What Would Happen If? How To Eat Your Own Dogfood

Image by A30_Tsitika.

“If you want to be disruptive, don’t start with your best practices,” says Unmair Haque.

“Try instead with your industry’s worst practices and take tiny steps–or better yet, giant leaps–towards bettering them.”

Umair Haque’s post, “Why You Should Focus On Your Worst Practices” got me thinking. His statement “Diet on your own dogfood” resonated with me.

Haque’s Four Ways To Use Your Worst Practices For Improvement

Haque provides four ways to discover your worst practices and turn them around for improvement. 1. Ask your critics.

This is the simplest way to uncover your worst practices. Instead of bashing, beating and ignoring your fiercest critics, ask them. Stop trying to silence them. Listen to them. Haque says your critics are worth more than the bean counters, consultants, management and pundits you often pay.

2. Spend a day in the trenches.

It is time for you to play Undercover Boss and get a hefty dose of reality. Want to discover what really sucks about your organization’s practices and procedures? Get out of the board room and that corner office and into the trenches.

3. Examine your past.

Your day in the sun has past. Now it’s time to look backwards and discover what made you great at that time. Then examine what made you lose it.

4. Eat your own dogfood.

What would happen if every CEO had a clause in their contract that said, “You make it, you use it,” Haque asks.

What if?

Number four really resonated with me: Diet on your own dogfood.

Here are some what ifs for meeting and event associations and their conferences.

  • What would happen if ASAE, DMAI, IAEE, ISES, MPI and PCMA had to plan their annual meeting using the same budget as their member companies of similar size?
  • What would happen if they had to pay for their keynote speakers like the rest of the trade associations have to do?
  • What would happen if all associations actually put education first as their mission statements say?
  • What would happen if every association executive director could only get education or information from their own magazine and education offerings ever year?
  • What would happen if they didn’t get a lot of free in-kind services from suppliers and were forced to find additional revenue streams or cut programs and services like most associations do?
  • What would happen if they actually responded to member requests of taking the association business stuff (the year in review, the passing of the gavel, the awards ceremonies, the acknowledgment of new board members) out of general sessions and put those items in a separate business meeting?
  • What would happen if all education sessions were hand-picked by experienced learning professionals?

Would They Be Able To Do It?

Would leadership be able to eat their own dogfood? Would they spend more time thinking through the consequences of their decisions and the impact on the attendees’ experience?

“To get there, you have to master the art of mattering,” states Haque.

What “what ifs” would you add to this list?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt, nancyrubin. nancyrubin said: RT @JeffHurt How To Eat Your Own Dogfood http://bit.ly/hTFEKl […]

  2. ‘@Jeff,

    I love the 1st what if. And what if they brought in people from the member community to help them plan the event and were transparent with their budget/costs/etc? What a learning opportunity!

    I would add a bullet:
    – What if your employees were treated as contracted partners with a seat at the table rather than task list junkies? Held accountable and offered the authority to drive positive change.

    Many times those who do the undercover boss are middle to upper middle management with little authority to make the needed changes they uncover.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Thanks for the additional “What If” and it is a good one. I like the way you put it, “treating employees as contracted partners with a seat at the table or task list junkies.” That’s good.

  3. […] Jeff Hurt has some great ideas for associations about eating your own dogfood. […]

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