In a recent strategic discussion about how to improve member and customer engagement, the CEO of a very large individual membership association said something that blew our minds.
He told us that his staff actively discourages him from reading the association’s online forum posts because “it will only upset” him to see the negative or “trivial” comments and questions sometimes posted by the association’s members. His staff felt that it wasn’t the CEO’s role to know members on this granular level.
Wisely (there’s a reason he’s the CEO), he overrides his staff and regularly monitors the forums to see for himself what’s keeping his members up at night. What struck us, though, was that although this very capable leader understands the importance of knowing what members are saying, he didn’t understand that, while he and his organization are wrestling to develop engagement strategies, they are overlooking the very real engagement going on between the association and its members every single day.