An Executive Director's point of view


September 30, 2016: Why I always keep a time sheet

Posted by: David M Patt
I've always been a CEO and I've always kept a time sheet.

It wasn't to prove to anybody that I was working, to track billable hours when freelancing (that's something different), or to comply with an organizational requirement.

It was to keep an accurate record of the time I spent on various association activities and not force me to rely on my memory for a guesstimate. It helped me plan my day more efficiently.

It also helped the accountant, who used the "gen admin" hours for all employees to calculate the allocation of overhead when conducting the annual audit.

Tip: Record your hours no less than daily. If you wait any longer, you'll forget some things and may unintentionally underestimate the time that was actually required to conduct some tasks.

September 28, 2016: Disabled members and customers

Category: Meetings
Posted by: David M Patt
The keynote speaker at an association conference was wheelchair-bound but the organization failed to provide a ramp for him to reach the speaker's platform.

The hotel, fearing it would be blamed for the oversight, secured a ramp at the last minute.

At another meeting, an association member tightly clutched her walker as she hobbled down a long ramp at the far end of a hallway only to find the doors to the conference room locked. She then climbed back up the ramp and attempted to negotiate the steps inside the meeting room.

Always provide proper access for disabled members and customers. And don't think of it as an extra duty. It should be a routine part of your job.

September 26, 2016: Acceptance

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
We've all sought acceptance from other people during our lives.

From parents, teachers, friends, and romantic interests.

So, I suppose it should not be surprising that people also seek acceptance from co-workers, colleagues, and others in their industry or profession.

But that may be holding them back professionally.

It may prevent them from being creative, innovative, or novel. It may drive them to adhere to the status quo for fear of not being liked or respected. Or the fear of being tagged as "different."

Well, it's best to follow a path that is likely to lead to success, regardless of whether anybody else is walking that same path.

So, strive for success, not acceptance.

September 23, 2016: Still more job titles

In an effort to eliminate negative perceptions of certain groups of people, one organization renamed a position, "Coordinator of Diverse Learners."

I think that used to be the "Special Education Coordinator."

September 22, 2016: Relationships

Category: Sponsorship
Posted by: David M Patt
When signing a sponsor, securing a donor for a fund-raiser, or developing any other type of relationship with a corporate entity, be sure the company is the right fit for the organization. Don't just make a deal for the money.

Ask yourself these questions before you approach a company for support:

1. How is this company related to the work of my organization?

2. Will a relationship with this company anger any of my members?

3. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that are in conflict with those of my organization?

4. Is this company identified with any activities, causes, or advocacy efforts, or does it espouse any beliefs that could negatively impact the public perception of my organization?

5. Will my organization have to say or do something it doesn't want to say or do?

When evaluating the answers to these questions, always put your members' needs first. And don't compromise your organization's integrity just because you need the dough.

September 21, 2016: Traveler pet peeves

Category: Travel
Posted by: David M Patt

September 15, 2016: Making certification cool

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt

September 12, 2016: The (non) performance appraisal

Category: Employment
Posted by: David M Patt
Association professionals are frequently entranced by fads, and one of the latest is the elimination of annual performance appraisals.

Some critics claim that too much time is spent by employers and employees preparing for a process that generates hard feelings and does not yield timely information that is useful for either of them.

That may often be true.

But it is absolutely necessary to evaluate employees, provide instant feedback, ensure they are doing their jobs appropriately, help them feel their roles are important to the association, and let them know their talents are appreciated.

So, call it whatever you want and structure it a different way than has been done in the past.

But don't abolish the process. You still need a method of evaluating employees, providing them with useful feedback, and understanding their concerns.

September 03, 2016: Listen!

Category: Membership
Posted by: David M Patt
Do what members want, not what you think they should want.

They may not want to participate in the activities you believe are best for them.

They may not want to opine on social media, ask questions at educational conferences, or attend meetings you think will be helpful to them.

They may not want to be "engaged" in the way you think they should.

So, don't wrack your brain for new and "innovative" programs (unless that's what members say they want). That won't improve member satisfaction, retention, or recruitment.

Just listen to your members and do for them what they want you to do for them.

September 02, 2016: Beware for-profit strategies

When scanning the for-profit world for management or planning ideas, keep this in mind:

For-profits exist to earn money. Their primary loyalty is to those who invested in the company (stockholders and investors) and expect a return on their investment.

Not-for-profits exist to deliver services. Their primary loyalty is to the people who purchased a service (members, conference attendees, customers) and want to benefit from the ability to utilize that service.

They are different types of organizations with different measures of success.

Don't allow yourself to be seduced by whatever makes the other one seem successful.
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