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$7,700,000,000,000 Leadership Skills Bailout

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I may be off base here...


I guess I am old school. I think the traditional Outdoor skills/boy-led Patrol develops leadership...up to a point. It is more like (what I have read) of how the Israeli infantry used to develop leaders...you worked your way up from corporal to sergeant to officers if you were good enough. Your men knew "you could do it" like them or used to at one time. If a guy washed out at least you had some really good non-coms.


Seems like the modern BSA models itself off the traditional British/US officer-gentlemen model...a lot of training and schooling to develop leadership skills. Sometimes works...sometimes doesn't.


Patrol leading will develop leadership skills but not all to the same level. Nothing wrong with that. I would be happy if some boys ended up as darned fine Patrol Quartermasters. I think the emphasis on the "ultimate" Eagle rank kinda skews some thinking.

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Good leadership? Look behind you and see who's following? No one? Might be a good time to evaluate what you think leadership is. :)


If one stands back and quietly watches a group of scouts, one can readily tell the real leaders in the group. It usually has nothing to do with the rank on their pocket or the POR on their sleeve.



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OldGreyEagle writes:


Green Bar Bill has such a program in the pages Kudu maintains.


Green Bar Bill's "Patrol Leader Training" taught the best natural leader in each Patrol how to lead his Scouts into the woods without adult supervision. Green Bar Bill called such physical leadership the "Real" Patrol Method.


Leadership skills enthusiasts took Real Patrol Leader Training away from the Boy Scouts and replaced it with "Junior Leader Training," which presumes to teach every boy in the Troop how to "understand" leadership (in the form of success formulas).


In other words leadership skills experts took the substance (that which could be measured, in this case physical distance) out of the Patrol Method.


Now Bloomberg reports that leadership skills experts removed $7.7 trillion dollars of substance from the economy.


There must have been "old school" executives who objected to these "state-of-the-art techniques."


Presumably prior to 2008 they were silenced by the kind of personal attacks that the father of modern Wood Badge used against Green Bar Bill, and which leadership skills enthusiasts continue to use to this day (in this very thread).


But by now some of these "old school" executives must have written pop business books about this experience. I'm looking for that: terminology that describes the psychology of replacing substance with "innovation," and how that process can be reversed (i.e. the International Olympic Committee).


Yours at 300 feet,



(This message has been edited by kudu)

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"Now Bloomberg reports that leadership skills experts removed $7.7 trillion dollars of substance from the economy."


I'm a pretty savvy internet searcher and try as I might, I can't find a Bloomberg article that says anything about leadership skills experts and the $7.7T bailout. Articles about the bailout, yes. About leadership skills experts, no. Could you help your fellow scouters out here and post a link so we can understand what Bloomberg report you are talking about?

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How 'bout this:


We teach our kids arithmetic and math. As they get older, we (attempt!) to teach them more advanced , complicated math. We don't expect all of them to be mathematicians.

We teach them all how to run. In fact, we insist that they do PE, and run and tumble and play touch football and practice shuttle ball and such. We don't expect them to all become Jesse Owens or Shaq .

We teach our kids history in the hope that they will learn the lessons there, so as not to make the same mistakes their grandparents made. And We don't expect them to remember everything, and they don't.

We teach them science . Chemistry, electricity, magnatism, physics, and yet we aren't surprised when only a few of them become NASA engineers or build bridges to make our travel easier or build solar power plants to charge our Prius'.

Somewhere along the way, some of our kids become aware that they enjoy and have a "talent" for ,what? fixing plumbing? Farming? Truckdriving? And if they are very fortunate, they find their "passion" early rather than later.


Why then should we not teach them HOW to be a leader, since we all know what an effective leader is like? The observations and science has been done and recorded. Should we be surprised to find that leadership is also an innate talent, not always evident in all people? I think it is called the "Peter Priciple". Folks rise, in a social hierarchy, to their level of incompetance. Or they recognize where they are most effective, and do not attempt to be promoted further. I do know we have alot of BOTH out of work competant folks, AND alot of really questionable folks in postions of responsibility. 'Nuff said.

But along with the techniques and skills of effective leadership, there needs to be taught (and exampled) WHAT to lead , toward what cause? or reason?


In our case, we need to teach leadership by EXAMPLE, by INSTRUCTION and then GIVE'M a chance.

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Let me try this again. In the original post you said, "Has anyone ever written (for those of us unfamiliar with "leadership skills" jargon), a skeptical analysis of Leadership Development theory that links concepts like "innovation," "thinking outside the box," and group development theory with magical thinking and 7.7 trillion dollar bailouts?" Then you referenced an article by Bloomberg. I'm just trying to figure out what your point is and would like to see the article that drives your comments about leadership skill training leading to $7T bailouts. You posted this under the Wood Badge section, so I assume you are taking yet another shot at WB and somehow trying to tie it to government bailouts. Could you be a little less vague and cryptic?

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I wish when the 21st Century Course came along, it had been called anything but Wood Badge.

I've been around WB for a very long time.

I've been around Scouts and Scouting for a very long time.


Back when I first took WB in England at you know where. In the early 1970'S.

English Scouting was doing its best to make the Advanced Party Report work. There were and had been a lot of changes, the uniform changed, the wording of the promise and law changed, some things and group that once were, were no longer.

But at the unit level things seemed to be very slow to change.

Most Troops were led by a very small group of men who a lot of the time had a leader that seemed to have been around for ever.

There was a Group Committee, but the Committee had no say in how the Troop was run, what it did, how the Scouts did stuff, advanced or any of that good stuff.

When it came to the Troop the Scout Leader was king.

When I first became a Scout Leader, I was it! I was all alone. Over time I did manage to get some help, but in my eleven years as SL our Leadership Team never had more than six people in it. Even with six we were more often than not seen as being a Troop with a lot of adults, most Troops in the area ran with two maybe three adults.


Reports come and go, things do change.

Back when I was SL in the UK parents were seen as a necessary nuisances.

Parents were not made feel welcome and most parents were happy to unload their sons and trust that everything would be fine and dandy.

A good many of the Scouts in the Troop I led had to take two different buses to get to the Troop meetings and parents were happy to allow a young Lad of 11 or 12 to make that trip alone or with a pal.

We did invite and allow parents to visit camp on the Spring Bank Holiday Camp, but other than that and the annual Christmas /awards party we never seen hide nor hair of a parent.

The last long term strategic plan I read from the BSA,not the one we have in place now, I think the one before? Talked about recruiting one million more new volunteers.

I thought this was a very tall order.

But then I visited our Council Summer camp.

The number of Troops that had almost as many adults as Scouts in camp was mind blowing.

Parents today are not as willing as parents used to be to allow their son to go away and do stuff, unless they are under the watchful eye of a parent.

Putting the minimum numbers aside.

It takes a small army of adults to be involved to run a Pack.

Tigers and partners?

Den Leaders and Assistant Den Leaders.

Whatever the Den Leader Coach is called to day a Training something or another? (I'll think of it!)

A Cubmaster and a Assistant Cubmaster.

Then of course there is the Pack Committee.

I haven't done a count but I'm thinking the number is over 20?

The skill level of a new Den Leader is most times not that high.

Sure Troops don't have as many adults as Packs seem to have, but the Troops I saw at camp had as many as 24 Dads in camp.


Maybe with all these adults around someone who is trained to lead them isn't such a bad idea?

Just maybe?


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My post is a request for information:


Does anyone know of a skeptical analysis of Leadership Development theory that links concepts like "innovation," "thinking outside the box," and "group development" theory with magical thinking and the recent 7.7 trillion dollar bailout?


Apparently the answer is "No."





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"Does anyone know of a skeptical analysis of Leadership Development theory that links concepts like "innovation," "thinking outside the box," and "group development" theory with magical thinking and the recent 7.7 trillion dollar bailout?"


Well, of course not.


The bailout has ZILCH to do with those concepts. It had more to do with poor economic ideas and political thinking.


Also, what IS "leadership development theory"??? Does it exist or are you just making it up?


There are various concepts about leadership development. Some are complementary, some are not. There is no one end all be all in leadership development thinking.



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Until BSA figures out that teaching leadership with management skills isn't going to work, no matter how much money one throws at it, it ain't gonna work!


Every dictionary I look up, leadership is not synonymous with management and vice versa. Teaching management skills does not produce leaders, it produces managers.


Leaders lead people, managers complete tasks. EDGE teaches people the skill of managing a teaching skill. It has nothing to do with leadership. What leadership skill does a PL have if he manages to get his patrol set up for camping if all he does is push and cajole? Pushing is not leadership.


Until BSA defines a clear distinction between the two, and focuses on both, the best we can expect is good managers, but no real leaders. Post-1972 publications shows the programmatic switch from leadership development to management development with out a name change, thus the discussion.



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emb021 writes:


Also, what IS "leadership development theory"??? Does it exist or are you just making it up?


In Scouting, Leadership Development is the replacement of Scoutcraft with Success Formulas.


"Success" is defined as the 1972-80 national disaster following the introduction of Leadership Development as a "Method of Scouting," when BSA membership declined nationwide by 34% (a loss of 2.2 million members)!


emb021 writes:


There are various concepts about leadership development. Some are complementary, some are not.


I'm looking for the ones that are not. :)


Specifically the ones that show the relationship between "innovation" and our 7.7 trillion dollar gambling debt, and CEO worship as magical thinking.


Some members were very resistant to the idea of changing the focus of Wood Badge from training leaders in Scoutcraft to leadership skills. Among them was Bill Hillcourt, who had been the first United States Wood Badge Course Director in 1948. Larson later reported, "He fought us all the way... He had a vested interest in what had been and resisted every change. I just told him to settle down, everything was going to be all right."





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The guilty dog barks the loudest.


You can't rack up 7.7 trillion dollars in gambling debts (or drive 2.2 million Boy Scouts out of the BSA) without bashing skeptics who reject "innovation" as a moral absolute.

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