You're not the CEO of a major association.
In wearing every management hat, here are common mistakes that could doom a technology implementation.
1. As CEO, you do everything yourself.
Big mistake. Can you be sure you have assessed the right problem, that a new technology will solve it, improve service to membership, or ease work for staff? In most cases, you can't.
2. Implementing a technology from scratch.
With 117,000 associations, there is little chance that only you have faced the issue. Even if your brother-in-law is a computer geek and will do it for free, it will cost you. Don't create "the technology that eats the association."
3. Implementing new technology that the members can't use. New technology could be a great way to deliver member information, or make the staff's work easier. But if half your members do not use computers, and the other half do not go online, it is an exercise in futility.
4. Falling in love with technology.
Don't implement technology for the sake of having it. If the organization can live without it, then live without it.
5. Getting help from vendors that do not understand associations. Associations are unique. Don't hire tech help that does not understand associations. Instead, call an association peer with a similar tech solution that works.
Before you start a project, here is where to turn for help: The ASAE. Find other members who solved the same issue. Attend seminars like the ASAE M&T; conference. Also, find two other associations that implemented similar technology. Find the pitfalls; determine if the results will be worthwhile. Finally, outsource priorities on a per product basis and implement one at a time. Jack Welch, the famous former CEO of GE said: Use someone else's front room rather than your back room.
Bottom line: stick to your core competencies as a CEO, or technology may shut you down.
Doug Benns is the CEO of RecTech, a leading creator for turnkey electronic directory solutions for associations.
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