Director's Orders

Jonathan F. Thompson, NSA Executive Director and CEO

Metrics Matter

Come to the 2016 NSA Education and Technology Expo with goals and a plan

In June, the National Sheriffs’ Association celebrates our 75th annual conference. This year we will be in Minneapolis. While the location is important, the purpose of our gathering is more so.
Twice a year, we hold meetings—one during the winter in Washington, D.C., and the other in June in a different location each year. At the annual conference in June, officers are elected, bylaws are voted on, and the overall strategic direction for NSA is measured and determined.
If you want to make a difference and participate in the direction of your association, this is the meeting to attend. It is your involvement that makes us successful. It is the planning ahead that matters. Seasoned attendees plan their agendas; make appointments with experts; reach out to peers; and decide what vendors they must meet, want to meet, and hope to meet.
Here is the advice we give our vendors: Don’t come to an event without a plan of action.
Here is the advice we give our attendees: Don’t come without a plan of action.
Know what you want to get out of the event, set goals with a schedule, and set your expectations.
Coming to an NSA annual conference is no different than preparing for an important case or investigation—you should set metrics for your experience. For example, how many seminars and sessions do you really have time to attend? What topics are essential for you to learn about?
Conferences can overwhelm you. Guard against too much down time, too much meeting time, and too little vendor time. To achieve success, set goals for this year’s event, plan ahead, and come prepared with specific metrics for:
  1. Networking targets
  2. Education and training objectives
  3. New solutions and innovative concepts
  4. Association participation
Sheriffs use metrics everyday. Without these or your own metrics, it becomes just another conference with little to show at the end. Set measurable goals, and endeavor to meet or exceed them.