An Executive Director's point of view
January 07, 2013: Gender travel differences
On airplanes, it was noted that men often spread out from their seats, commandeering armrests, and letting their legs cross the invisible line between seats. Women, on the other hand, often shrunk into their seats.
Well, the reason is obvious. Men are bigger and take up more space. And women, who are usually smaller, are loathe to fight with them about it.
A female television announcer, who interviewed the author of the study, remarked that she looks for hotels with good hair dryers in the rooms. Well, that's not a function of female vanity nor the societal custom of women appearing more well-groomed than men.
It's because women usually have a lot of hair that needs to be dried. Men frequently have very little.
Some differences are just practical.
December 08, 2012: Get the holiday right
Well, reindeer have nothing to do with Chanukah. And Chanukah, a minor Jewish holiday, has nothing to do with Christmas.
Somebody at the company may have thought that was clever. But it wasn't. It was just dumb.
UPDATE: The product has been removed from the company's web store.
September 23, 2012: Holiday season?
September 14, 2012: Sensitivity and public relations
I just received notice of a meeting held in a major American city on Yom Kippur, the most important of all Jewish holidays. Scheduling an event on that day is the equivalent of scheduling it on Christmas Day.
The host organization said it was aware of the conflict. If it was, it obviously didn't think the conflict mattered to its constituency nor that it would affect turnout.
Always know your audience and be aware of special days that its members regard as important. Even if you don't think a conflict will affect your turnout, it may affect your public relations.
A little sensitivity can go a long way.
August 07, 2012: Which of these things doesn't belong?
Answer: All of them. They have nothing to do with the work of most associations. So, none of them belong in most association offices.
June 19, 2012: Does the wage gap start in kindergarten?
February 24, 2012: Conventional, cooperative, and obedient
They don't want that.
They want people who will be agreeable and will go along with what everybody else wants. They want people who will follow orders and not question anything or challenge anybody. They want people who will adhere to norms and customs, even when those practices seem silly (or are wrong).
But leaders and employees who do that are less likely to be creative or innovative. They are less likely to think of (and implement) new, alternative ways of doing things. They are less likely to change things that need to be changed.
So, to help protect against contrary views, and to stifle independent thinkers, I offer these tips:
1. Try not to disagree with anybody. It may create conflict and others may like you less because of it.
2. Never criticize anything or anybody. You may be viewed as, gosh, controversial, and others may like you less because of it.
3. Strive for unanimous votes. Treat dissenters like disloyal members and try to drive them away.
4. Don't voice your opinions unless you're sure everybody within hearing distance agrees with you. And even then, assure the others it's only your opinion and that you're not trying to influence them.
5. Don't post anything humorous or controversial on your Facebook page. Better yet, don't even create a Facebook page. A "friend" may post something or say something inappropriate, and it might reflect poorly on you.
6. Don't listen to staff when they tell you something can't be done. Remind them that you are the boss and that they should do what you tell them to do.
7. Don't tell your boss that something can't be done - even if it really can't be done. Try your best to figure out a way to do it (good luck with that!).
8. Don't try anything new. If it doesn't work, you'll be blamed - and you might even get fired.
January 20, 2012: Hyphenated names
Always list names of members and customers correctly - in your database, on registration lists, in programs, on name tags, and anywhere else they appear.
If you aren't sure how to read a name (and I don't see why you wouldn't be sure), ask the person. And spell the name correctly, too.
October 25, 2011: Thanksgiving gifts
The gifts will stand out more and won't have to be associated with a religious holiday.
October 12, 2011: Over there
"American associations' products and services are the result of American traditions, experiences, laws, and customs regarding transparency, relationships with government, pluralistic (bottom-up) standards setting, and volunteer activism."
Associations need to spend a lot more time deciding whether or not to expand globally and then do so in a well-thought-out fashion.
Get more details from his ASAE11 presentation.