Guest post by Greg Parker, Solutions Adviser
Every year, hundreds of hopefuls make their way to Dallas, TX for the opportunity to try out for one of the most elite squads in all of sports: the famed Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC).
Stay with me here…
At the ASAE annual meeting last month in Dallas, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet several of the women who made the cut – who demonstrated the skill, determination and talent that make them the best of the best.
You may find it glaringly obvious that a guy would be a fan of the DCC, but that’s just it. I am a FAN – a die hard follower – thanks to my wife who turned me on to their reality show last season. You see, I’m not just looking at a lineup of beautiful girls doing their thing. I see people who have put in a lot of hard work and who have been pushed both mentally and physically to put on a top-flight performance day in and day out for next to no money at all. I feel like I know a lot of these girls, because I’ve seen their struggles and victories, been a part of their lives (including weddings, etc…) from a distance, and it got me thinking. Trying out for the DCC is not too far removed from the process of integrating technology for your member based organization.
Let me explain.
In any association or non-profit, a decision to add or improve technology will eventually come up. When that question arises, you start your search. In comes the parade of hopefuls, vying for your attention to show you that they have what it takes to get the job done.
Some providers look really promising on the outside, but when you begin tryouts, they just don’t measure up. Others will make it to training camp, because they seem to have what you’re looking for. And it’s in training camp where you really get down to brass tacks and begin to develop relationships – a deeper understanding of expectations and abilities.
Again, some will get cut at this stage. But that’s okay, because you want to find the best fit for your needs. Some of the potential pitfalls might be a candidate’s ability to learn all of the new dance steps. Does the uniform present any challenges? How do they come across in the interview process? At this level, everyone has a pretty face; we need to find out what’s going on behind that gorgeous smile.
The same process is playing out in association offices all across the country. Some questions they might raise include:
- Does this provider really understand the needs of small staff organizations?
- Is the software interface easy to use for both staff and members?
- How effective is the implementation process and follow up support?
A good provider will be honest and upfront about their skills and abilities, which will save everyone the heartache of a late-round cut that could have been made earlier.
Finally, the big day arrives. The final roster is announced, and there is excitement and celebration! In our world, the board meetings are over, discussions of pros and cons complete; your new vendor is notified and it’s on to the implementation phase. We all know, however, that this is when the work really begins. The winning team steps up on that stage and performs for another group of excited fans, just as your team of service providers works to bring about a truly refreshing experience for this small group of staffers. Whether you’re Making The Team, or selecting your favorite member database solution, the process leaves all of us in awe of the results of so much hidden effort that you may have overlooked until now.