Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Football PATs, NASCAR Qualifiers & Hockey Shootouts: Does your association "hit the refresh button" often enough?

Back in September, I wrote, Are You Boring Your Association’s Members?

The post included noted that Holly Duckworth, CAE, shared this awesome quote:

  • “Associations fear change when they should fear staying the same.”
  • Is this fear of change why we in association management keep doing the same things the same ways year in and year out?
Two recent stories on sports leagues making basic changes to their structure made me think about the issues once more.

The extra point (usually a kick for one point) is nearly as old as football itself. It is also a fairly boring part of the game as the kick is nearly always good.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen that the league’s Competition Committee may consider abandoning the extra point system, and is listening to proposals for more entertaining alternatives.

“The most effective businesses maximize every moment of engagement with their customers.”

Based on the proposal Goodell described, it adds another wrinkle in an evolving game. It converts a monotonous process into something worth watching. The incentive to go for two will tempt aggressive and opportunistic coaches.

NASCAR’s qualifying day

NASCAR delivered a TKO to its old qualifying format Wednesday, a move that will generate far more excitement and interest for its time trial days this season.

Gone is the traditional qualifying format, in which each car would take to the track – by itself – for two laps.

NASCAR will use a Formula One-style knockout session which will see drivers eliminated over the course of an hour.

The new format will fit neatly into a one-hour TV window. That matters to NASCAR TV partners such as Fox Sports 1 and ESPN, which split the qualifying broadcasts during the season.

The fans who come to the track will see a more entertaining show. The fans at home will actually have a reason to tune in. And NASCAR will get some drama two days before the cars race.

Hockey's Overtime Shootouts

While not as recent a change, ice hockey made a couple of major changes to add some spice to the game and to get fans more excited. For decades, regulation hockey games could end with a tie score and each team earned 1 point in the standings. Then, the hockey leagues added a 5 minute "sudden death" overtime if teams were tied at the regulation. First goal wins and the wining team got 2 points and the losing team 1 point. Hockey officials noted that many games were ending in ties after the overtime. So, a few years back. hockey officials added a "shootout" after tied overtime games. Each team selected three shooters who would go 1-on-1 against the opposing team's goalie. The team with the most goals got the 2 points.

The shoot-outs add huge excitement for both players and fans. Going 1-on-1 against a goalie is a long traditional in hockey practices. For fans, there is not much that is more exciting than seeing your team's player trying to score against the opponent's goalie.

The additional of the shootout ends ties and adds spice into a hockey game. Good for the sport!

What do these mean to associations?

If two major sports organizations sense the need to keep changing and keep improving, what about associations and other nonprofit organizations?

Perhaps there are great reasons why companies put “new & improved” on their products? Or why smart phones are constantly updated and upgraded. Our society is constantly changing and we expect change.

But we don’t get much change or new & improved in many associations. Why not?

Keep in mind that in addition to asking “what have you done for me lately,” your members are asking “what have you changed lately.”

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