Organization & Culture

What’s a professional association to do?

An expert doesn’t start out an expert. The road to learning is endless. You start with a calling, you study, you pass your exams, you become an expert and only then do you start learning.

Professional membership associations exist to ensure that standards are maintained. They ensure that professional knowledge is accrued and that there is always a path for members to gain more learning. Their mission is to ensure that the experts first become, and then remain, the best in their field.

Expert Systems

However, the expert in a profession is not an expert in running of an organisation or its IT. There is an increasing emphasis on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and the diverse manners in which we share and learn information. Information systems and IT play a core role in how professional associations stay at the cutting edge of knowledge management.

The systems used in associations are far from unique, in fact, systems are increasingly commodity items. However, systems interactions and interplay are complex and require understanding, effort and support. Without that a professional association’s systems become a potential risk to operations, supportability and the integration of future systems (new projects).

Know Your Systems

To prevent problems, a few simple tools can be deployed to support internal systems knowledge and process. These require not much more than a sheet of paper and a pencil to start with and some conversations:

  • Make a picture of all of our systems and departments or people.
  • Discuss it with your organisation and agree that it is representative.
  • Name a systems owner and at least one system administrator for each system on the picture.
  • Decide who to call when something goes wrong with one of our systems (or we suspect something has gone wrong).
  • Keep this picture updated regularly – plan your meetings.
  • Ensure that systems discussion becomes part of your daily narrative.

Want to learn more about your systems and taking control of them?

Sign up for my free email course Know Your Systems.

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