Friday, September 28, 2007

Back from Vegas

I took a 5 day vacation to Vegas since the wife had to go out there for a conference. It was one of the few times I have been to Vegas where I wasn't working a show or going crazy with the guys. I saw the NASCAR Truck race at the speedway on Saturday thanks to my boy Will. Saw P. Diddy while chilling at the pool at the Wynn. Made the final table of a poker tournament (but missed the money). All in all, a good time.

I did keep up with email, but there is a lot of other stuff to do around here. Budgeting for 2008, upcoming elections, upcoming events, etc. I definitely like being busy instead of slow. But I now realize that I really hate being busy, but not being able to do anything because I am waiting on something from someone else. That seems to be the order of the day. Hurry up and wait. Sometimes it feels like half a day is wasted on just waiting to be able to do something.

Luckily, it is Friday, and whatever is on my desk can wait until Monday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More on Sharing

Norm Brodsky has another take on sharing.

http://blog.inc.com/the-morning-norm/2007/09/dont_be_afraid_to_share_your_idea.html

As one who constantly has new business ideas, I have always thought about whether or not I should tell other people. The people I most wanted to tell my ideas to or get advice from were the ones who has the talent, smarts and know how to help me. That also means they had the talent, smarts and know-how to take the idea and actually make it happen. That's why I wanted to share with them. Don't you always want input from smarter folks? Sometimes I was scared to share. But after reading Norm, I think he is right. Get the insight from smart people then run with it.

Where are the Conversations Happening?

I read an article in a meetings magazine about social media. Someone talked about a forum and/or listserv as where they got the most out of their membership to a particular association. In our association, we are looking at adding more blogging/forum/wiki features for our councils, etc. to enhance the listservs we currently offer. I think it will result in more participation and better conversation. Do you know where your conversations are taking place?

That got me thinking about being a Membership professional. Where do the conversations about membership issues take place? The ASAE listserv seems to be #1, but many of those emails aren't really conversations, but requests for recommendations of good vendors or requests for examples of things. I would say the blogoclump has been where the conversations are taking place. Should there be another place? Should there be a community just for membership professionals? Is there already one I don't know about?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To Share or Not to Share, That is the Question

Maddie has a good post over at Diary of a Reluctant Blogger where she mentions sharing. I was just going to comment, but then realized it was its own post. (Don't you just love how that happens?)
3) Sharing benefits the field. In fact, there's no benefit to NOT sharing information. Listing our events all together makes the profession look good,
like there's a bunch of cool things happening all over town. In comparison,
listing only one "own" monthly lecture just looks flimsy. And that's just the
tip of that iceberg.

There have been many times where I thought some sharing would do a lot of good. But then the reaction I get is, "won't it dilute the power of what we do and make us look just like the other group/association, or worse yet, confuse our brand with their's?" It is an honest question. How can you properly share information while keeping the integrity of everyone's efforts/brand/message in order to maximize benefit? I think it can be done. But then the tough question becomes, how do you break down the mentality that it can't be done, so why bother trying?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ben Gets It

As most of my readers probably already know, Ben Martin gets this whole social media thing and how to apply it to associations. Here is an interview with Ben about his new position from a different blog:

http://www.realcentralva.com/2007/09/04/virginia-association-of-realtors-steps-into-the-web-20-world-part-1-of-3/

Well Done Ben!

Customer Service

Ok, so this may not be the place for this, but I see a lesson here for association folks. My sister-in-law just got a used car that needed a part. She got a 2002 Mustang and it needed a new wheel and brakes. She took it to the shop and they could do the brakes, but didn't have a matching wheel. So my brother-in-law found the wheel online from a Mustang focused shop called Cruizin Concepts Wholesale (I won't link to them). It took a few days to get a "paid" invoice which said the product would ship in 2-4 business days. On the 4th business day, maybe 5th, we called because it didn't show up. Turns out, it was lost by UPS. It had a tracking number, but was never scanned or something.

So a week was wasted and we had a chance to buy 4 almost new mustang wheels from a neighbor. So for the quick fix, we did that and then the nightmare began. When my wife called the CCW folks, they said they would find out what happened and call back. They didn't. My sister-in-law called to follow up, the CSR was not very accomodating, and told her that she'd get a call back. They didn't. Turned out they reshipped without clarifying that that was what the customer wanted. In a 90 minute call the next day, CCW chastised us for waiting to call when it didn't arrive (though according to their invoice, we shouldn't expect it that early). Then was bitter when we didn't want to pay for the wheel or the shipping, even when he failed to call back. He said the call was just a courtesy (that he didn't make). I'll give the CSR this, after being told that he was being very rude, his tone improved. Though at the end of the call, he had the nerve to try to upsell. We suggested he make this right by covering the to and from shipping costs that he insisted were our responsibility, and try to win over a new Mustang owner who may need future parts. He actually said he couldn't justify losing money on shipping for the chance at a future purchase. WOW. I can't believe it. Oh, and best line ever, during his rude tyrade he told my wife that he had been doing customer service for years and was compensated well for it so it obviously couldn't be his fault. Hilarious.

Anyway, 2 things. Don't shop there, ever. And 2, how are you treating your non-members?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How Do You Ask Google to Fix Something?

I have a Google Alert set for my name: Matt Baehr. I also occasionally run a Google search on my name: Matt Baehr. So on both, why do I keep getting results for Matt Bahr? Yes, he was a great NFL kicker. I even have an autographed photo of him a friend got me because our names were so close.

The search results have gotten better. At first, only one thing on me was on page 1, the rest were Matt Bahr. Now he is only on the first page 4 times (but positions 1 and 3). However, my latest Google News alert has him at every entry. I am not all that vain, but this is annoying. He doesn't even play anymore!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Growth and Mission

I feel bad. Another long break between posts. I had 2 travel stints, neither of which were work related, that kept me from blogging. I am catching up on reading some other blogs and saw the great discussion on Acronym about growth. It was so good, there was a follow up post. I just commented, but wanted to say a few more things.

I get kind of annoyed at all the mission and vision talk that goes on. It is probably from my MBA class days where it was always tossed around like a catch all answer to every question. The two terms just lost meaning for me. I like to add the two and form one other phrase = Why are you here? If you can't answer that as an association, or an individual staffer, then there will be issues. Forget jargon. Boil it down to one simple thing. Then do what needs to be done to get there.

For us, growth just means more money to play with so that we may add, subtract, or tweak program and services so that members get more out of the association. And I think growth happens as a result of our adding, subtracting, or tweaking of programs and services. I know I am really oversimplifying things, but at the same time I think they are simple.

Long story short, growth is a nice-to-have so you have more money to do new things. It shouldn't be a strategy. It should be a result of your doing the answer to the question, why are you here.