Readers Respond

Readers share their views on recent Associations Now articles.

The August 2010 issue of Associations Now was our largest of the year so far, and it inspired plenty of reactions from readers.

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Helping Volunteers Lead

Jacqui Cook’s article "Get Your Volunteers on Track" [August 2010] was fabulous! I am a chapter business manger for 23 MPI chapters, and I am asked all the time by my board leaders how to handle difficult volunteers. Her article will give them insight on how to address this recurring problem. Thanks for the great piece, and I will be reading other articles that she has written. 

Michelle Strom, Meeting Professionals International, Dallas, Texas

Designed to Inspire

[From web comments on "How to Think Like a Designer," August 2010] Thanks for Scott Steen’s simply insightful article. One additional thing to emphasize about extraordinary design: It creates adoration. It’s clear in Scott’s mention of iPhone users and his love for well-designed objects.

One aspect of object design that associations should also think about when designing experiences is how one feels about the object when it’s not in use. I, too, have a few OXO tools in my kitchen, but they are actually not my first choice for kitchen gadgets. They are great to use, but not easy to store. The large handles get in the way, in drawers and on hooks. The performance of the tool when not in use detracts from its otherwise high performance.

Macintosh computers, on the other hand, go to sleep and wake up quite easily, adding to ease of use and overall product satisfaction.

How does this translate into membership experiences (such as annual conferences, which are "off"—aka in sleep mode—most of the time) for associations? I’d love to see a part two focused on experience design, rather than extrapolating from object design.

Bill Walker, DelCor Technology Solutions, Silver Spring, Maryland

Brilliant! What a fresh, interesting, and compelling approach to rethinking the same-old, same-old task force meeting on rejuvenating tired-out products, programs, and services. I am recommending this article to all my association clients. Best line: "Most associations do not approach design in a deliberate and disciplined way."

John Pearson, John Pearson Associates, San Clemente, California

Time to Think Bigger

The staff and I scoured the August issue of Associations Now, our window to the larger association community, during our staff meeting today. The article "Conflicting Views" particularly ignited conversation.

In an Associations Now column last February ["Best Practices or Common Practices?"], I asked whether we are mistaking common practices for best practices. By not adopting model-driven structures with guiding principles that ensure consistent governance and management practices, most associations continue to address festering issues that should have been remedied decades ago. The topic of handling difficult directors like "Stuart" in "Conflicting Views" is a prime example. Board policies, not better director orientations, should have nipped that potential problem firmly in the bud. To move the field of association management forward, we must begin to think bigger and both envision and consider systemic changes rather than more remedies and quick fixes to festering, age-old scenarios.

All of this aside, the staff thought the August issue was the best it had reviewed to date. It was full of thought-provoking ideas with which we were able to measure our own status and progress!

Bill Burns, CAE, Association for Play Therapy, Clovis, California

From the Twitterati
@jcrosby4 So #ASAE is shifting its Assns Now publishing strategy. If you’re into printed mags, you won’t like it. But you get more content in the end.
@FrankFortin #asae’s digital supps to Assns Now are OK, as long the supps aren’t just iPhone apps. The majority of people DON’T have iPhones.
@scottoser #asae dropping some issues of Assns Now in print and creating digital supps. Personally I luv my print copy. Not sure I like this decision.
@CeciliaSepp likes digital supplements to ASAE’s "Associations Now" magazine! Just saw the email.
@360surveys RT @asaecenter How Will Gen-Xers Lead? ["X in Charge," August 2010] do you think Gen X gets a bad rap?
@AssnLaw Must read: Howe’s article in Associations Now on the Supreme Court’s new antitrust: "Don’t become fodder for the antitrust cannon." ["Joint Ventures and Antitrust Risk," August 2010]
@keybeats How to Think Like a Designer [August 2010]- jives with Daniel Pink’s ideas in "A Whole New Mind"
@TammyTilley Just judged the Associations Now cover for Sept/Oct issue. Pretty cool volunteer opp @ljunker!