Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

But are you really willing to change?

September 22, 2021

But are you really willing to change? When any organization is making a change in data management systems, one of the most important considerations during implementation is what business processes need to be changed. Or put another way, when we change the software, are we also willing to change how we do the things we do? It is …

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Two tips for data conversion

September 15, 2021

Two Tips for Data Conversion I’ve written a lot about data conversion over the years (click here for a list) but when I’m asked by my clients for advice on their data conversion, two tips always rise to the top: Convert the absolute minimum amount of data possible. Look at all the data you have and …

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Who should “own” the database?

September 8, 2021

Who should “own” the database? One of the most common questions I get from my clients is “Who should have responsibility for the database?” That is typically followed by “Should it be the membership department, or IT, or somewhere else?” Back in the day, I would recommend that whoever was “closest” to the data should manage it. For …

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What makes you weird?

September 1, 2021

What makes you weird? When I work with clients on selecting a new association management system, one thing I’m digging for is what makes the association weird. What I mean by that is, what is the association doing that most other associations don’t typically do? This is important for a couple of reasons: The weird stuff is usually pretty important …

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Why “AMS Consortiums” Don’t Work

August 25, 2021

Why “AMS Consortiums” Don’t Work About once a year I will get a call from an association executive who has partnered with one or more “similar” associations in search of a new AMS. The group of associations believes they can find one AMS to serve all of the members of the group, and by pooling their resources they can get more …

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Your vendor will disappoint you

August 18, 2021

Your vendor will disappoint you I follow politics as a hobby. A past publisher from a political opinion magazine I read would tell his new writers: “Don’t fall in love with any politician; at some point, they will disappoint you.” I think the same advice can be given about your AMS vendor: “Don’t fall in …

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Learn how to lose

August 11, 2021

Learn how to lose “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” …

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Ownership is Required

July 28, 2021

Ownership is required When asked for the most common reason AMS implementations fail, I typically respond “lack of testing.” But implementation is only the first step in the process. Long-term success for the AMS requires ownership. What do I mean by ownership? I mean that someone (or a team) internally has actual responsibility for the long-term success …

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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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