7 Measures of Success for Associations

I serve on the Board of Directors of my professional organization, the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). Jack Phillips, our President Elect, and the Chairman of the ROI Institute, gave all Board members a book that summarizes the results of a four-year matched-pair research study on what makes some not-for-profit associations more successful than others. I just finished my copy and found it extremely informative.

If you are involved in leading an association of any size, I recommend that you purchase a copy of 7 Measures of Success for Associations, What Remarkable Associations do that Others Don’t published by ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership. It is clear, easy-to-reference, and includes a thorough description of the research methodology used in the study.

I’ll list the 7 Measures here but please refer to the book to understand the organizational behaviors that set remarkable associations apart from those that are good. And you will also want to review the comparison of financial ratios included in Appendix B.

Commitment to Purpose
1. A customer service culture.
2. Alignment of products and services with mission.
Commitment to Analysis and Feedback
3. Data-driven strategies.
4. Dialogue and engagement.
5. CEO is broker of ideas.
Commitment to Action
6. Organizational adaptability
7. Alliance Building

As one would expect, ISPI embraces continuous improvement and I was pleased to learn that we share several traits with associations that are remarkable!

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Pacific Crest Trail Hikers – Now That’s Human Performance!

May in Idyllwild, California is marked by the Pacific Crest Trail hikers who are coming through town. I love this time of year and admire these “through-hikers” who are only a few weeks into their 2650 mile journey from Mexico to Canada.

This morning I realized that I can demonstrate the elements required for stellar employee performance using the PCT. In this example the hiker is the “employee” and hiking the PCT is their job:

1. Clarity of Goals – Hike the entire PCT trail from Mexico to Canada.
2. Capacity – the hiker must have adequate time as well as mental, physical and spiritual fitness.
3. Processes and Tools – trail map, well-marked trail, ultra-lite equipment, supplies, clothing.
4. Skills and Knowledge – prior backpacking experience, books and websites written by veteran hikers.
5. Feedback – what their bodies are telling them and the advice of other PCT hikers.
6. Incentives and Consequences – Trail “angels” provide food, water and shelter. Bad decisions cause delays and danger.

These elements are inspired by the book by Thomas Gilbert entitled Human Competence, Engineering Human Performance.. Try applying them to your own job. Do you have all the elements required to succeed?

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Making Work Easier for Small Businesses

The following story demonstrates how performance support can make work easier. And yet I am hoping that they also addressed the “confusing layers of paperwork” and the root cause of that problem. Put good people in a bad process and the process will win every time.

SAN MARCOS: Flow chart aims to streamline permit process

Aiming to improve the city’s “customer service” to small-business owners, San Marcos Councilwomen Rebecca Jones and Kristal Jabara have introduced a guide that outlines the steps to getting conditional use permits.

While large companies often have staff members or consultants to guide them through the process, Jones said that for small businesses, the permit application is a “great mystery” involving confusing layers of paperwork.

“It’s an important process and it’s a stressful process” for those applicants, Jabara said, noting that business owners often must commit to a long-term lease without knowing whether their application will be approved.

The guide and accompanying checklist can take some uncertainty out of the procedure by spelling it out in straightforward fashion, she said.

(To read the entire story as printed in the North County Times go to http://j.mp/kbI9s6)

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An Introduction to Improving Human Performance

Just returned from THE Performance Improvement Conference hosted by ISPI, my professional organization. Because I am a member of the Board of Directors and I am a Certified Performance Technologist, I was asked to introduce myself and answer a few simple questions about the field of Human Performance Technology. Click on the green text that follows to view the 4 minute video: Dawn Papaila, CPT – Human Performance Technology

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Money and Motivation – Surprise!


WLPconsultants.com uses research when we design and develop performance solutions for San Diego small business ventures.

Luckily, research doesn’t have to be dry! This entertaining 10 minute animation was developed to support a lecture by Dan Pink. In that lecture, Dan shares research about using bonuses to motivate knowledge workers. As he puts it, the results are…well…freaky!

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Fix the Work System and Quality Follows

The link below will take you to one of our favorite radio podcasts “This American Life.” This episode is an hour long story about how one of the worst auto plants in America started producing some of its best cars. At WLPConsultants.com, we teach San Diego small business ventures to look at their businesses as systems. This story demonstrates several important concepts including:

  • employees are not the problem; the system is the problem.
  • employees understand what is broken and they have ideas on how to fix it.
  • the work system includes all stakeholders including suppliers and customers.
  • change can be threatening and change management is key to implementation.

Please consider donating to This American Life and Public Radio. Enjoy!

New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., aka NUMMI

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