Ask questions. Listen. Learn about people.

I recently had the great pleasure of being featured in the “How I Got Here” section of ASAE’s print publication,Associations Now. Revisiting all of the ups and downs of my career was a hoot and made me recognize that there were lessons to be learned at all of my jobs, even those I wish I could scrub off my resume! I was asked to come up with a piece of advice for readers. Anyone who knows me knows that you cannot just ask me for “one” of something so I gave the editors a choice:

  1. Don’t live in fear – you can do anything you set your mind to.
  2. If people get louder, you should get quieter.
  3. Be patient and accept that people have different styles than you do.
  4. Fight for your team and give them credit.
  5. Give your people praise-it goes a long way
  6. Always do what you say you are going to do whether returning a call “by tomorrow” or “putting the check in the mail today” or fighting for a raise for someone.
  7. Ask questions. Listen. Learn about people.
  8. Be nice. Be kind. Be authentic. Mentor.
  9. Make time for those who need your help. Shut your door, close your laptop, turn your phone over and engage with whomever you are talking with. Mentor. Volunteer for everything.
  10. You cannot controls things that will or will not happen: you can only control your reaction to things that happen.

They selected Number 7!

Michael Cummings is the Principal of Tate / Cummings; the owner of the design and copy shop Deco, by Tate / Cummings; and the Chair-Elect of ASAE’s Communication Section Council. He will be speaking on the topic of “Wearing ALL the MarCom Hats” at the MMC Conference in Washington, DC in June and on the topic of Volunteer Management at ASAE’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City in August.


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