What if the secret to member happiness was taking benefits away instead of adding to the never-ending laundry list of stuff?
Well, why not?
Oddly enough, this article from Fast Company “A Store With Only 3 Products And Other Cases For Simplicity” and this clip from an interview George Carlin did in 2008 converged this morning to remind me of an important lesson.
Simplicity + volume might do the trick.
The article from Fast Company talks about a jewelry company that places only one piece per day in it's shop window. Think about how arresting that must look as you are moving down the sidewalk. To see one exquisite piece surrounded by empty space.
Studies have shown that people say they like a multitude of choices, but their behavior suggests otherwise. At a certain point, our decision making selector goes on the fritz and our ability to capitalize on complexity reaches a point of diminishing returns. More often than not, a profusion of choice can lead us to outright rejection of the whole ball of wax.
What if your association stopped creating so many services? What if you took your membership brochure and forced yourself to cut out 50% of the words on it? What if you set policy that required any new service launch be subject to the intentional retirement of something else? What if, when someone asked what your association did, you could answer in less than ten minutes? What if your vision was so clear, it overshadowed anything and everything else?
Once you simplify the environment, it's easier to turn up the volume. Watch the interview below, it's profound. In it, George Carlin points out how Sam Kinison electrified the comedy world with his technique - volume. George relates that as Sam raised his voice literally, it taught George to raise his own volume figuratively. Mr. Carlin said that lesson fueled his work through the 90s and to the end of his career. Raise your voice to overcome the cultural noise we are surrounded by.
Note, I didn't say increase the frequency of your communications. Notice I didn't say "cram every link you can think of in your e-newsletter." I said amplify. Use language. Use graphics. Use unique delivery systems. Be powerful and clear. Ask the tough questions. Dig deeper.
What could your association do if you could simplify what you do while simultaneously amplifying your volume?
I’ll get the trashcans and the earplugs.
Ready? Set? GO!!!!!
(and enjoy some words from one of my most favorite social commentators - George Carlin)