Monday, November 14, 2011

Association Horror Story

If you've watched the FX show, American Horror Story, you are familiar with the twists and turns of the narrative. Things are never what they seem.

I hate it when people read over my shoulder.

So it goes with associations. See if any of these mysterious occurrences appear in your workplace:
  • A project you thought was finally supported has been dropped without anyone's explanation - no one seems to remember it ever existed.
  • You begin digging into a seemingly innocuous request and find some skeletons in the association's closet.
  • You come across a "dead" program that is still on the website and in the budget, but it has been inactive for years.
  • A coordinator in one department equals a senior manager in another department and the titles and payscale is all over the place.
Where do you turn when these things happen? Do you call your ED? A consultant? An exorcist?

Better yet, what or whom do you blame?

Many people turn to the topic of transparency at this point. As in, "if our associations were more transparent, we wouldn't have this problem." But we can't blame all organization mysteries on an opaque culture. My guess is that ghosts are everywhere...even in the most transparent associations.

Actually, that makes me ask, is there an association that our industry would recognize as being "the most transparent" -- what is it? I digress. My guess is that even there you would find mystery line items or obscure programs that collect cobwebs each year.

How have your dealt with your own association horror stories? How did you handle a mystery and did it change the way your organization operated?

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