Stick and stones and all that jazz.
Yes, words have power. In the association world, those of us working for associations are responsible for representing our members and the industry the best way that we can. This makes sense and seems like a reasonable and easy rule to follow. However, rarely is there anything that is simple in life that we humans cannot find a way to make more complicated.
Acronym Blog is the blog produced by the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE). Last week, a longtime writer for the blog wrote a thought-provoking post with a provocative title,
The content of the post really wasn't about why consultants suck, but rather why it might seem like they aren't as effective as they could be. The author posited that the blame might lie with the association leaders who failed to accept more innovative thinking, but that consultants should challenge their clients to feel more uncomfortable and face changes that need to be made.
The title grabbed my attention, but once I read the post, I thought, "Oh, I see what you were doing there! Okay, okay...you are spurring discussion. This is good."
Then, just as quickly as the post went up, it was taken down.
- I'm a longtime member and an active volunteer for ASAE
- I've worked in associations most of my career
- I now work as a consultant serving associations
- I don't think I suck
- There is an unspoken question of what a consultant's role should be in ASAE
- Some consultants feel maligned against by ASAE
- Some association executives DO think consultants suck
- Many association executives depend on and appreciate their consultants
- (Yes, I knew all these things before deciding to become a consultant)
Some people get touchy when it comes to consultants and ASAE. ASAE is trying to show support for the consultant members, but a blog post
headline statement (and Twitter post) like, "Why Consultants Suck" probably ruffled a few feathers and caused the post to be taken down.
On today's Association Chat (#assnchat, every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET), the retraction of the post was the chosen topic for conversation and the conversation was lively.
Consultants didn't think the post warranted being taken down and participants generally felt it was the wrong move for ASAE to handle the situation the way it did. Like me and my failure to understand why, "sit on it" was such a no-no phrase; some chat participants said the headline didn't necessarily cross the line.
What do you think?