Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

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! […]

You don’t have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful

January 25, 2024

You don’t have to automate EVERYTHING to be successful I was discussing a data management process with a client recently. We were trying to determine the best path for automating a particular process, and at one point the client said “I feel like it’s a failure if we can’t automate this process.” And then it […]

Technology won’t solve your process problems

January 17, 2024

Technology won’t solve your process problems Over the past few years I’ve watched as many more associations have taken to adopting project management (PM) software. On its face, this is a good thing. But my experience with my clients is that many of them are struggling to have much success with their PM software and […]

“Screen noise” is a real thing. You might be able to fix it.

January 10, 2024

“Screen noise” is a real thing. You might be able to fix it. One of the most common complaints I hear from my clients about their AMS is something along the lines of “There are all these fields on the screen we never use. They just get in the way and are annoying.” This is […]

Success Starts at the Top

December 20, 2023

Success Starts at the Top I recently had a conversation with an association staffer who was asking for ideas on how she could increase staff adoption of a certain enterprise-wide technology. As she put it, “Only half the staff uses it. The rest seem to have no interest, no matter what I do.” In the course […]

Who are you bringing along?

December 13, 2023

Who are you bringing along? Last week I had the opportunity to attend the AWTC Advance, an in-person event sponsored by AWTC, the Association Women Technology Champions. As their website states, AWTC “is a networking and educational group, providing knowledge and support to advance women in association technology.” (Click here to learn more.) I was really impressed […]

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