In his epic and inspirational note, What It Takes to Be Number One, Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi states, Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing.”
It’s easy to wake up each day and wonder whether you’re making an impact. You might be asking yourself questions like: Why aren’t we retaining more members? Why aren’t we attracting new members? How can we deliver more value to our members? In nearly every organization I’ve worked executives are trying to answer one fundamental question: What’s working and how can we make sure we’re doing more of it?
Since numbers are the language of business, we measure winning by things like number of members retained, lifetime value of members or new member acquisition. As an Executive responsible for member management dues and non-dues revenue you can get caught up in the metrics and forget what got you there in the first place. It is important to remember that as the first social network, the reason most associations started was to help people improve in their profession, advocate for better legislation or to create a set of industry benchmarks. Ultimately, it was about making people better.
When trying to determine what’s working best for your organization start with the people you serve, your members. What things influence their decision to become a member in the first place? Why do they recommend your organization to their friends? How do they like to be communicated to and when? The fundamental habit of reviewing what’s important to members and asking them these questions can seem simple, but it is truly powerful.
One habit you want to constantly refresh is the habit of talking with, actively listening to and observing the behavior of your members in order to understand why they conduct business with you. These simple practices can provide deep insights and help your Association win more often.
So, when you’re having one of those days where you’re wondering whether you’re making an impact, take a member to lunch. After an hour of discussion you’ll have a better idea of what’s working and what you can do better.
Winning is a habit and it’s the small details and interactions that often lead us to the best answers. As coach Lombardi goes on to say, “…I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind the discipline…. I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour—his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear—is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
Here is to great habits and winning. Never relent.