Wes's Weekly Wisdom Archives

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 […]

Everything should be focused on improving user adoption

February 22, 2023

Everything should be focused on improving user adoption Your AMS is a tool, and a tool is only as good as the person using it. And if the tool isn’t being used at all, then the tool is useless, by definition. This is why everything you do related to the AMS has to answer this […]

Needs change over time, and that’s OK

February 15, 2023

Needs change over time, and that’s OK I was speaking with a couple of association executives recently about their desire to find a new association management system to replace their current AMS. The incumbent system had been in place for more than a decade. During the course of the conversation, it struck me that the […]

The vaguer the question, the vaguer the answer

February 9, 2023

The vaguer the question, the vaguer the answer As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. Which is why I encourage my clients to be as specific as possible when asking questions. This is especially useful during the AMS sales process. For example, if you ask an AMS salesperson, “Can your product […]

The best choice given the information you have

February 2, 2023

The best choice given the information you have “Hindsight is 20/20” is a cliché because, like most clichés, it’s true. It’s easy to look back weeks, months, or years later at a given action and see what you should have done differently. When I work with my clients on any project, but especially AMS implementation […]

Action isn’t the same as progress

January 25, 2023

Action isn’t the same as progress I’ve written before that not taking action is an acceptable response to a question. That is, sometime it’s better to leave things alone than to try to “fix” them. A corollary to that rule is “Action isn’t the same as progress.” Working with a client recently, they asked me […]

Start with the end in mind

January 18, 2023

Start with the end in mind Like so many, I probably first heard the phrase “Begin with the end in mind” in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s incredibly powerful advice, especially when an organization is converting from one AMS to another, or is adding a new process to an existing system. During […]

It’s quiet in here…maybe TOO quiet…

January 11, 2023

It’s quiet in here…maybe TOO quiet… One of the truisms of data management is that there is no stasis; either your data is getting better or it’s getting worse. (More about that here.) A corollary to that is that if things are “too quiet” there’s probably something wrong. Put another way, if you’re not working […]

It’s ALWAYS about expectations

January 4, 2023

It’s ALWAYS about expectations The headline reads: “Tesla sets record for vehicle deliveries, an increase of 40% over a year ago.” This is great news, right? I mean, they set a record! But not so fast. The next sentence reads: “However, the fourth-quarter numbers fell shy of analysts’ expectations.” Ahhh, “expectations.” They set a record, […]

It’s hard to get UNangry

December 14, 2022

It’s hard to get UNangry I often emphasize to my clients the importance of testing and training. When a new system (or new functionality) is rolled out, you have to be sure things have been tested properly (so that it actually works) and you need to be sure staff is trained on how to use […]

Some history IS important!

December 7, 2022

Some history IS important! When I’m advising clients on data conversion (moving data from one system to another) my advice is always the same: “Convert as little data as possible.” There is one big exception to this rule: volunteer and award history. Almost all volunteer history (and certainly all award history) should be kept, essentially […]

“Many mickles make a muckle.”

November 30, 2022

“Many mickles make a muckle.” “Many mickles make a muckle.” – George Washington Apparently, this was an old Scottish saying (and a favorite of George Washington’s) that means “things add up.” Over time, many little things can become big things. This is absolutely true when it comes to managing data. Many little decisions and actions we take […]

It’s easy to collect; it’s harder to manage

November 16, 2022

It’s easy to collect; it’s harder to manage The beauty of today’s highly configurable AMS products is that they make it very easy to collect and store data. But configuring the system is actually the easy part. The “hard” part is ensuring there is a process in place to collect and manage the data and that […]

Tell them why you want the data

November 9, 2022

Tell them why you want the data Because data is so easy to collect these days, there’s a tendency to try to collect all kinds of data about our members and customers, in the hopes that “maybe we’ll use that data eventually.” One of the (many) problems with this approach is that our members and […]

Don’t get hung up on something minor

November 2, 2022

Don’t get hung up on something minor I’m a problem solver. I love to solve problems. Which is great until it’s not. One trap for problem solvers like me is trying to solve a problem that really doesn’t need to be solved. I see this happen a lot in data management, especially as it pertains to […]

Be flexible, especially for unusual requests

October 26, 2022

Be flexible, especially for unusual requests One of the great benefits of off-the-shelf association management software (AMS) products is that the products are “built for the masses,” meaning the functionality that most associations need (e.g., membership, events, committees, etc.) is already built into the system in some form or another. Because the products are meant to appeal to the […]

“Her eyes were bigger than her stomach.”

October 19, 2022

“Her eyes were bigger than her stomach.” When I was a child, my siblings used to joke about how one of our sisters, on the rare occasion when we ate at a restaurant (like McDonald’s!), was well known for ordering way more food than she could eat. Later in life I heard the phrase “Her eyes […]

Once you buy crap…

October 12, 2022

Once you buy crap… “When you buy something cheap and bad, the best you’re going to feel about it is when you buy it. When you buy something expensive and good, the worst you’re going to feel about it is when you buy it.” – grandmother of Sasha Aickin, former CTO at Redfin. I love this […]

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