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September 14, 2007

Remember: To exceed, meet the need

Scott "Carnivore" Briscoe's posts on measurement in the association biz (post #1; post #2) have created quite a ripple effect in the clump. I wonder if Dennis could map it for us?

It must have moved him, because Kevin Holland returned from the abyss to blog it, and JNott picked up the meme on the We Have Always Done It That Way blog, citing Kevin:

Kevin says associations should provide stuff that the people actually want, as opposed to what it’s always done, etc. I just want to point out that those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Sometimes what a certain volunteer wants is perfect. Sometimes a certain department is right. And sometimes what you have always done is PRECISELY what you need to keep doing. What we point to in our book is the EXCUSE of “we have always done it that way. As a rationale, that is very dangerous. But if you can show that your customers actually want something(through—gasp—measurement?) then it’s okay to keep doing it that way (as long as you stay disciplined about continually showing that customers want it).

Emphasis mine.

Association executives: There's a profound difference between what members want and what members need! This is not just splitting hairs.

Remember this: Being a remarkable organization requires exceeding, not simply meeting, the expectations of members or customers. Giving members what they want is a really nice way to meet expectations. Giving members what they need, perhaps before they've even realized they need it, is the catalyst of exceptional association performance.

In short: To exceed, meet the need.

How you get at the need is another post entirely.

Tagged: ; ; ;


Matt Baehr said...

Well said Ben. And if you can try to get at the need by filling a want, you are looking good!

Ben Martin, CAE said...

Touché! And, you have a much easier time communicating it.

Lisa Junker said...

Just to keep the discussion going:

But what if what members want is very different from what they need--for instance, if the membership wants to continue down a path that's self-destructive, no matter how hard the staff tries to persuade them to change direction?

Or, what if what one segment of the membership needs is something another section of the membership doesn't want?

Ben Martin, CAE said...

In the first scenario, that poor person should start looking for another gig. You don't want to work for a group of members like that. There's nothing insurmountable about the second scenario, whether you take a segmentation approach, a bold, calculated-risk-tolerant leadership one, or some other approach. Sorry for the simplistic response. I personally have a clear internal compass on how to deal with those issues.

Kevin said...

"Returned from the abyss" ... I imagine myself in some rubber Black Lagoon creature outfit, zipper noticeable on the side, lurching from the recesses of a dark pond on some studio lot ... I like it!