Moving is ranked as one of the more stressful life experiences according to research studies on what events cause stress. It falls someplace between losing a loved one and public speaking. Recently, we decided to put our home on the market. In an effort to get ready to list our home, we embraced the prerequisite spring cleaning routine of what to purge and what to keep. Why does it take a move to determine what is important to keep and what really should be recycled or taken to a thrift shop? If your association or chamber has ever had to move, you certainly understand how the office move isn’t much different than your home except for your office has more #10 envelopes and tote bags from the past two conferences.
A few years ago, Jim Collins noted in his best-selling book Good to Great the concept of developing a “stop doing list” which encouraged organization’s to review and potential sunset programs to provide critical capacity for new and reimagined initiatives. During our move, we created a “stop keeping list,” where we decided if we didn’t use it, wear it, or touch it in six months, it was not making the journey to our unknown future home.
As a former association executive, we rarely sunsetted or purged underutilized programs or provide critical capacity for fear of upsetting the few long-time members that like the next day shipping discounts. The sacred cow programs and processes were rampant. However, each board or committee meeting appeared to generate new ideas or initiatives for our already tapped professional staff to fit on the capacity-challenged program.
Purging your home before selling your house is both a physically and emotionally exhausting experience. Purging your association’s or chamber’s underperforming programs and initiatives are both physically and emotionally exhaustive. While neither feels good going through the evaluation or purging process, however, the post-purging experience provides critical white space and energy for new and reimagined organizational initiatives. Are you going to purge or keep?