In my membership business, there are four questions that I always ask. These are important to my business, because I like to use the principle of CANEI, which stands for “constant and never ending improvement.” My team and I are always asking questions that can help us with this principle.
I want you to have this mindset of constant and never-ending improvement. I want you to always evaluate what you do, and how you do it. For some of you that means events. For others, it is trainings. If you’re doing coaching, it may be phone calls. For some it may be a newsletter. Whatever the activity is, I want you to look at that activity and ask yourself these four questions.
Question #1: What went right?
Celebrate! I want you to enjoy leading your own membership business. I want you to pat yourself on the back and encourage your team for all of the things that went right. Take a moment, capture those, and write them down. (By the way, I really do mean for you to write everything down when it comes to answering these questions. Don’t think about it in your head. I want you to capture the thoughts that you have on paper.) What went right? Write it down. If somebody on your staff did that, put their name beside it as something they did that was beneficial and a great experience for your members.
Question #2: What went wrong?
In order to grow, you have to find out what you can improve on. So ask yourself and your team “what went wrong?” You may find that a seemingly great idea just didn’t go well. For some reason your members just didn’t respond to it, so therefore it was wrong. This sometimes overlaps with the next questions, so when you are writing these down, be careful with your answers. Was it really wrong or was it confusing? Or was it wrong, because it was missing?
Question #3: What was missing?
When you ask this question, you may hear, “We had every intention of doing this, but we didn’t do it,” and so it was missing. You need to make a note of that. Or, “we were missing some key supplies.” You need to write that down and make a list of what those supplies were. Whatever was missing, write it down so that you and your team can make sure it is available next time.
Question #4: What was confusing?
You put a lot of effort into what you provide for your members, so it is frustrating to everyone when you get to a part that is confusing. Everything is going along perfectly and then suddenly your members don’t know what to do, or they don’t know what their next steps should be. It isn’t wrong; it is just confusing. Take a look at whatever the confusing part is, see how it was implemented, and then go back and clarify it for next time.
The four questions are: “what went right, what went wrong, what was missing, and what was confusing?” As you write down the answers to each of those, put a name beside who is going to take care of the wrong, missing, and confusing. Assign a name to represent who is going to be responsible for each piece that was wrong, missing, or confusing. Who is going to be the one to clarify that and take the responsibility for it? Then the last step is to put a date beside it.
Let’s face it, we have a lot of things going on, but if we have a deadline we make sure those things get done. If you have staff, ask them to recommend a good deadline by which we can expect that to be accomplished. For some of you, you might need to produce that newsletter again next month. Or you’ve got another event coming up within the next couple weeks and so the deadline is going to be very tight. For others you might need to say, “we’ve got some time to work on this, but let’s set a deadline in place, so that we can work towards that deadline and get it accomplished.”
Ask these questions, put a name beside it, put a date beside it, and then continue to do that after every event. If you have a newsletter, do it with the first newsletter, correct it, and do it with the second newsletter. Then ask yourself the same questions. If you do events, do it with your next event. Assign names to it, put a deadline, and then evaluate your next event after that. Over and over and over. That’s how you practice the principle of Canei, constant and never-ending improvement, by asking these four questions. They really will be the most valuable questions you can ask in your membership business.
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