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What is “small”? Depends on who you ask.
17 January 2018, by , in Executive, No comments

Over my nearly 30 years in the association space, one of the things that always gives me a chuckle is when I hear an association executive say “I work at a small association.” Because I know in my mind that “small” most likely means something different to that person than it does to me.

For example, my first association had seven staff when I started there. My second had 30, and my third one had 50. Which of these was a “small” association? By my experience, seven staff is “small,” 30 staff is “mid size” and 50 pushes into “large.” Yet I’ve met many, many association execs over the years who would say “I work at a small association” and when I ask how many staff, they respond north of 30. I’ve even met a few who said “small” and then told me they had 100 staff! I’ve long since learned to follow any statement like this with “How do you define small?”

This is important because too often we assume that we understand another’s perspective or definition of words. And that can lead to some really serious problems down the road. So as Covey once wrote, always seek first to understand. When someone says “small” or “difficult” or “crazy,” don’t just assume you know what they mean. Ask them to define it.

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Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
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Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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