Archive for the ‘Associations’ Category

Service of How Do They Do It: The Do-Nothings Who Land On Top

Monday, March 27th, 2017



I dedicate this post to a friend who works herself to the bone, achieves great things to benefit others both on and off boards of prominent organizations and who coined the name “do-nothings” in a recent conversation about a project we’re both involved with.

I’ve been on and around boards for years, a previous member of co-op, three industry and three not for profit boards and on countless committees that depend on board member support. The do-nothings who are consistently invited back to direct or support projects are the ones that puzzle me because they hold things up. Do-nothings populate them all.

Do nothing 1There are exceptions: Some work smart and hard and do spectacular jobs with miraculous results but frequently it is they who are tossed to the side without a second thought. The do-nothings, with hearty pledges for follow up information and tempting inflated promises that all come to naught are consistently invited back!

In addition to “life isn’t fair,” I know what you’re thinking: The do-nothings have connections or big bucks. Not always so!  In addition to bankrupt elbow grease, some bring to the table neither access to financial support nor prestige. What they do accomplish: They waste other people’s time.

As incoming president I started to attend committee meetings of one organization to see if there were any outstanding people I’d want on my board. This was the suggestion of a past president. I told a trusted colleague that so-and-so stood out with great ideas and energy. The trusted colleague warned, “Hot air. She talks a good game and never comes through.” I realized how easy it is to be duped.

What is the do-nothings’ secret? Why do boards–or managers or bosses–tolerate them especially if they contribute neither stature nor funds, only agita? How do the do-nothings live with themselves and dare to accept responsibilities they never fulfill?

Do nothing 2


Service of Face-to-Face II

Monday, April 15th, 2013


Something is often better than nothing but not always.

Take mentoring. No amount of online contact–even if you use Skype–takes the place of face-to-face meetings, at least to start off a relationship. There are companies that help facilitate online liaisons but I don’t think the outcome is effective. I’m a longtime mentor. It takes face time for a mentee to trust a mentor. To provide more than superficial guidance a mentor needs to get to know the mentee.

Bird on a bookLaura Moser might disagree with me. She wrote “Tweet Any Good Books Lately?” in The Wall Street Journal’s “The Digital Life” column. Her schedule doesn’t permit her to attend a traditional book club so she researched and addressed her opinions of a few Twitter clubs. She wrote: “If there’s one thing I like more than reading books, it’s sharing my opinions about them.” A statistic in her article tells the story: Of 84,000+ followers of a prominent club a handful actively participate.

I’ve been a book club member. One of the objectives is to meet people who share similar interests and expand your circle of friends. A clever Tweet doesn’t hack it.

Ida Cheinman, Substance151

Ida Cheinman, Substance151

Last week I heard Ida Cheinman speak in New York at the Society for Marketing Professional Services–SMPS. The principal and creative director of Substance151 gave a presentation, “Brand Engagement: Today’s Hottest Marketing Currency.” She generously shared resources and highlights of her advice to clients. Early on she recommended that we watch Simon Sinek’s video “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” It was very good and took 18 minutes but wasn’t as valuable to me as attending her talk.Why? We all got to meet her as she introduced herself to the groups of people chatting together beforehand. We could ask questions during or after the event as we felt connected to her. A bonus: The SMPS members were welcoming to this newcomer. The outcome: An inspirational evening well worth the expense and time.

Do you believe that videos, Tweet book clubs and online mentoring are adequate substitutes for face-to-face contact?


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