Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Take action…

July 19, 2023

Take action… “The greatest wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data.” – Peter Drucker This is my favorite quote about data. As I always tell my clients, “Don’t collect data you’re not going to use.” And by “use,” I really mean “take action on.” Putting the data into a report and saying […]

The Rule of 100 and 1,000 revisited

July 12, 2023

The Rule of 100 and 1,000 revisited I’m finding that the “Rule of 100 and 1,000” comes up quite often in discussions with clients, so thought it was a good time to revisit it. (You can read more about the rule here and here.) I was recently talking with a client about how they should […]

You gotta wanna

July 5, 2023

You gotta wanna Long ago I heard a training consultant say you can’t train people who don’t want to learn. Or as he put it, “you gotta wanna” learn. And so it is for data management. In order to really be successful, you “gotta wanna” be successful. And what does that look like? Here are a […]

Be careful not to overbuy

June 14, 2023

Be careful not to overbuy I recently spoke with an association of ten staff that was struggling with their current AMS. One of the primary reasons they were struggling is because this particular AMS is very, very powerful, but also requires a lot of care and feeding to really make the system work. With only 10 […]

When is the best time to clean your data?

June 7, 2023

When is the best time to clean your data? One of the most common questions I get from my clients who want to clean up their data is “This is all so overwhelming. Where do we start?” My response is typically: “Start somewhere, and start today.” I’ve heard a variation of this phrase applied to […]

Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

May 31, 2023

Do the benefits outweigh the risks? As the economist Thomas Sowell points out, there are no solutions, only trade-offs. Every decision we make, every day, involves trade-offs. Another way to look at this is, given a choice of one path vs. the other, will the benefits of that choice outweigh the risks? Is there more […]

Painting the Bridge

May 24, 2023

Painting the Bridge According to this article, the Golden Gate Bridge is painted continuously year-round. That is, rather than painting the entire bridge once per year (or every couple of years), “painting the Bridge is an ongoing task and a primary maintenance job.” This, of course, reminds me of data management. Data management is not a “once […]

Maintenance isn’t sexy

May 17, 2023

Maintenance isn’t sexy I remember reading once long ago that one of the reasons our country’s infrastructure (e.g., bridges, roads) isn’t as well-maintained as it could be is because maintenance isn’t “sexy.” When it comes to choosing between maintaining and/or fixing the current infrastructure versus building new roads and bridges, new always wins out. Maintenance […]

“Will I still have a job when this is done?”

May 10, 2023

“Will I still have a job when this is done? While working with a client on a new AMS implementation recently, the executive director told me she was surprised to hear her staff ask: “With all the improvements and automation that the new AMS brings, will I still have a job?” I’ve been at this […]

Evolution, not revolution

May 3, 2023

Evolution, not revolution I don’t recall where I first heard it many decades ago, but the phrase “evolution, not revolution” always struck me as one key to understanding how data management really works. (I heard the phrase in relation to something else but naturally I found a fit for data management!) It’s really quite simple: When it […]

The power of the users’ group

April 26, 2023

The power of the users’ group Recently in an online users group forum for an AMS provider, a poster asked a question about a fairly complex topic. The poster received multiple replies that pointed her toward a solution. She then posted: “Thank you everyone for the insights. I know why I rely more on this […]

Who is your data evangelist?

April 19, 2023

Who is your data evangelist? I was recently talking with a client of mine about a new position they are hoping to add, one they were calling “data hygienist” (a title I love). This is an association with over 50 staff, so having someone on staff dedicated to keeping the data clean makes a lot of […]

Who is your data evangelist?

April 19, 2023

Who is your data evangelist? I was recently talking with a client of mine about a new position they are hoping to add, one they were calling “data hygienist” (a title I love). This is an association with over 50 staff, so having someone on staff dedicated to keeping the data clean makes a lot of […]

Ratio of Data to Errors

April 12, 2023

Ratio of Data to Errors One of the elements of a good data governance plan is establishing data quality metrics. Put another way, what are your measurements for how good your data really is? One of the simplest but perhaps most powerful metrics is the ratio of data to errors (or what percentage of your data […]

Back to basics

April 5, 2023

Back to basics Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed that some AMS vendors are adding in more sophisticated automated duplicate record checkers into their systems. These are not just “is this email already in the database” but much more. For example, one vendor has a tool that not only identifies potential duplicate records but […]

Your people matter

March 29, 2023

Your people matter I’ve written many times about how people, process, and technology have to work together in order to have the greatest success with your data management. I was reminded of this again recently when discussing an issue with a client. The client wants to (wisely) collect information when members and customers contact them […]

We remember moments…

March 22, 2023

We remember moments… “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese Another way of looking at this is that it’s the small things people remember, not the big ones. For example: Your members and customers won’t remember the roll out of your new AMS, but they will remember that their contact information […]

Acknowledging problems is part of managing expectations

March 15, 2023

Acknowledging problems is part of managing expectations Research was done some time ago that suggested that the best way for doctors and hospitals to avoid costly litigation for malpractice was simply to apologize. The vast majority of people who sued their doctor or hospital just wanted someone to admit that mistakes were made! I find […]

Need data? Consider third-party sources

March 8, 2023

Need data? Consider third-party sources I always tell my clients, only collect data that you’re actually going to use. A corollary to that rule might be “If you’re really going to use the data, you don’t have to collect all the data yourself; consider third party sources for data you need.” It’s not unusual for […]

Action must follow the decision

March 1, 2023

Action must follow the decision When I work with my clients on their projects (whether system selection, system implementation, or other data management projects), I emphasize to them how important decision-making is. We can’t move if we don’t make choices, and if we don’t move, we can’t make progress/improve things. But the key to any […]

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