Friday, January 29, 2010

Ten Ways to be Mediocre and Keep Your Association Marketing Job: A Humorous Take, Part 2

This article is a continuation from the previous article and shows another 5 ways to use your wit to defend the status quo.

Help your CEO maintain their privacy. I mean if the CEO is too accessible, what is this going to do to his/her golf score? Your evaluation could hinge on keeping a low profile.

Show hostility to new ideas. I mean there are some really great ideas out there. But, wait, don’t get in a hurry to find them and remember the Hummer ain’t dead yet.

Re-cycle the same old speakers. How do you find new speakers with fresh ideas? You got speakers, why change? Simply have them change the title of their speeches and seminars. What’s the problem?

Keep your dues inflexible. Don’t go there. You are losing members as it is. Association money is short. Flexible dues? What a dumb idea.

Make your Web site as bloated as possible. I mean it is hard to prioritize, let alone customize according to what people need. Throw stuff in there and they will find it – if they want it badly enough.

Now you have the 10 ways to keep your job simple. Remember “Change is Pain!” But should you be an association executive who wants to hire people with a little different attitude, see

Ten Ways to be Mediocre and Keep Your Association Job: A Humorous Take, Part I

Let’s face it, there is some pretty lousy assn marketing out there. You can always blame poor economic times and if the boss is happy and the board is not complaining, why change? Occasionally a committee chairperson gets ambitious and asks “Why can’t we grow?” This is when your wit should hit the sham. In other words, use your wit to defend the status quo. Here’s how.

Outsource is what you should be doing. Yep, there are some good outfits that will do mass marketing for you. Take a company like Churn’em and Burn’em Inc. They will mail thousands of letters about your assn and a 2% response is considered wildly successful. Never mind that you can do the same thing yourself, and that 98% of the prospects say “No” to you because the mass mailing did not say the right thing to them. As a bonus, when things don’t work out you can blame your outsource buddy.

Assume that all of your members are basically the same. After all, they all paid dues didn’t they? But what if your members are different and have different needs? You must figure out what they want. You’ve got enough to do without opening that “can of worms.”

Forget preferred channels of communications. People like to get their info in different ways. What a hassle. I mean there are some great e-mail churners who will do all your communications. If people don’t want info the way you want to send it, ignore them.

Take your time responding. Some people are excited when they first see what you offer, but there are only 8 hours in the day and they can wait.

Make your assn like junior high. We all fondly remember jr high when it was important to belong to the right “clique.” Let some of your more aggressive members run things. They will like you better and it means less work for you.

There you have it, 5 ways to keep your job simple and 5 more in the next article. Remember, “Change is Pain!” But if you want to hire people with a little different attitude, go to

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Five Tips for Dealing with Uncomfortable Office Talk

I would like to welcome Holly McCarthy as our first guest writer. The following article comes from her blog at As you can tell, she writes interesting articles on careers and job searches and this article focuses on office culture.

By Holly McCarthy

One of the unwritten rules of social conduct is that you should never engage people in conversations related to the topics of politics or religion. Some people, however, fail to realize just why we don’t bring these topics up with others, especially in the workplace. These topics can be particularly divisive and can create many problems within an office culture.

Other uncomfortable topics of discussion have to do with finances and business ventures. Oftentimes a co-worker will attempt to engage you in a conversation related to his or her home business. None of these topics are appropriate for the workplace, end of story. What follows is a list of a few tips for dealing with uncomfortable office talk.

Avoid those trying to initiate the discussion.

If at all possible, avoid the people who are trying to discuss divisive issues such as politics or religion. Perhaps these people congregate in a certain part of the office or have lunch together. Do your best to avoid these people when they are discussing these matters, and maintain a professional demeanor around them, avoiding rudeness or confrontation.

Don’t get involved.

If you absolutely cannot avoid being around these people, make sure you don’t encourage their behavior. As the saying goes, silence is golden. After a while, they may begin to get the message loud and clear without you having said anything at all.

Politely excuse yourself.

Again, if you happen to find yourself in a situation where being in contact with these people is unavoidable and you are uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself. If someone wishes to confront you or questions why you are leaving, explain why in a neutral manner. Letting them know that you don’t think it’s appropriate, whether you agree or not, is the main reason for not engaging in the conversation.

Change the subject.

Maybe you really do like the people, but don’t like discussing these sorts of matters at work. Make a joke or try and change the subject. Doing this a few times will let them know that you certainly want to be part of a conversation with them, but on another, less controversial topic.

Notify a supervisor.

If you feel that the conversations are inappropriate and are beginning to feel alienated or harassed, it is time to let someone else know. Many offices and companies forbid discussions related to politics and religion, and trying to drum up business at work is certainly a conflict of interest.

Note from Dale. Again, I want to thank Holly for finding my blog and contacting me. If you would like info on my Workplace Attitudes Test and possibly avoid problems like those Holly discusses please visit

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Are Jerks Disruptors or Are Disruptors Jerks?

This blog has talked about jerks in the workplace and I was discussing this with a friend the other day. He made a point that I found interesting. He said that jerks are everywhere and they earn their status in a variety of ways, but jerks in the workplace are simply disruptive.

In the search to be ever more precise in using language, it appears to me that the “jerk in the workplace” description should be replaced by the word “disruptor.” To put it simply, if an individual yells at his spouse, kicks his dog and flips the bird to various people on the way to work, that person is a jerk. But once at work, if that person does a good job and treats others with a modicum of respect, that person may be a jerk but he is not a disruptor.

The Workplace Attitudes Test does a great job at identifying disruptors because it focuses upon the workplace. All the questions are related to workplace attitudes. Yeah, I know all you fathers with teenage daughters are probably saying, “You mean to tell me that I can’t use the Workplace Attitudes Test to weed out all those dweebs who are trying to date my daughter?” No, sorry, dweeb alerts are outside my field of expertise.

I think dweeb might be a little like a jerk, a little too general, and maybe a bit too imprecise. See to learn more about disruptors who may also be jerks or dweebs.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Is a Good Employee Someone Who is Not a Bad Employee?

The Workplace Attitudes Test is designed to screen out people who have a propensity to be disruptive in the workplace. I refer to these people as “turkeys” or “jerks.” They are disruptive all out of proportion to their numbers. An assumption underlying the Workplace Attitudes Test is if you avoid hiring problem employees you will ipso facto hire good employees.

But we can turn this upside down and ask what constitutes a good employee? You say you demand a better definition than “A good employee is someone who is not a bad employee.” Well, I’ll take a shot.

A good employee is one who is not disruptive. Not good enough? You say you want something more proactive? How about this, a good employee is a person who is slow to judge, who sees the world in gray rather than black and white, and has genuine concern for one’s fellow man.

In sum, a good employee is a person who is decidedly disinclined to say, “I am doing this for your own good.” See

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Religious Tolerance

Bill Maher stars in HBO’s Real Time and he brings us the movie “Religulous.” I like Bill Maher, he’s our best ambassador for the blue states. Half Jewish, half Catholic, his early quips about the confessional are hilarious, “Bless me father for I have sinned. I think you have met my lawyer, Mr. Cohen.”

I am sure that he regards the Catholic Church as the First Church of the Perpetual Second Chance, Mormons as purveyors of bullet-proof underwear, Protestants as snake charmers, and other forms of religion as delusional. Bill, in the name of rationality you are a bit extreme. It seems to me that this is a little like the Pyrrhic skeptic who says, “I can know nothing,” and when asked “How do you know?” he replies “I don’t.”

It is for the foregoing sentiments that I didn’t like “Religulous.” Too many straw men and it seemed too easy. Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” I suspect Goldwater’s motives. Bill, I am sure you are pure of heart, but extremism in the defense of doubt is a vice because it is another form of intolerance.

I am reminded of the joke about the patient who goes to the doctor and is told that he is overweight. The patient says “I’d like a second opinion” and the doctor says ok, “You’re an idiot.”

I admit I may have my doubts about the talking snake, Jonah and the whale, and Noah and the flood. In fact I may be best described as an agnostic with foxhole reservations (there are no atheists in foxholes). Still I don’t think that agnosticism and certitude, even about doubt, make a good platform. It’s like saying, I am not sure and you can’t be sure so you’re wrong.

Shoot down the zealots to your heart’s content but give a little credit to Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer. You can call them self-deluded do-gooders but they still did a lot of good.

P.S. Bill, I still like you. For more on intolerance see

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Trickle-Down Theory

This morning on iGoogle I noticed an article referring to WikiHow entitled “9 ways to get by while living in your car.” This is depressingly relevant to more and more people. The situation stems from an abuse of trust and lack of regulation. I fear it was those at the top who proved James Madison’s admonition, “If men were angels, government wouldn’t be necessary.” Anderson Cooper on CNN has a feature called “10 despicable bastards considered responsible to for our present economic situation.” (I paraphrased that.) Even Anderson thinks that 10 are not enough. I am reminded of a comment by Barnie Frank, Congressman from Massachusetts, in response to the statement, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” He said, “yeah, but what if you don’t have a boat?”

I must admit that I feel a little guilty testing people at the lower levels for “good workplace attitudes.” How many people with good attitudes worked for Enron and Merrill Lynch? I bet it was plenty, in fact the vast majority. It only took those at the top to bring the others down. Sure there are jerks everywhere, but I’m not so sure that the crème rises to the top. What rises to the top seems to be more a matter of what a skimmer removes at a sewage treatment facility.

I know, in times such as these it is easy to be cynical. I wish it was as easy as the scenario in the movie “Network” where Peter Finch encourages us to go to the window and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” What then? The movie doesn’t say.

The Workplace Attitudes Test suggests that about one in twenty workers is a jerk. But there is another phenomna going on here. Jerks tend to congregate together and at all levels there is a tendency to ignore the rules. A lower-level jerk can be a pain in the butt to those around them, and jerks at the highest levels can cause untold damage, but the lesson is to ferret out jerks at all levels and don’t hire them. Hey, corporate boards don’t tolerate them. Government regulators, regulate them. Legislators, remember what Madison said about men (and women) not being angels and pass the appropriate legislation. Rules and consideration for one’s fellow man should apply to everyone. Maybe, the Workplace Attitudes Test should be considered a candle in the darkness. See,