Sunday, April 2, 2017

6:45 – Customer Relations at Work

The other day, I made a 6:45 p.m. reservation at a busy restaurant.

While I parked the car, my friends and my wife went inside and were told there was no reservation under my name. They were given a pager and told “they would work to get us in.”

When I arrived and learned what happened, I was frustrated but not angry.

I went to the front desk and said, “I called earlier today, was given a 6:45 reservation and the receptionist asked for my name and phone number. I gave it to her. When we arrived, we were told there is no reservation under my name. Where did I screw up? I know you guys would not screw it up!”

Three front desk people looked at me and burst out laughing!

One of the staff asked for our pager number and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you a table.”
A few minutes later, we were seated and my wife held up her watch and said, “It’s 6:45!”

Success through sweetness!

What if we used this approach with our association members? Or, our customers? Or, our vendors?

Comments?  You can post in our comment box or email me at 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

More Evidence of Media Bias

Last month (2/23), I shared a story about media bias and fake news.

Now comes another story ... this time in the USA Today edition within the Fort Myers News-Press ... headlined College degrees elude charter students. [By the way, the online version at this link changed the headline that was in our local paper.]

Why does this story illustrate media bias?

Because, using the information contained in this story, I could write a news piece leading to a headline just the opposite. My lead could be “Statistics show that low income graduates of charter schools graduate from college 2.55 times more frequently than graduates of public schools.”

Let’s look at the USA Today story as printed:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fake news. Media bias. Unfair news coverage.

These terms have become more prevalent in recent years and seem to be spiking now.

After earning a master’s degree in journalism but before becoming an association professional, I worked for The Associated Press news service that provides news and feature stories to newspapers and broadcast media outlets.

It was great training for my career in public relations and association management!

Back in those AP days, we were not allowed to use any word other than “said” when quoting a source’s comments. All other words – like exclaimed or alleged or shouted – were considered biased and not permissible for AP reporting.

Perhaps The AP style has changed?

Early in my journalism career, I came to recognize that everything we did had some amount of subjectivity or bias in it. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 Lessons Learned from 7 Associations

People often ask me, “What does SCD Group do?”

As I look back on 2016, a recap might help while offering lessons for other associations and nonprofits.


Using the strategic intent planning model, I guided five (5) national nonprofits in envisioning their futures and/or reviewing their existing strategic plans. In each assignment, I began with a survey of planning participants, association leaders and/or a random sample of members. The survey data helps me plan the planning as well as provide association leaders insight into their organization. The associations I worked with included:

As part of their strategic intent, three of the associations decided they needed to pursue changing the organization’s name as their changing profession made the current name somewhat “obsolete.”

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Change Created Chaos Impacts Associations

Change is all around. Some respond better than others. Association boards and association executives have the Duty of Foresight. That means a duty to the organization to monitor trends and adjust association strategies to fit the changes.

A recent trip through the Kansas City airport highlights three changes that illustrate how – without modification – change creates chaos.

Airport Security

Arriving/departing the KC airport (MCI) is a stark reminder how change creates chaos.

MCI was perfectly designed with three “semi-circle shaped” hubs that provided easy access from parking and gates. No long terminal hallways.

Then massive changes resulted from hijackers and terrorists that resulted in new security processes and TSA screeners.