Friday Buzz: Overwhelmed by Choice

Lessons in simplicity from Olive Garden, where sometimes diners have too many choices. Also: Should your board have a project manager?

The options don’t stop with pasta and breadsticks at Olive Garden, and that’s a problem.

Last month, a hedge fund with an ownership stake in Olive Garden’s parent company took aim at the restaurant chain, citing several reasons why it was struggling financially—including its failure to sell wine, its decision not to salt the water for pasta, and its massive menu.

In a piece by Associated Press food-industry writer Candice Choi, that massive menu came up again:

[Olive Garden has] an overwhelming number of options. Executives acknowledge the need to simplify the menu, which has been criticized for mushrooming to nearly 100 items, including burgers. Still, Darden president Eugene Lee recently said it’s hard deciding what to get rid [of], because everybody has their favorite.

SCD Group’s Steve Drake says Lee’s comment strikes at a common problem for organizations: Too many “favorites” among an association’s programs, products, and services can paralyze a board. He notes that associations may “need to consider whether volunteer simplicity [is] a strategy worth pursuing.”

What’s your take on the issue?

A Project Manager for Your Board?

At your board meetings, you may find that some amazing—arguably epic—ideas come up that people in the room consider inspiring. But under the wrong circumstances, that could create a huge bottleneck or even a failure to act.

It’s for this reason that Association Options CEO William Pawlucy, CAE, suggests getting a project manager on board.

“When a board meeting ends, the minutes are drafted, sent for approval, and then finalized,” he writes on MultiBriefs. “This can take upwards of 30 days with no communication around the outcomes and actions of the meeting until final approval. What becomes of the action items during that period of time? How are they integrated into the organization’s overall work plan?”

Pawlucy says a project manager can create a “focus on deploying and executing actions efficiently from meeting to meeting.” (ht @ACAREYCMP)

Other Noteworthy Links

Chat room redux: In one of its first apps for private conversation, Facebook’s new Rooms offshoot offers the ability to create an invitation-only forum around any topic, and you don’t have to use your real name. TechCrunch has more details on the concept.

Sunday is the new Wednesday, at least when it comes to booking flights online, Inc. magazine reports.

A great find by Socialfish: Author Brian Carter breaks down what might be causing your mediocre ROI on social media.

(iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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