The Three P’s Every Association Exec Should Know About

Dresden at the OfficePeople, Products and Processes…

Every association must evaluate on a regular basis these three Ps because… things change. And they change a lot in today’s rapid and dynamic marketplace. There is an old adage that refers to having the right people on the bus and while that is true often we come into an association with employees firmly entrenched in their seats. “No room here” that childhood taunt echoes in our heads. There is a right way and a wrong way to evaluate people but critical is that they are evaluated at all. Keep reading my posts to learn more about this subject.

Products and services. Who remembers lawn darts? Anyone out there from the 60’s? This uber dangerous children’s game was taken off the market after several accidents, including me putting one of these flying trajectories in my sister’s temple. In today’s market, much more concerned with consumer safety, lawn darts would have been scratched as soon as they hit the drawing board. The fact is your product mix should be constantly evolving as tastes change. I recently purchased  the how to set aside sacred cows (association programming that no longer serves a purpose or caters to a minute group of members) book from ASAE and I have to say I was extremely disappointed. It failed to address the deadliest of the “Ps”, that being politics. How do we set aside programming that has no real value to the many when it pleases the often elite few who typically are the association leaders? I can tell you that the few times I have shot the cow the uproar was short, a quick outburst and then all but forgotten. Well, with the exception of the Past President whose great idea it was in the first place. He/she will make sure to grumble at any meeting about it. He/she will also blame any economic, societal, or negative event on its demise. Best I can tell you is smile, “that issue has already been decided but I appreciate your input” and move on. Eventually they will become embarrassed by the eye rolling of their peers at other meetings. Read future posts to get some solid advice on sunsetting programs and other painful and political things such as raising dues.

Processes. Here is a topic that can have a huge impact on an association. Processes are the lifeblood of any successful organization. Remember when Dell and Gateway were all the rage because of their “just in time” inventory process? Process affects your people’s productivity and your product mix. Process can make or break you. The month of May will be a month of process intervention. The best way I know of to evaluate your processes is through an external structural audit. Why? Because we often fail to see what is right in front of us. We also do not know what we do not know. We may be completely unaware that there is a better process out there. But the association yoda knows and I am here to help- just contact me at  or visit my “about me” section of this blog. Or just keep reading as much of my posts are process related, however nothing is a substitute for an in depth structural audit. Help you, I will.

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