3 Lessons: Small-Staff Savvy

Marketing and Communications

How Tabitha Arnett, CAE, balances tight schedules and member demands.

Tabitha Arnett, CAE
Director, Professional Development
Indiana Pharmacists Alliance

Members don't need to know everything.

My natural instinct is to want to tell people details. But I've learned that the fewer details you give, the better. We implemented a new online continuing education program last year, and at the beginning of the year I think I gave too much explanation about what was happening. You can't burden them with the details. What they need to know is what the problem is, what you're doing to try to resolve it, and when you'll contact them.

Keep your promises…

Jim Collins' Good to Great has a section called "The Unwavering Resolve … To Do What Must Be Done." It reminded me of what we do in associations. Once you've committed to doing something and you've announced it—whether that be a new product, service, meeting, event, anything—resolve to get it done.

… But learn to prioritize.

We have a staff of three, so we have to prioritize members' needs. But how you say it is key. Prioritizing is what's most important. Sometimes we have to say, "We can't get to that this week, but we will absolutely get that done next week." The best response is to be honest, offer a solution, and follow through.