Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Why Process is So Important

January 15, 2020

Why Process is So Important One of my favorite business authors is James Clear, who writes all about habit creation and management. The more I read, the more convinced I am that data management relies heavily on habits. Here’s a quote from Clear: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level …

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The Significant Change of SaaS Software

January 7, 2020

The Significant Change of SaaS Software One of the most significant technological changes in the AMS world is the advent of software-as-a-service (SaaS). While SaaS brings many significant changes compared to the old “buy the software” model, the two most significant are pricing and updates: In the old days (now almost gone) you bought the …

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Always, ALWAYS budget for more training

December 18, 2019

Always, ALWAYS budget for more training Always, ALWAYS budget for more training. I don’t know how else to say this. But for 98% of all associations implementing a new AMS (or any major new system), the training budget needs to be increased, not decreased. Yes, I know; systems should be more intuitive; there should be more online, on-demand …

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We’ve always done it that way

December 11, 2019

We’ve always done it that way A couple of weeks ago I wrote about approving memberships, and how some associations make it far too complicated. (You can read that here.) It’s a good example of “we’ve always done it that way.” Anyone who has been around for more than a few days has probably encountered this line. “We’ve …

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Are you sure it doesn’t do that?

December 4, 2019

Are you sure it doesn’t do that? Even after 20 years of consulting, I’m surprised at how often I’ll hear from my clients “Our AMS doesn’t do that” when I know that the AMS does, in fact, do “that.” Usually, this is because staff has asked other staff about whatever “that” is, rather than going directly …

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Be grateful

November 27, 2019

Be grateful As Thanksgiving approaches here in the US, I’m reminded of two words: Be grateful There is so much to be grateful for in the world, but I’ll limit my gratitude to data management. We should be grateful for ALL of the amazing technology advances in the past 20 years that have made data management so much easier, …

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Do you really need to approve them?

November 20, 2019

Do you really need to approve them? I often joke that the very best (because it’s simple and simple is best) business rule for membership is “Anyone with a pulse and a credit card can join.” In other words, other than being able to pay, there are no other requirements for membership. But very often I encounter associations who …

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Negativity bias is why we need database PR

November 13, 2019

Negativity bias is why we need database PR I’ve written before how cognitive biases can affect data management. Another bias to add to the list is negativity bias. Simply put, our brains are hardwired to register and dwell on negative stimuli more than positive ones. Which is just another reason why it’s important to practice database public relations. …

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A system change requires a culture change

November 6, 2019

A system change requires a culture change By its very nature, when you introduce a new enterprise-wide system like a new AMS, you are going to have to change the culture of your organization in order to best leverage the new system. A simple example: When I work with my clients on selecting a new …

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Where is that data?

October 30, 2019

Where is that data? This is what data management nirvana looks like: When the question starts with “Where is the data that tells us… …how many members we have? …who is on that committee? …what are the attendance numbers for our upcoming event? …what Wes’s email address is? The answer is always the same: “It’s in the database.” Not …

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Be deliberate, but act quickly

October 23, 2019

Be deliberate, but act quickly Be deliberate, but act quickly. These are my words of advice when it comes to selecting and implementing a new AMS. Be deliberate…make sure you’re putting in the time to figure out what you need from an AMS and which vendors are the best possible fit. And during implementation, make …

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Why associations don’t like the “S” word

October 16, 2019

Why associations don’t like the “S” word A couple of weeks ago I asked my readers why associations seem to fear the word “sales.” I received dozens of responses here and on LinkedIn (thanks to everyone who responded!). The reasons I heard seemed to fall into the following three categories: Associations are non-profits, and “sales” suggests profit. As …

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The “S” stands for “Standard”

October 9, 2019

The “S” stands for “Standard” In a conversation with a past client, we were discussing the importance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) when managing data. I refer to this, generically, as documentation. Your processes need to be written down so that staff knows how to manage the data. My client pointed out that one of …

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Is that meaningless data?

September 25, 2019

Is that meaningless data? I’m not a big quotes guy, but one of the few I love comes from Peter Drucker in The Effective Executive: “”The greatest wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data.” Put another way: If the data tells you something but you don’t act on it, that data is useless. …

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Be aware of unintended consequences

September 18, 2019

Be aware of unintended consequences I’ve written before that every decision involves a trade-off. When considering the trade-offs that every decision requires, you should also keep in mind any unintended consequences that the decision may create. Consider the following example: A client of mine recently changed AMSes. As part of that change, members have to …

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Positive change is harder to see

September 11, 2019

Positive change is harder to see Humans are wired to see negative change because we need to protect ourselves; a negative change is seen as a risk and a danger. Positive change is much more difficult to see; there’s no risk involved. Think about it this way: When there’s a negative change with your data (e.g., …

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MVP: Minimum Viable Product

September 4, 2019

MVP: Minimum Viable Product In product development there is a concept known as MVP, or minimum viable product. Simply put, this means getting the product out into the market with the least amount of features, in order to get customer feedback and to just get something out there! This concept can be applied in multiple …

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You always need a reason for collecting data

August 28, 2019

You always need a reason for collecting data When you ask for data from someone (member, customer, prospect, etc.) there has to be a clear reason the person you’re asking will provide that data. (The reason needs to be clear to the consumer!) If you’re selling a membership or event registration, asking for contact info, …

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If you’re unhappy, speak up!

August 21, 2019

If you’re unhappy, speak up! My clients will often ask me something along the lines of the following: “I’m not happy with how this project is going. Should I say something to the vendor?” My answer is always the same, regardless of circumstance: Yes! Say something! You never want your vendor to say to you …

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Does it advance the mission?

August 14, 2019

Does it advance the mission? Because associations are mission-driven, everything you do should be seen through the prism of this question: “Does it advance the mission?” This applies to everything you do in your database, too. Does the data you’re collecting help advance your mission? Does the software you’re using allow you to extract and analyze …

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