that it would be very helpful to her […]

Your first answer may NOT be the right answer!

January 31, 2024

Your first answer may NOT be the right answer! I’m a big believer in “go with your gut,” especially if it’s something that you have a lot of experience with. I’m in my 25th year of consulting with associations on all things data management, and my first response to most issues is usually correct. But not always! […]

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