Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

Iterate or innovate?

February 9, 2022

Iterate or innovate? When moving to a new association management system, there is often an implicit question of whether the move is for iteration or innovation. The beauty is, it can be both. Iteration is doing the same things, but better. Innovation is doing new things that create new value. For most of my clients, the focus …

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Who is in control?

February 2, 2022

Who is in control? Speaking with a client once about their database project, the client said something I found rather profound: “I want to feel like I control the database, not that the database is controlling me.” There’s a lot going on in that statement, and there are a lot of elements that affect whether …

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Sometimes Staff Has to do the Work

January 26, 2022

Sometimes staff has to do the work… As a child, I was attracted to computers because of the games. As a young professional, I was attracted to computers to make my life easier (because I’m inherently lazy!). So when I work with my clients, I love to automate as much as can be automated. But sometimes …

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Documentation and the Great Resignation

January 19, 2022

Documentation and the Great Resignation Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, you’ve heard of the Great Resignation. (If not, just google it; 2.47 BILLION results…) It’s possible that your own organization has been hit by it. The immediate effect is that you’ve got even fewer staff to help with the everyday work that needs to …

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Data Management Strategy

January 12, 2022

Data Management Strategy Do you know what your data management strategy is? If you have one written down, congratulations! If you don’t, well I have news for you: that IS your data strategy. You have a data strategy, whether you know it or not. It’s your choice as to whether it was created actively or passively. …

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It’s always about trust

January 5, 2022

It’s always about trust When I work with clients on almost any data management project, a very common theme is one of trust. Or more specifically, a lack of trust in the data that’s in the primary system. This is reflected in the way staff talks about the data, very often saying things like “I …

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You can’t outsource buy-in

December 16, 2021

You can’t outsource buy-in One factor consistent with all of my most successful projects is that there is strong buy-in from staff. That is, the staff works very diligently to ensure the success of the project. They allocate the needed time, they learn what they need to know to be successful, and they execute on …

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Use it or lose it!

December 8, 2021

Use it or lose it! I’m referring here to the data you collect. If you are collecting data that you’re not actually using (and I bet you are!), stop collecting it, and clean it out of your database. Almost every client I’ve worked with has identified data in the database that is no longer being used. Often …

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“If I could only do one thing…”

December 1, 2021

“If I could only do one thing…” Managing data throughout your organization can be overwhelming. Do you have the right people in place? Do you have the right technology? Do your processes make sense? My clients often ask me: “If I could only do one thing to improve my data management, what should it be?” My …

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Gratitude

November 24, 2021

Gratitude As Thanksgiving in the US approaches, I’m reminded of the importance of gratitude, in life, and yes, in data management. I’m grateful for the amazing advances in technology over my career for many reasons, but here are just a couple of examples: Back in the mid-90s, I managed a staff of six individuals who were …

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“It’s more than I have, but less than I want.”

November 17, 2021

“It’s more than I have, but less than I want.” “It’s more than I have, but less than I want.” These are words uttered by a client of mine recently when looking at new data management software for their organization. There is some deep truth in both parts of that sentence: “It’s more than I have…” Obviously …

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Don’t forget Parkinson’s Law

November 10, 2021

Don’t forget Parkinson’s Law “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” – Cyril Parkinson Many of us are familiar with Parkinson’s Law, especially as it applies to meetings. (If you schedule a meeting for an hour, guess how long it will take to cover the agenda?) But Parkinson’s Law also …

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Just Respond

November 3, 2021

Just Respond Growing up my father used to tell my many siblings and me that if we showed up to work on time and sober, we’d probably do just fine. I always thought he was joking until I entered the workforce and discovered he was right! You can really stand out if you just show …

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People fear uncertainty, not change

October 27, 2021

People fear uncertainty, not change If you’ve ever worked on any big project that was likely to bring about significant change (and what project doesn’t??), you’ve probably heard someone say something like “Our staff is really afraid of change.” But the truth is, people aren’t afraid of change, they’re afraid of uncertainty. How do I …

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“Working with you is like going to therapy.”

October 20, 2021

“Working with you is like going to therapy.” I was working with a client last week and at the end of our conversation she said “Working with you is like going to therapy!” (This is not the first time I’ve heard this from a client.) What she meant is that she did a lot of …

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The best ideas are stolen

October 13, 2021

The best ideas are stolen I don’t remember where I first heard it, but someone said (or wrote) “The best ideas are stolen.” And so I’ve stolen that thought for myself! (I would give credit if I could, but I simply don’t remember.) Another of my favorite stolen ideas is this: “There are those who backup …

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It’s all about expectations

October 7, 2021

It’s all about expectations One of the most critical contributors to the success of a new AMS implementation (or any new system) is managing expectations. I define managing expectations as helping staff and users understand what the system will, and critically, what it will not, do. When I start an AMS selection project with a …

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Either you test, or your members will

September 29, 2021

Either you test, or your members will If I was forced to choose the single most important activity during a system implementation, I would choose testing. The point of testing is to ensure the system does what you expect it to do in normal, day-to-day use. Can you process and renew members? Can members and …

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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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