Alfred E. NeumanYears ago, I bought an Alfred E. Neuman mug with this quote:

Most people don’t know what they want. But they’re pretty sure they don’t have it.

I think Alfred E. Newman is pretty darn smart: Helping clients figure out what they want is one of the most important things coaches do. It’s also one of the most important responsibilities of the board of any organization.

Volunteering for the pure altruism of the gift may head you toward sainthood and, most assuredly, down a very slippery slope to burn-out and frustration.  So before you take on any new position, I suggest you consider this:

  • If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?
  • And perhaps more importantly, how will you know when it’s time to leave?

How will you know when you’ve arrived?

Since I started volunteering here, my goals for the organization have all been about building systems and structures for a sustainable ACO. All the work and attention of so many people is for naught if it isn’t sustainable. So here’s a run down of what we’ve done over the years to create a sustainable organization:

We have bylaws that provide structure, allow for growth and keep us from making the same decisions over and over again.  (BTW—shameless plug here—I also wrote a book about that process. Check it out here.) We have clearly defined job descriptions for board members so everyone knows what to do. We have a highly ranked website and multiple ways for ACO members to communicate and participate with each other in this professional venue.

In the last year or so, we transformed our entire website to a WordPress platform to more easily manage content. We also bought QuickBooks to manage our money. We subscribed to PracticePay Solutions for a shopping cart and merchant account to actually accept your money.  We hooked up with aWeber to manage our mailing lists.   We use Google analytics to track hits on our websites. We upgraded Profile Manager Premium to manage our membership data base.  We’ve hired a programmer who is working to make the searchability of that product more user friendly. We hired a virtual assistant to keep our office running more smoothly. (I thank the universe for Trisha Jones almost every single day!)

I feel comfortable with the systems and structures put in place through the combined efforts of the members of the board. And while I can’t speak for anybody else, I know, at least, that I have arrived at where I was going.

How will you know when it’s time to go?

A few years back we created the Leadership Team to cultivate new leadership for the ACO. Ken Zaretzky suggested it. I have to say, at the time, I thought it was stupid.  But, in fact, it’s brilliant! People get to try out participation without jumping in with both feet.  It’s particularly important because we don’t get to see each other often. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to say that I am handing off my various responsibilities to some very able people.

Maureen Nolan will take over as editor of CIRCLE in January. Viv Monahan, with help from Rudy Rodriquez,  has already taken over as chair of the conference committee. Trisha Jones, our VA and program coordinator, has taken over membership management and lots of other behind-the-scenes stuff I used to do. I hope you will give them the support and encouragement you have given to me.

I believe the systems are in place to help each of these people transition easily into their new jobs and to keep touching the lives of ACO members everywhere.

A few last words

I am proud of CIRCLE, the websites and the conferences that I’ve had responsibility for. I thank the membership for their wonderful support for all these projects. But more than anything else, I’m proud to have been part of this organization’s beginning and growth.

Finally, I believe in the capable and passionate members of the new board and wish all the very best.

Kerch McConlogue
Kerch McConlogue, CPCC, PCC
Retiring editor of CIRCLE

P.S. I’m not totally going away. I have agreed to continue as tech support for the ACO—managing the databases, calendars and websites. AND if you have any expertise in this stuff or even just a keen interest to learn more about the web, please holler!  The ACO needs you!