In an episode from season 2 of Modern Family, Claire was angry with her husband Phil and he didn’t know why. He retraced his steps and conversations throughout that day, trying to understand the source of her anger. Every time he thought he understood the reason behind her disapproval he was wrong. He tried all of the obvious reasons to explain her mounting dissatisfaction. The more “clueless” he was, the more angry she became.
Spoiler alert: don’t read any further if you plan on watching it later.
It turns out her anger involved something as simple as a salad. Since they first began dating, Claire has tried to get Phil to eat a wedge salad – for years and years and years – to no avail. Then he has lunch with someone, who suggests the wedge. Not only does Phil try it but he comes home raving about it and suggests Claire should try it. Claire’s ire was not focused around the fact that Phil said “no” to her multiple suggestions. It was that he said “yes” when it was suggested by someone else and then acted as though he had just discovered it. He either didn’t hear her earlier suggestions or thought she didn’t know what she was talking about. None of those reasons are good ones (especially not from a member perspective).
If your members have been trying to tell you what they need or what they would like you to try and you’ve been focused on other things that’s understandable. But if you allow a third-party to come in and then decide to implement exactly what your members have been suggesting, it only furthers their feelings of isolation and unimportance.
Good ideas and bad take the same amount of effort of thought. You may not agree with every suggestion given to you and sometimes the timing’s not right but if you (later) implement something your members have insisted upon for a while let them own the moment/suggestion.
As a member-centric organization you’ll be better served providing everyone the courtesy of an answer, even if that answer’s “no.”