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March 03, 2005

Tip #8: When the chair DOESN'T intervene

This is tip #8 in a series of 13 to help you pass the CAE exam. Forward this tip to a friend.

One of the truisms in association management is "members deal with members, staff deals with staff." So anytime a member is causing a problem, another member -- usually the Chief Elected Officer -- should be asked to deal with it.

There is an exception to this rule, and it is related to tip #7 regarding the leadership hierarchy. Remember that -- at least for this exam -- you should respect the law over your ethics over your relationships over your procedures.

Therefore, if a member is doing something unlawful or unethical which could make the association liable for his/her action, you should waste no time to correct the problem. That means you take immediate action; you don't go ask the chair (a relationship) to deal with it (procedure).

For example, during a break at your annual conference, you overhear one member suggest to another that they stop selling to a certain customer. This is clearly against the law, and your association could be held liable for the offense because the conversation is taking place at an association function. You should tell the two members to cease and desist immediately, and probably then go tell the chair what you heard and did. In this scenario, whether you're asked what your best, first, or best first option is, the answer is some variation of "tell the members to stop talking about it."

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