A four-year-old was throwing mulch all over the sidewalk at the local zoo. An hour later the mulch was still there creating a tripping hazard for others walking on the path. The zoo didn’t guest-proof their grounds. You may have had this experience at zoos, museums, and other smaller attractions. Interactive exhibits are broken, and buttons don’t work. Informative signs get soiled, damaged by water or ripped away. The landscaping is damaged by foot traffic. The degradation takes away from our enjoyment of the experience.
In an attempt to reduce the damage some organizations develop band-aid solutions. Policies, rules, do-not-touch signs, and stanchion-rope guides. At every turn the management is indicating, we don’t trust you, and this takes away from our experience too.
Far better to guest-proof public attractions. Disney, Chicago’s Field Museum, and the Boston Aquarium have all figured out how to do this. They don’t have to display do-not-touch signs because displays are out of reach. Informational signs are sturdy, and exhibits are built for millions of button pushes. Additionally, staff is constantly looking out for anything broken or disorderly to fix it immediately.
In the same way, we can member-proof our associations. Not in a punitive, we-don’t-trust-you way, but in a we-want-to-provide-everyone-the-best-possible-experience way. Complexity, policies, rules are all band-aid solutions. How can you design a member-proofed seamless experience so members absolutely cannot throw mulch on your sidewalk?
- Do our association’s members feel taken care of?
- Who are you trying to protect your association from?
- Little habits that hurt our association’s credibility