Saturday, February 23, 2013

6 Words that Stop Change at Associations

There are 6 words that routinely stop change at Associations: "But that will set a precedent."  With a precedent of course being assumed to be a bad thing.

Here are a few thoughts on getting past the dreaded precedent-setting:

1.  Call it a pilot program.  Then it is clear it's a test and may or may not ever apply again.

2.  Make it clear why it's one-time in an explanatory to a decision. "Due to the current market conditions ...", "due to an unexpected overage in the fund balance," or whatever provides explanation to do something even if it's never been done before or may not be an option again. Or make it clear what it would take for that same type of approval to happen again.  Seriously, doing something once does not mean you have to do it twice or a hundred times.  I also think if you do something a hundred times, you should also be able to never do that again.

3.  Let it set a precedent.  What if the precedent-setting option is actually the best approach?  If the fear is that it might be popular, evaluate the concern about doing something that might be popular.

There are clearly situations where it may not be at all appropriate to set precedents, such as with personnel policies.  But with many association programs and general association policies, maybe taking a leap of faith by trying something once won't be such a bad idea.  At least don't kill an idea just by saying it will set a precedent.

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