Small Steps Forward
By John M. Corliss, Jr., PE
It has been said many times and in many ways that a long journey starts with the first step and is accomplished by methodically placing one step in front of the other. Margaret King got the Chapter to take the first step from inactivity over two years ago. Since I followed her as Chapter President we have continued progress one step at a time.
The Board has completed its Strategic Planning for the upcoming program year. I am very proud of the thought put into this plan by the various Board Members. I am confident that the Constitution and Bylaws will help the Board be more efficient and better serve you. I am excited by the great job being done by our Program VP Matt Morissette and Membership Chair Robert Carey. And I am also excited by the new VP Technology Position and by the plan being developed by Khaled Elsaid and Kathy Dawson Townsend to better use technology to serve you – the first new feature will be providing the ability to register and pay for events online.
For an organization like ours, once a certain critical mass is reached, exponential growth will occur. With this increased participation, the number of people volunteering increases, the workload on volunteers decreases, the quality of services increases, the benefits of membership increase, and the participation increases. This is the positive feedback loop that we are seeking to enter. It is a feedback loop that led to over 600 chapter members and meetings with 100 people present – the history of our chapter. This loop can also be a spiral down if critical mass is not reached and the effort required of volunteers exceeds benefits for an extended period – also the history of our chapter.
Many chapters are faced with this same issue. As I read the e-mails from other Chapter Presidents, all are seeking to find ways to entice people to attend their meetings. I have seen them and members of our chapter argue that the problem is the demands on the time of our members, the poor economy, and the wide geography covered that lead to the lack of attendance. However, I also belong to the MassBay Chapter of the Project Management Institute and they serve the same area, they hold all of there meetings in the evening in Burlington, many of their members are “in transition” and the meetings cost two to three times what we charge, and yet every month there are 75 to 100 people in attendance.
They provide member benefits that generate participation – they reached critical mass and are in the positive feedback loop. Your Board of Directors is seeking critical mass – is seeking to discover and provide the member benefits that will place us in the positive feedback loop.
You can help. Read the summary of the Strategic Plan in this newsletter. Go to our website and read the entire plan. And then send us your thoughts. What assistance in achieving your professional objectives do you not have a source for and you think we may be able to fill that need?