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Taboo Topics: Lipstick on a Pig Reporting

Posted by Jay Dziwlik, MBA, CAE on Jun 1, 2016 12:00:00 PM


We have all seen that proud parent show off a piece of art his/her sweet little precious child produced. “Isn’t this amazing? Johnny made it all himself. He is quite talented.” You have rarely seen such an offensive sight and after choking back laughter or horror you nod and remember it is just a kid. I hope this parent gains perspective before he/she sends this kid off into the world wondering why everybody doesn’t love them and their work. Associations sometimes have a correlation in their reporting.

I know I might be giving away trade secrets or pulling back the veil on the Wizard of Oz but we need to have a candid discussion about reporting.

Stop putting lipstick on the pig. Stop letting members put lipstick on a pig. What I mean is reporting should be clear, concise, understandable and truthful. We all know this and agreed to this as CAE code of conduct, IRS and board policies outlines. But there are slight shifts that border on a beautiful shade of red for the pork in your association. When you see some of the following the warning lights should go off:

  • Making a decision and then seeking out facts and figures to support that decision.
  • Only remembering to share the good things you have done.
  • Not keeping good track of records, because you can’t report if you don’t track.
  • Reporting a lot of opinion with the facts.
  • Letting only one person report and not letting experts or consultants report.
  • Picking the most advantageous time to report.
  • Telling only your supporters and not your detractors.
  • Using opaque transparency, transparent only if they ask.
  • Putting the spin on the report.
  • Excusing filled reports.
  • Not coming prepared to report, delaying by not having facts and figures.
  • Redoing the report because you did not like the results.
  • Telling them only what their “tickling ears long to hear.”
  • Flat out lying.
  • Only considering the positive or only considering the negative, deleting the contrasting view.

You may be working the cosmetic counter at the barnyard if you see any of this in your reporting. We are better than that. It is hard to build an association on bad reporting.

Leading Your Association in a Fast-Paced Changing World with Mary Byers, CAE

Topics: Associations, reporting

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