Code HunterRead the article: CODE HUNTER — Connections, 2017 NEC
No matter their strengths, associations—like people—are always at risk. Some dangers are so blatant they dare being ignored. But others, far less obvious, cause untold, and even fatal, damage to eat away and undermine an association’s best efforts. Their work is insidious and relentless, going unnoticed until it’s too late. And it all happens without anyone breaking a sweat.
Even so, there are clear, but unseen, indicators that an association is in trouble. Here are nine to consider:
Jim Holt comes close to the truth in his review of Chuck Kloserman’s book, But What If We’re Wrong. Holt states, “Most of what we believe is likely to be wrong.” If that’s true, then doubt, not certainty, is the only positive action.
But that’s not the Apple way, as Michael Gartenberg discovered on his first day there. He sent someone an email. “I got it back, and at the end of it, it said, ‘P.S. spelling counts here.’” Gartenberg had typed “the” as “hte.’”
The way we view details reveals how we regard others and what we view as important.
Employees learn quickly that discussion is useless, and new ideas are on an “Unwanted List.” It’s a perfect way to strangle a business.
To keep an association on track and growing, there’s only one question that gets the wheels moving, that generates fire, not smoke. There’s only one question that gets results: “Who’s going to do what, why, and when?” Nothing else matters. It’s nailed down. No loose ends. Some call it taking responsibility, while for others it’s accountability. It’s all the same; it’s what it’s all about.
Too many associations also suffer from the debilitating case of data blindness, the inability to recognize that their survival depends on the accuracy and completeness of updated, relevant, reliable, and accessible information.
Unfortunately, in some associations, “Maybe we should wait and see what happens” is the common reaction, which is followed by “Why didn’t we do that?” after it’s too late.
Instead of setting people in a direction with agreed upon expectations, they are set adrift. And all the while, those people think they’re doing what’s required. A confusing culture causes havoc.
Associations face the same problem. Satisfied to drink their own Kool-Aid, they fail, often miserably, at telling their story consistently. And it always catches up with them.
Branding is about questions: Why are we doing this? What do we value, and how do we show it? Who are our members? Who are our customers? What do we offer them that makes a difference? What sets us apart from our competitors? The answers to these questions are the brand.
Messing up an association is easy. It doesn’t take effort. There’s no need to break into a sweat. It occurs without taking notice, even though the signs are all along the road.
We should never drink our own Kool-Aid. It puts us to sleep. But the anecdote is simple: Always worry. Look over your shoulder. Never get comfortable.