An Executive Director's point of view

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
An organization President, while pitching a proposal to a Foundation, was asked if the group had a long-term strategic plan.

The President replied that the organization had been in operation for thirty-three years, that it knew what it was doing, and that it did not need a strategic plan.

The Foundation told the group not to submit any more proposals.

Another organization declared that it would not be bound by plans and budgets and that it would implement whatever programs it thought were necessary, whenever it thought that should be done.

EVERY organization should have a plan (whatever the plan is called) and a budget. It should determine its priorities and identify the resources that will be allocated to those priorities. And it should not make a habit of doing things that were neither planned nor budgeted.

Unfortunately, quite a few groups will continue to operate without a plan or budget. They may not even be deterred by running out of money.

February 24, 2016: Can't

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Some people will never utter that word. They may admit a task is challenging, difficult, tough, or requires more resources, but they'll never say it "can't" be done.

Well, there are a lot of things that can't be done, and insisting that they can be done and then trying to do them is frequently a waste of time (and often leads to failure).

It's wiser to tackle tasks that are doable and that are more likely to lead to success.

Having a can-do attitude means knowing how to select the proper strategy and then implementing it. It does not mean being willing to run head-first into brick walls.

February 15, 2016: Reality

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
You are more likely to succeed if you plan for the real world than for the dreamworld.

Remember this.

September 09, 2015: You don't look busy

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
But I am. I'm thinking.

If you have to write a letter or a report, edit a newsletter, create a new project, or conduct any of a multitude of association tasks, you are likely to do a much better job if you think and plan first.

You don't have to "look busy." You can pace, stare out the window, bounce a ball off the wall (unless that disturbs your co-workers), play a video game, or do whatever stimulates your brain.

Don't start writing or creating until you're ready. The end product will be much better.

September 02, 2015: But it's a good idea...

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Associations should not pursue good ideas. They should pursue the best ideas.

You'll need to think and plan strategically to do that.

Determine your organization's mission, identify and prioritize the activities you feel will lead to fulfillment of that mission, and implement those programs that you have the resources to pursue.

If you identify 100 good ideas, for example, but only have the resources to implement three, select the three best ideas. Don't tackle #44 if you haven't first dealt with #2.

Utilize laser sharp focus in selection of your activities, and only do what you have the resources to do well. The more things you try to do, the less likely you'll succeed at any of them.

It's better to do an excellent job at a small number of programs than to do a mediocre job at many.

August 15, 2015: Do this for everybody

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
An article suggesting ways of marketing to millennials, suggested the following:

1. Consistently deliver value;
2. Build trust via quality products and excellent service.

Shouldn't you do that for everybody?

July 01, 2015: Do less, not more

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Associations want to succeed. Sometimes, that means doing less, not more.

It's often better to conduct one or two excellent programs than it is to do a less than excellent job at eight or nine.

Measure success by how much you accomplish, not by how much you try to accomplish.
Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
Association professionals spend a great deal of time analyzing data, both anecdotal and what appears to be statistically valid.

In many instances, that is done to determine how to pitch membership, publications, conferences, and other organizational activities to various audiences. The intent is to find out what people want and how they want it presented to them. Programs are then designed to meet audience needs.

But often, associations seek to persuade people to support programs (and ideas) that have already been crafted. They want to advance programs and ideas that have not been embraced by the majority of their audiences, or those that may even conflict with existing practices.

That doesn't mean the groups are poorly informed or misdirected. It means they want to change the way things are done and they are using the data to help them decide how to do that.

They hope to create demand, not respond to it.

January 07, 2015: What's our purpose?

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
It may sound silly, but every so often it can be healthy for each member of the Board of Directors to state, in one short sentence, the purpose of the organization.

Yes, there is probably a mission statement, as well as other planning and/or promotional documents that state the purpose of the organization. But those are usually very general and are crafted to attract the support of multiple audiences.

Board members, you may find, often have different notions of the organization's purpose, and they think, speak, act, and vote in accordance with those notions, usually assuming their colleagues think similarly.

So, it can be helpful to periodically regroup, even just briefly, and ask everybody to state what they believe is the purpose of the organization.

If they all agree, fine. But if they don't, you then need to learn why they see things differently, determine how best to get them to share the same view, and, perhaps, how to change the purpose of the organization because it may no longer be doing what the Board thinks it ought to be doing.

September 18, 2014: What's the WIG idea?

Category: Planning
Posted by: David M Patt
...Say no to good ideas so you can focus on great ideas...

That was the message of today's webinar hosted by Association Forum of Chicagoland.

(WIG = Wildly Important Goals)
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