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I think two very different but important problems are being discussed here. @@Eagledad mentions that there are a lot of units that have no problem-solving skills and so they just tear themselves apart. @@Col. Flagg is saying that a better description of the program is needed. Both of these points are very valid. Both of these skills are needed in any challenging environment; how to solve problems and an understanding of the underlying domain.

 

Granted, if you have a troop with a bunch of engineers that solve problems all day professionally then the WB approach is not such a big gain. But there are plenty of units out there that are not run with scouters already having these skills. Some of the things I hear about how units are soap opera drama shows is truly amazing. So I agree with Eagledad's view that this type of training would help many units. But it's not enough. While the BSA assumes their SM specific training covers the underlying domain, it's the equivalent of "Teach Yourself Java in 21 minutes."

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OK, Now I see the issue.  It is a matter of expectations. 

 

Wood Badge is NOT a program training course. It is NOT designed (anymore) to teach Scout Craft.  It is NOT a course on conflict resolution.

 

It IS a leadership course that will give you tools that you can use and hone in your home unit to make you a better leader, and allow you to see where you see yourself and your unit going in the next year to 18 months, a reflection most of us do not do.

 

Goal setting, communication, time management, project management, team work, remembering to have fun and yes, some conflict resolution are all topics covered, and yes with any live training the quality will vary with the presenters.

 

And here's my rub with the program.  As touted in red it's a LEADERSHIP program (red)  and then the conversation continues with all attributes and dynamics that indicate it is a MANAGEMENT program (green).  So which is it?  If the people teaching it don't know and the people receiving it don't know, there's  a lot of "don't know" going around.  So what is it really?

  • Upvote 1

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That's hard to believe? Not everyone can teach. Not everyone can communicate effectively. Not everyone knows as much as they think they do.

 

My wood Badge experience is similar to a few here. Not worth the time or effort. Tel me, what's was I supposed to learn in those two weekends. Four folks my troop just finished and they're just as baffled.

 

That's easy to believe. Not everyone can teach.  Not everyone can learn in every situation.  Not everyone knows as much as they think they do.  Not everyone is the final arbiter of whether Wood Badge is worth the time and effort of others - or even most.  Apparently, Wood Badge, as taught by that staff, had nothing to offer you.  Sorry you were baffled instead of helped.

Edited by TAHAWK

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And here's my rub with the program.  As touted in red it's a LEADERSHIP program (red)  and then the conversation continues with all attributes and dynamics that indicate it is a MANAGEMENT program (green).  So which is it?  If the people teaching it don't know and the people receiving it don't know, there's  a lot of "don't know" going around.  So what is it really?

Definition of leadership
  1. 1 :  the office or position of a leader recently assumed the leadership of the company

  2. 2 :  capacity to lead a politician who lacks leadership

  3. 3 :  the act or an instance of leading leadership molds individuals into a team — Harold Koontz & Cyril O'Donnell

  4. 4 :  leaders the party leadership

Definition of management
  1. 1 :  the act or art of managing :  the conducting or supervising of something (as a business) Business improved under the management of new owners.

  2. 2 :  judicious use of means to accomplish an end is extremely cautious when it comes to money management

  3. 3 :  the collective body of those who manage or direct an enterprise Management decided to hire more workers.

The above thanks to www.merriam-webster.com

 

 

So the leadership course (the course for the leadership in BSA) teaches management skills; which a good leader (or manager) needs.  Hopefully by giving tools, examples, and content, including Servant Leadership, those that take the course can take the SKILLS learned and develop the ATTITUDE of a leader.

 

Skills can be taught, attitudes have to be created, mostly from within the individual with guidance and mentoring from a good coach and/or mentor.

 

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That's easy to believe. Not everyone can teach.  Not everyone can learn in every situation.  Not everyone knows as much as they think they do.  Not everyone is the final arbiter of whether Wood Badge is worth the time and effort of others - or even most.  Apparently, Wood Badge, as taught by that staff, had nothing to offer you.  Sorry you were baffled instead of helped.

 

 

No offense, but this is an example of the type of attitude I see with most WB proponents. Somehow, if you don't "get" WB or see its usefulness, you must have missed something. The value, if there is one, was so elusive that only those truly seeking it could find it.

 

In my experience, this stance is an excuse for something that was poorly designed. If the least intelligent, least skilled, least educated person in the room cannot "get" what the training is about, you've missed your objective.

 

The best training I have ever had has been clearly communicated, expertly organized so that nearly anyone could teach it, and so well documented that if you didn't attend the class you could still derive extreme value from its contents and materials.

 

Having culled through the various WB training materials, I see no evidence of any of this.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Maybe here's where the smoke and mirrors come in.

 

The WB class is already chock full of leaders. Months before someone looked at each participant and somehow decided "I trust you to lead our youth."  (Except for my co-advisor who handed me the adult application and said, "You only need to do this on paper so our girls can do Seabase." But that's another story.) There's really not much higher leadership in scouting. At least that's what the pro's -- the ones who actually make a career of this thing -- are always telling us.

 

So, anybody thinking they are going to add much to such people's leadership skills has another thing coming. They will lead, and men, women, boys and girls will follow. At best, folks like that (myself included) can only benefit from managing their leadership better. Maybe they can get sold a "We all can win" vision that they poo pooed before. Maybe they can learn to wait patiently as youth go through team-building stages. Maybe they have a few more folks who they can trust to call when they're stuck with a scouter's chestnut and folks in their unit aren't helping.

 

Perhaps when more wood was harmed in the process of WB completion, folks didn't notice what's going on. But now the whole notion of manipulating-what-you're-already-doing because we-think-there's-something-you-may-be-lacking ... well, that's what the course -- especially the game -- boils down to. Once those kind of cards are on the table, a large minority of folks aren't gonna want to pick them up. This is especially true of already strong leaders who've had it up to the eyeballs with management training.

Edited by qwazse

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If one has a job to do and does it and at the end of the job one looks around and there's no one there, he's been a good manager.  The task is done and no one else was needed to do it.

 

If one has a job to do and it requires people to assist in the completion of that project, the manager delegates out the breakdown of the tasks and in the end if everyone has done their job and finished their task, They have been a cog in the machine.  That's management it works,no problem. 

 

But when the job's done and everyone wishes it didn't and then ask if there's anything else they can do for you.... that's leadership.  It can't be taught, but it can be developed.

 

To a certain degree WB/NYLT are fairly good management programs, but that's what they are management programs.  Most educational processes are just that management processes that can be measured on the effectiveness of the teacher's management skills.  Whether or not the students like the teacher or not falls into the leadership realm.  How does one teach that in college? 

 

One can call WB/NYLT a leadership program but it's really not. 

Edited by Stosh

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I don't see Woodbadge as a leadership or management training. It's team building training. It's called a leadership course because for most folks it's just semantics anyway.

 

As I said earlier, most folks are expecting a skills course, more specifically a troop skills course. And even more specifically, outdoors skills course. I always wondered why they thought Cub Scout and Venturing leaders were also invited. Many are disheartened by the course because they are let down from the expectation. And I respect that. The BSA probably needs better outdoor skills courses under the troop (leader?) theme, but it's hard enough for scouters to find the time to do the courses asked of them now. I did teach a Council level Patrol Method course that I wrote myself. Adults also found that concept challenging.

 

I know some councils suffer from bad staffs that don't follow the course material. I say that because the material is written so that the each staff member very nearly only needs to read their part during the course strait out of the syllabus. Most BSA courses are written that way and very repeatable, provided the Course Director follows it correctly. As the Council Junior Leadership Chairman, I was very adamant our course directors strictly followed the syllabus.

 

And as I said, I had something like this type of course in my head before it came out because I found the majority of unit problems were a result of not understanding the goals of the program and not working together as a team. Those were the two typical approaches I used to get units back up to speed. 

 

As for the ticket items, I believe they are the key for helping participants understand their personal abilities toward their unit responsibilities. And I believe the heart of the course is coaching the participants in writing their tickets. Personally I believe the Troop Guide ASM is the most important staffer on the team. If they don't get it, tickets in general will be vague and pointless to the participant. I'm sure a few here relate. However, when done correctly, the ticket items part of the course works so well that we wrote it into our Council Junior Leadership Training course syllabus (now called NYLT). If the ticket is written correctly, most of the learning will come from working them.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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It might just be semantics to a lot of people until one gets out ahead on a skillfully laid out project and finds no one shows up.  Gotta have followers to be a leader.  No, it's not just semantics.  Just look around.  If no one is in your rear-view mirror, then one ain't much of a leader, now are they?  And because one can't see the difference, they have no idea how to place expectations, nor whether or not they got any real value out of the program. 

 

For some the 2, 3 and 4 beads mean more than the program.  That's not leadership.

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For some the 2, 3 and 4 beads mean more than the program.  That's not leadership.

Yep, but it's not a leadership course. And anyone who tries to make it one would be getting away from the syllabus. I have personally never heard a single scouter debate leadership and management titles for courses, except on this forum. To many bigger hills out there.

 

Let them have their beads stosh, they are where they want to be in the program.

 

Barry

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No offense taken or intended.  Things are as they are.  In my experience, some benefit.  Others do not.  

 

Wood Badge is a title for different training courses run, these days, by councils.  They differ by staff.  Staff quality, as I have posted multiple times, varies. Good staff overcomes defects in syllabus.  Poor staff can fail to deliver a strong syllabus.  The Wood Badge syllabus is not perfect - was probably better as written by Blanchard and Assoc.

 

Every "participant" experiences a different course because every experience in the course if filtered through that person's experiences, knowledge, and attitudes.  The ability to absorb information, aside from critical issues of teaching skills and syllabus quality, varies, and not in strict relationship to intelligence of the students, to call them a non-PC name.  Previous experiences of all sorts and many attitudes affect learning.   Trust, to name one factor, strongly impacts willingness to accept concepts as valid or even to listen to them.

 

I am unwilling to endorse Wood Badge for all Scouters and as delivered by all staffs.  I do endorse given courses becasue I know about the staffs of those courses.   Consumer research is prudent.

 

I disagree that someone, based on a necessarily limited sample, can accurately predict how all, most, or any particular participants will experience Wood Badge. 

 

If anyone has done a scientifically valid survey of Wood Badge participant's perceived outcomes , I would like to see it.

 

http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/wbw/

 

http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=0x5967x45877195

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/19003-woodbadge-patrol-yells/

 

http://scouter.com/index.php/topic/18892-a-round-of-the-gilwell-song/

Edited by TAHAWK

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I disagree that someone, based on a necessarily limited sample, can accurately predict how all, most, or any particular participants will experience Wood Badge. 

 

I will say that, from my experience, the majority of the people I know (over 75 people) who have taken WB, only a handful thought it worthwhile. Sampling crosses over 10 states and a larger number of councils; all within the last 20 years.

 

To me, that speaks more to the content than to its delivery. I can appreciate that some may find it useful, nonetheless.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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If you define "leadership" in a given way, you may decide a given syllabus does not teach "leadership."

 

 


  1. person
  2. Involved in a process
  3. Of influencing and developing a group of people
  4. In order to accomplish a purpose
  5. By means of supernatural power.

 

. . . some . . . think of leadership as a process.  This view of leadership, as a process, places an emphasis on social interaction and relationship.  This is the idea that leadership is a type of relationship, one that typically includes influencing others in a certain direction.  This leads to my current working definition of leadership: Leadership is a relationship that involves the mobilizing, influencing, and guiding of others toward desired goals.  This definition does not assume that the goals are shared or even explicit.  The word desire simply means that someone in the relationship, perhaps just the person in a leadership role, wants a particular outcome.

 

 

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.

 

 

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?

The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

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Close but no cigar!  :)

 

The definition of "leadership" has been here all along and yet with all the smoke and mirrors one can't see it here on the forum.

 

As providers of the program are we to:

 


  1. person
  2. Involved in a process
  3. Of influencing and developing a group of people
  4. In order to accomplish a purpose
  5. By means of supernatural power.

 

Really?  Good luck with that!

 

. . . some . . . think of leadership as a process.  This view of leadership, as a process, places an emphasis on social interaction and relationship.  This is the idea that leadership is a type of relationship, one that typically includes influencing others in a certain direction.  This leads to my current working definition of leadership: Leadership is a relationship that involves the mobilizing, influencing, and guiding of others toward desired goals.  This definition does not assume that the goals are shared or even explicit.  The word desire simply means that someone in the relationship, perhaps just the person in a leadership role, wants a particular outcome.

 

Management by adult objective. 

 

 

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do.

 

Management by delegation with a bit of persuasion. leverage, or even mild threats, whatever it takes to "motivate" the other person.

 

 

 

Quote

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?

The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

 

I don't know where this servant leadership quote comes from but it's not the premise of the servant leadership defined by Robert Greenleaf.  The only leadership is servant leadership because it's the only leadership that works.  

 

When politicians don't serve their constituents, they get replaced.  When parents don't take care of their children, the state takes them away.  When teachers don't insure the education of the children, they are replaced, or should be at least.  

 

When an authoritarian parent says, "My way or the highway".  Why do the children choose the highway?  Obviously the non-servant parent has lost focus on serving the needs of their child.  SM's can do this and the boys vote with their feet. 

 

This dynamic goes on all the time.  You don't take care of me, why do I need you?  I'm outta here!

 

And no matter how much you threaten, coerce, persuade, or whatever else one may have up their sleeve to punish, if I'm not going to be taken care of in the process, I'll just shut down because I know you may have the "power" to hurt me, but you don't have the power to resolve your needs and I can shut you down in a heartbeat.  I may be your servant, but if I don't do the work, it doesn't get done.  I hold the true power as the servant.

 

This is why I constantly tell my boys in leadership, "take care of your boys" because it's the only way one will have legitimate leadership.  As long as the boys feel they are being take care of, they'll hang around and help.  If not, they're gone.  So why should I help Johnny get his Eagle when he doesn't even know that I exist?  What they don't realize is that these potential helpers on the project if they all walk away, the leadership and project go right down the drain.  The workers/servants are holding all the true authority and power of leadership.

 

We see the dynamic all the time, but we never quite figure out how to master it and thus we go through life never quite mastering this leadership thingy.  Whadda ya mean, I have to be a servant to lead?  That sounds stupid!  I'm the boss, it's my way or the highway.  ..... and all the workers opt for the highway.

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