Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

It’s all relative…

July 21, 2021

It’s all relative… Over the course of my 22 years of consulting, I’ve consulted with well over 250 associations. And in that same time, I’ve probably spoken with an additional 1,000 or more. And one thing that still makes me chuckle is when someone says something along the lines of “We’re a small association” or “We have …

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Eliminate to optimize

July 14, 2021

Eliminate to optimize So much of data management is habit (both good and bad) which is why I love James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Implementing better data management habits can help you improve the quality of your data. Here’s another quote from Clear that applies to data management: “More effort is wasted doing things that don’t matter than …

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For data governance, ask “Why?”

July 7, 2021

For data governance, ask “Why?” Recently I’ve had the opportunity to work on several data governance projects with clients. I always find these projects fascinating because of the breadth of data associations collect. It never ceases to amaze me (in a good way!). One of my big takeaways from these projects is that it’s critically important …

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More on Meetings

June 30, 2021

More on Meetings I’ve written before about the importance of making sure your meetings are an effective use of everyone’s time. Teena Whittenhall from Protech Associates shared these two gems with me that I heartily endorse: A meeting without an agenda is called a “waste of time.” A meeting without documented action items will have …

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Action produces momentum

June 23, 2021

Action produces momentum Another great quote from James Clear: “Motivation often comes after starting, not before. Action produces momentum.” One of the greatest obstacles to cleaning up data, or choosing a new AMS, or establishing good business processes (or absolutely anything else) is getting started. And the best way to get started is to just …

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My #1 Best Practice…

June 16, 2021

My #1 Best Practice… A client recently asked me: “If you had to pick a single best practice for data management, what would it be?” Without thinking, I blurted out: “Don’t be stupid.” What I meant by that is too often we are our own worst enemies when it comes to data management. We make business rules that are …

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Encourage engagement with prizes!

June 9, 2021

Encourage engagement with prizes! One of the biggest challenges any organization faces when implementing a new system is user adoption. It’s difficult to get users to engage and make significant changes in their behavior, and user adoption is probably the single most important key to success with a new system. So to address that issue, one …

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Inertia

June 2, 2021

Inertia One definition of inertia is “to remain unchanged.” My sense is that many association processes, projects, or programs are the result of inertia. That is, the process, project, or program was begun with all the best intentions, but years later, it continues because no one has really asked the question: “Should we still be doing this?” Actual examples …

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When’s the “least bad” time?

May 26, 2021

When’s the “least bad” time? When working with clients on a new project, especially a new system launch, the question is always asked, “What’s the best time to do this?” And after a long discussion about all the possible dates and how none of them will really work, I usually suggest “How about we find …

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A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS

May 19, 2021

A poor launch can set the stage for YEARS It is not uncommon for me to get a call from a prospective client and hear something like: “We launched a new AMS last year, but it was a rushed implementation. We never really got things right from the start and now everyone is unhappy.” Too often, …

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Have the courage of your convictions

May 12, 2021

Have the courage of your convictions Having the courage of your convictions means you’re willing to do what you believe is right, even in the face of others disagreeing. I remember really hearing this for the first time from a coach early on in my consulting career. In that context, the coach was saying “You’re …

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Even your online directory is out of date!

May 5, 2021

Even your online directory is out of date! Back in the day of printed directories, there was an aphorism: “By the time your directory hits the street, it’s already out of date.” This was because the data had been collected six months in advance, then had to be collated, designed, sent to the printer, reviewed …

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Start small

April 28, 2021

Start small When I work with my clients on projects that involve measuring member engagement, business intelligence, or data analysis, my advice is always the same: start small. Any one of these types of projects can be overwhelming, which is why it’s important to start small. This will allow you to focus and will provide opportunities to …

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Some context, please

April 21, 2021

Some context, please A pet peeve of mine: A report about associations (e.g., marketing benchmarks report) where the report defines associations by the number of members, but fails to discriminate between trade associations and individual associations. In other words, the report will talk about “associations with fewer than 500 members” as if a trade association with 450 members is somehow the …

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Eventually automated emails get ignored

April 14, 2021

Eventually automated emails get ignored During the discovery and development phase of implementing a new AMS, it is not uncommon for staff to ask for automated emails from the system to alert staff to certain changes that are occurring. A couple of common examples: I’d like the system to send me an email when a …

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The challenge the AMS providers see

April 7, 2021

The challenge the AMS providers see Over the years I’ve asked AMS providers what they see as the biggest challenges their customers face when it comes to successful data management. Two issues always rise to the top: Not knowing all of the features available in the system. I see this a lot with my clients. Very often …

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Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly

March 31, 2021

Be careful about “solutioning” too quickly One of the great things about software developers is that they tend to be “solutions-oriented.” By that, I mean that if you give them a particular data management challenge, they want to figure out some way the software can address that challenge. This is a good thing! But too …

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What’s our next action?

March 24, 2021

What’s our next action? As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time in meetings (I bet you do, too!). If the meeting has to do with a specific project (e.g., a system selection or implementation project), there are two rules I try to adhere to as much as humanly possible: Anything that can …

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Don’t automate for the sake of automation

March 17, 2021

Don’t automate for the sake of automation I’m the laziest person in the world. I LOVE it when I can make the computer do the work for me. For example, I have all kinds of macros set up on my computer to type words for me faster than I could type them myself. So I’m …

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Don’t forget about what got better

March 10, 2021

Don’t forget about what got better Negativity bias is the tendency to focus on only those things that aren’t working, rather than focusing on what has improved. I’ve observed that during a switch from one AMS to another, frequently staff will fall into this trap. The result can be as simple as spending too much time on …

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