Hi! Ask JP question today is, “What should associations put on their ‘do not do’ list. What are they wasting time on and what should they focus on instead?”
Oh, I love this question. Because here’s my experience:
This year we were involved in a lot of strategic planning sessions and, boy, let me tell you what! When you say, “Hey, what should be our priorities and what should we do?” Man, people reply, “We got all sorts of content! We have all sorts of things that we need to add to the to-do list!” When you say, “What should we stop doing,” it’s crickets out there.
Man, no one has an idea or is willing to say, “Let’s get rid of this program.” They’re just reluctant to do that. I’ll tell you what, we ought to adopt this whole thing where you add something, you get rid of something. Diane says that she does this in with our closets. When we add something, we take something away. I’d like to see that in practice, it’s a good idea.
Associations should do the same thing: add a program, get rid of a program.
A long time ago, I was working for a great association. There was a lot of anxiety and angst. They decided to eliminate their magazine. Now, this isn’t an indictment on magazines, but they went through the process and said, “Oh my gosh, you know, lots of people get this!” It was probably in dentists’ offices all over the country. You know, there was a lot of anxiety around getting rid of the magazine. When they got rid of the magazine, what happened? Nothing. Like five people called. We were sending out, you know, hundreds of thousands of these publications! Believe me, there’s stuff there that you should eliminate.
Here’s the challenge, though. Often your members don’t know what those things are. I think this is primarily a staff job. But the staff needs to have the courage and needs to be empowered in a way that they can get rid of programs at the association that are no longer necessary.
Good luck with that in 2020. Thanks!