Confession: Sometimes I teach what I must learn.
What I’m about to share with you are 5 habits that hinder membership growth goals that I’ve noticed in my clients over the years, but you can be assured that there’s a liberal sprinkling of things that I’ve had to learn myself – and things that still pop up for me to this very day.
I call them habits because these aren’t just one-time behaviors. These tend to be patterns that emerge. You can try to suppress them, but suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, you realize the behavior is back and may be getting in the way of what you really want.
It’s like hitting the drive-thru at the end of your street for dinner when you really intended to be eating healthier. You realize that’s been happening quite a bit lately and you’re pretty sure it’s going to mean that you won’t hit the number you hoped to see on your upcoming cholesterol test.
The same thing applies to these habits. These are tough to break and, if they show up too often, you may find yourself unable to hit the growth goals you want.
Do you recognize any of them?
1) Multi-tasking mayhem.
Many people in the business world today still see multi-tasking as some kind of virtue, but the truth is that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to be amazing at a bunch of different things at once. There’s also increasing evidence from neuroscience that shows we aren’t nearly as good at starting/stopping/restarting process as we tend to think. Not only does it cost us time, but it also causes more mistakes and drains our energy over time. Carving out time specifically for marketing, which you then implement with complete focus, is key to breaking out of this bad habit. Marketing can’t be an after-thought, nor can it be something that you do if/when time allows. This work is essential to growth and deserves sacred time on your calendar.
There is NO shortage of information out there, is there? Pretty, shiny downloads all promising to reveal the “Secret Formula” for solving the problems you face. There are two problems that arise here. First, it’s tempting to try to download and digest all of it (which just reinforces Habit #1 above). Second, downloading a bunch of stuff that you can’t possibly implement leads to feelings of chronic dissatisfaction and “being behind”.Instead, it’s important to prioritize what you’re going to be working on (this month, this quarter, this year, etc.). Focus your learning and information seeking narrowly on the topic at hand. I can assure you that, when you’re *ready* to work on the next topic, there will still be plenty of great content waiting for you.
3) The drift.
Many of us are awesome at getting things started, but not so great at seeing them all the way through. It’s as if we start out with great excitement and energy, then sorta-kinda-maybe-begin to drift away. Yet, it’s in the implementation of our ideas that we really learn what works, what doesn’t, and why or why not. Again, choosing what we want, being clear about what’s a priority, and staying focused on it helps us break free of the drifting habit. The drift is one that personally bothers me when I see it happening for prospective clients. Sometimes I realize that *I* seem to want the end result more than the person I’m working with does. That’s when I know that the drift is insidiously creeping in, so it’s time to get re-energized around the desired outcome.
4) I-can-do-it-all syndrome.
This habit is extremely deceptive because it strokes our ego. When we’re naturally good at a lot of things, when we can work quickly, when we feel like we can do things faster or better than someone else, it can be hard to delegate work to others. This habit leads to a schedule that is overbooked and packed with tasks that don’t necessarily create forward momentum. Sometimes letting go, even if it’s really hard at first, allows us to move more quickly.
Take a moment and scan down your to-do list for today. If you had to tie each of those tasks to a larger goal that you’re working on, could you do it easily? Can you affirmatively say that what you did last week, or last month, pushed you forward toward goals? Was there an impact? Most people would have a difficult time doing this. The truth is that how we spend our time every day is likely to be more disconnected from our goals than it should be – or we at least don’t think about the connectedness as often as we should. This can certainly have an impact on our results because we may *feel* very busy but find ourselves puzzled when the busy-ness doesn’t translate into membership growth.
I wish I could tell you that there’s a miracle cure for all of these habits, but truly the only way to stay ahead of them is to adopt practices that simply don’t allow these things to exist – plans and schedules and systems that are firmly grounded in what you want and maintain the structure necessary to help you get it.
Is this something that has resonated with you? I'd love to hear what you've found that works (or doesn't) for keeping you focused on your goals. Share in the comments.
Joy Duling is Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership. Since 2005, Joy and her team have helped associations, trade groups and membership-based nonprofits run their programs more easily and deliver exceptional member care.
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