Thursday, March 20, 2014

Paul Mengert with Jim Collins


A few months ago, I had a great morning with Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. Collins teaches that great companies, organizations (including charities) or associations become "great" by staying highly focused. They are focused on their products, service or mission, their customers (or members) and/or their businesses. Those with a simple, concise mission tend to have more sustainable success than those which are less focused. 

    Jim Collins (left) with Paul Mengert, President - Association Management Group, Inc.

Collins preaches and I want to share with my friends, clients a colleagues a set of characteristics he has found to be common among the most successful organizations:

      - Passionate about their products or services;

      - Non complacent;

      - Non ego-driven; and 

      - Embrace change.

Think about how these concepts apply or can apply to your organization:

Leadership - Principled leadership trumps charisma and mixes humility with professional will. Ego-driven leaders tend to lose sight of their goals, while accomplished leaders put the organization/association/business goals ahead of personal ones. Leaders must take responsibility and have the courage to execute what must be done and not compromise high standards.

Talent is the Key - Great organizations remove the wrong people from their team and refuse to compromise quality. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems and remember people are often brilliant at one thing but not everything.

Confront Facts - Instill a no blame culture, where the real problems can be discussed openly. Organizations must discuss real problems and adapt quickly to changing conditions.

Hedgehog Concept -- Three Interlinking Circles:

1) What are we deeply passionate about?

2) What are our strongests strengths? 

3) What drives our economic engine?

Great organizations are focused on where these three circles (concepts), where they overlap.

Discipline - Organizations that want to truly outpace their competition set and hold high standards, with commitment not only to do the right things but to stop doing things that are key to their missions.

Technology - Technology can't make one a leader, but can help one reach his/her goals. Technology isn't a culture, but adapt quickly to ever evolving technologies.

While every situation is different, these concepts can be applied to most and when done consistently, seem to lead to superior results.

Posted by: Paul Mengert, President - Association Management Group, Inc.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Expert Clothing Care: Tips and Ideas to Keep Your Clothes in Good Shape

From the kind of clothes you wear to their wear and tear condition, your apparel signifies many aspects of your personality. They don’t only have an intrinsic worth, but are also important because of their price tags. To keep your investment in a good shape, here are some tips from the experts:

Read Labels

Not reading the care instructions on your clothes is probably the biggest laundry mistake one can ever make. Do not treat all fabrics and clothes, and designs equally. Always read the labels before washing or ironing, as some pieces require more care than others doIf it says wash in cold water, there is probably a reason why manufacturer had put up this label.

However, as you start doing your laundry more frequently, you can make a few adjustments based on your experiences. For instance, some knit wears can be hand washed rather than dry cleaning, while hand-wash labeled clothes can be machine-washed on a gentle level.

Sort your Laundry before Washing

Did you ever notice a red stain on your white shirt? It is probably because light and dark colored clothes were thrown into the washer together. As the clothes jiggle with one another,a silk blouse maybe torn because of a jagged zipper jacket.

In addition to that, the appropriate drying temperature of each fabric may differ from one another. Sorting your clothes will ensure that each piece is properly dried, and comes out of the washer as good as new.

Invest in a Stain Removal and Pre-treat Stains

The best way to get rid of stains is to treat them as early as possible. The convenient new stain removal pens and wipes can be easily carried in a handbag or car. Before applying it, make sure you read the instructions on the package to avoid further damage. Do not expect magic, as even after applying the formula, it is still necessary to launder carefully to get rid of the ugly stain.

See if You Have Stain Removal Options in Your Washer

Many washers these days come with the advance technology of treating stains with multiple temperatures and spin settings. If you have the option, make use of it. Read the manual for perfect results.

Button and Zip Up

To avoid clothes snagging with one another, always button and zip up your clothes before placing into the washer. For better results, turn them inside out, as it will avert fading on the front design, print, or damage embellishment.

Tip: Always mend any tears before washing as machine washing can further increase the tears, thus making it impossible to fix.

Use the Correct Type of Hanger

Hanging your clothes in a thin-wired hanger may stretch and de-shape the fabric from the shoulders (especially in case of knitted clothes). All button-down shirts should be hung with buttons secured, while Suits and dresses are best hung on wide thick hangers.

Storage Space

Store your clothes in a dark space, away from direct sunlight.Sunrays can significantly fade away bright colors. Before storing, make sure everything is thoroughly dried as moist clothes attract mold and mildew.

Save Money on Home Improvement

If you are a homeowner, you probably have a long list of due renovations that are necessary to preserve the value of your property. Some redo jobs can certainly wait, however, do not take small improvements lightly for they can cause bigger damages in the longer run.

Always remember to check the guidelines and regulations for your community before starting a project.

When you talk about saving money, it does not mean you cannot have marvelous upgrades.


First, identify the areas where improvement is urgently required. The trick is to start from the very basic infrastructure elements such as floors, roofs, leakages, plumbing, paint, and stairs.Sensibly thinking, there is no use of investing in lavish granite countertops and pendant light fixtures when you have a leakage in the roof. It is advised that you focus on ‘sexy upgrades’ once you are finished with the ‘essential repairs’. Remember that you must not think ‘too much savings’ on high-priority projects because temporary fixes or inexpensive repairs might not last for a long time.

Fix structural plumbing and sewer drain related issues

One of the most expensive damage fixes are often related to water leakages, bathroom and kitchen plumbing, and sewer drainpipes. During summers, you need to get prepared for low-temperatures; and when the winter is about to get over, there is a need to take measures for rainy season and snow melting.

A professional gutter cleaning can avert problems such ascracked foundations, leaking roofs, bathroom and kitchenseepage, wood-damaging insects, and mildew in the basement. According to statistics, it takes about $181 to prevent future water related damages.

Think Energy Efficient Improvements and Remodeling

Now that you have decided to spend some money on home improvement, you should consider energy efficient systems to save money in the longer run.

- Get More Windows
The idea is to rearrange the windows in such a way that in bring in more sunlight.

- Opt for ‘Low-Flow’ water 
fixtures, as it will reduce your average monthly water consumption and help you save up to $ 145 annually. You can easily find low-flow showerheads at local home improvement stores for as low as $20.

- Insulating your house is another way to keep
 your house comfortable all year round. By keeping the house warmer in winters and cooler in summers, it can significantly reduce cooling and heating costs. According to Energy Star, an investment of $15 (per insulation roll) can yield up to 20% savings.

- Replace ordinary bulbs with 
compact florescent light bulbs.They are known to last 10 times longer than regular bulbs and save up to 6% on lighting costs.

- You might also want to upgrade your dishwasher as 
newer technology uses water more efficiently. It might be a littleexpensive; however, considering the energy savings, it is worth it.

Pay a Visit to Your Local Restore

You can find various useful home improvement products atHabitat for Humanity at minimal prices. In addition to that, donating your old fixtures, carpets, and other household appliances will be rewarded by reduction in taxes.


To avoid incurring major renovation costs, it is advised that you regularly check and inspect your house for minor repairs. Early fixes can prevent further and more costly damages.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Summer Interior Design Ideas for a Brighter Look

As the season is changing, there is a need to set your house ready to shine bright under the sun. Do you know what season and interior d├ęcor have in common? They both have the tendency to change our moods! If you are planning a lively and active summer, you cannot go wrong with these exciting interior decoration ideas.

Fresh Florals

Besides being the latest trend on fashion runways, floral designsare also making their way into the home fashion industry. Interior designers throughout the country are extensively using these prints to bring more life to a space, and apparently, they just do not seem to have enough of it. Remember, overdoing one specific trend may make a place look gaudy. The trick is tohighlight it on either one prominent place, or integrate a minimal amount at several small places. For instance, either, go for a floral printed curtain or, place flowery cushions on sofas.

Create a Holiday Feel with Creative Outdoor Furniture
In summer, family picnics and entertainment are epic. Whether you have a big yard, or a small gallery, outdoor storage benches with removable cushions should work for both. It will not only serve the purpose of additional storage, but can also used toenjoy cocktail with a friend under the sun. To make it morecolorfuluse parasol fabrics. It is a perfect summer choice for its material is fade-resistant, thus the seats will stay brightly colored throughout the season.

Work With Cool Colors

Summer introduces to natural bright colors. Why not take a lesson from nature and incorporate the same brilliance in our homes? Enough of dark winter hues, it is time to get soft and sweet on the colors. This romantic trend is an inspiration ofspring-time’s wild foliage, taking us back to the childhood innocence. Work with blossom pinks or pastel greens for a room that oozes freshness.

Mirror Magic

Mirrors are widely used to create a focal point in the contemporary interior design philosophies. They have a magical effect of making a small space look spacious. If placed at the right spots, it can instantly add more brightness and brilliance to a room. If you have a beautiful yard or a natural eye-catching landscape backdrop, place the mirror in a way that it reflects that particular background. Also make sure that the height of mirror is eye-level.

Get access to natural light
When you have a bright sunny afternoon, keep your shabby haven curtains off the window to let the natural sun-light come inside. According to a scientific research, it is proven that ourcortisol levels go down under artificial lighting conditions, thus making us more stressed with lower energy levels. So, slide away those window coverings for happier and brighter you.

Embrace the Nature - Go Green!
Placing plants in living spaces, hallways, or entrances will create an outdoor effect within doors. Whether you are using it tocomplement the floral printed upholstery, or just as separators to divide a large room into two portions; it will completelytransform the feel of the house. Better yet, buy a bunch of colorful flowers, arrange them, and find yourself in an English country garden.

Pocket-Friendly Landscaping Tips for a Beautiful Yard

Do you want to give your boring backyard a million dollar look while maintaining a frugal lifestyle?

It is often misperceived that cheap landscaping ideas are either not effective, or cannot produce desired results. However, that isnot true, with a bit of intelligence and planning, you can have an enchanting garden without having to spend thousands of hard-earned dollars.

Use Native Plants
Do not fancy foreign plants – they are not only heavy on the pocket, but can also make your gardening experience troublesome. Choose native plants for they will work both ways,add panache to your garden and easier to maintain. Contact your local gardener for a detailed guidance about these inexpensive, yet beautiful plants. In addition, you can demonstrate your care for society by supporting local horticultural communities. You will be surprise to know that your neighborhood nursery stockshigher-grade plants as compared to flashy super stores.

Save More Water

Think beyond cheap plants  think water savings! There are a number of ways to use this scarce resource efficiently. First of all, learn more about plants which require lesser water to flourish and stay aliveAsk your local horticultural university students for a free advice regarding draught-tolerant perennialflowers and shrubs. Blanket flower and Yarrow are excellent choices if you want to incorporate bright yellow and red into your garden.

In addition to that, botanists suggest that watering your plants early morning is better as it avoids immediate evaporation.Mulching your garden regularly keeps the nature soil moisture locked, thus requiring less water.

The Goodness of Fresh Vegetables
To make your garden more versatile, use a small patch to grow your own vegetables. Homegrown vegetables are not onlyfresher, but are also healthy. Consider the money that you can save by having your own coriander plant– after all; it is the most common food ingredient.

Get Rid of Weeds

Having weed in your garden means that a considerable part of water and fertilizer is not being consumed by plants, but by this undesirable plant. Weeds don’t let plants to absorb water compost, thus making them weak day by day. If you want to see your investment flourish, get rid of weeds!

Plant A Tree For Additional Savings

Having a tree in your yard will not only adorn your garden beautifully, but also help your save in terms of energy needs.Large trees can sometimes damage concrete blocks, therefore, it is recommended that you plant them at least 30 feet away fromhouse walls.

Consider the following facts:

American Public Power Association suggests that by providing a natural protection from sun heat, trees can lower air conditioning expense by up to 50%.

- According to 
EPA, trees have the tendency to reduce temperatures by as much as 9°F.


Go Eco-Friendly!
Install a solar water pump for long-term energy savings. This one-time investment will yield results for years. Using the energy from sun also will not just save your pocket, but also the environment and earth.

NOTE: Please make sure all landscape modifications comply with community regulations.