By Susie Kay

MemberWise Ambassador (Governance)

The Professionalism Group


Working with several new clients over the last couple of months has reminded me of an issue I tend to go on about at length.  How long will an organisation put up with its known internal difficulties before it comes to the conclusion that it really must deal with them in order to move forward?

The issue has been cast into high relief by the contrast to the sector’s reaction to the GDPR implementation deadline.  This externally imposed, unmoveable deadline has concentrated everyone’s attention on the fact that they couldn’t ignore it and hope it would go away.  They have all had to do something quite specific to meet the deadline requirements.  That’s interesting isn’t it?

Then, in July 2017, the Charity Commission published the new Charity Governance Code which made succinct and easy to follow recommendations, reflecting what we’ve been offering on how to improve your governance arrangements to make them work efficiently and effectively.  So where is the queue of organisations making an effort to examine and rectify out-of-date and inhibiting governance arrangements which are slowing down their ability to function in support of their members and militating against new and improved ways of working? Also interesting!

It’s never easy to start is it?  It doesn’t matter whether the project is reviewing your governance arrangements, investing in new technology, staff appraisals or enhancing your member benefits.  The talking can go on for a long, long time without ever providing the impetus to actually get going.

It is possible – and probably easier – to carry on living with awkward situations even though you know you should tackle it.  Sometimes it is just easier to keep right on talking and talking and talking….  Even though you know you will feel better if ‘it’ was sorted out.

Endless talking won’t cure your problem but action will.  A recent client bemoaned their organisation’s talent for going down rabbit holes and their unswerving ability to pick the wrong activity and concentrate on it in an ever-declining spiral!  I would bet that they are not alone.

So, here’s an idea.  Stop talking and just do it – whatever ‘it’ is.  You may not get it right first time but at least you will have made a start.  You don’t need to be perfect but you do need to achieve the relief that getting the ball rolling will provide.

What do you need to make that start?  Well, only two decisions actually:

1             Decide you have had enough of the status quo

2             Decide that tomorrow needs to be different and better.

If you haven’t been able to achieve the much-needed change up to now, how will you achieve that?  That’s only one simple decision away.  Decide to ask for help.  That is not an admission of failure up to this point, it is just a very pragmatic response to a difficult or untenable situation.


If your problem is connected with your organisation’s governance, download my new checklist ‘7 things to do NOW to go from OK to Excellent Governance’ – it’s free of charge – and you will be able to get started straight away.  (Link to resources page  ) Or you could decide to put everyone in the same room and lock the doors until you come to a decision.  I would recommend a neutral facilitator to make this work.

Whatever you decide to do, as the footwear company (naming no names) says JUST DO IT!

Susie Kay and The Professionalism Group specialise in providing Governance excellence for the membership and associations sector.