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RememberSchiff

Robert Gates new book: A Passion for Leadership

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I should have given Mr. Gates quote its context from Chapter 1 where Mr. Gates talks about the problems of bureaucracy (with examples). He states bureaucracies are everywhere, getting worse, and how a leader can change it. He is particularly concerned that as government and industry become more bureaucratic, more young smart people turn away from serving government and working for those companies.

 

IMO, his advice applies to changing a troop to scout-run, changing a summer camp away from being a merit badge factory, ...

 

Another quote that he cites from President John Adams to his son Thomas

 

"Public business my son, must always be done by somebody -- it will be done by somebody or other --If wise men decline it others will not: If honest men refuse it others will not."

 

So when we say (pick an organization) is too hard or too much hassle to change, then we allow the fools or crooks to win there. Which yes is true, but there is also wisdom in picking your battles for the time and resources available, e.g., maybe it is better to join another troop than try to change your current troop.

 

Thought provoking.

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But action of any kind must be done 1) for the greater good, 2) for the good of the masses, not the good of a few, 3) and with proper debate and discourse. If done otherwise then you are merely continuing the same rules used by those in a minority who would seek to keep down the majority.

 

Apply Gates' methodology of change to that of the elite rich, then as yourself the same question: Was it done fairly and for the good of the many, or just for the good of the few?

Edited by Krampus

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Narcissistic, charismatic "leaders" may get a few followers, but if they acquire proper leverage for power they can abuse it for the sake of a few.  Most despots have come this route.  Only the compassionate will work, (and lead) for the greater good.  This may have explained why an obscure nun working in the worst part of poverty, helping the least able, obtained world recognition.  People didn't need to follow her, but they came from all over the world to do so.

 

Bureaucracy need only cull the waste and corruption to naturally lead appropriately.  There's nothing magical about changing it, just reduce it's size.   However, no one is going to be the one responsible for killing the Golden Goose so nothing will change.

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I thought I would use this thread to ask a question:  Whereas I am fully in favor of the decision Gates made to allow Gay adults in I am a little confused.  If the BSA "membership" (whatever that word means) voted against Gay leaders, why did the Executive Board turn around and by vote agree to  Gate's recommendation?

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Unfortunately in this book, he makes no statements of his experiences as BSA president, but perhaps we can infer from his stated experiences as president of A&M University.

 

When interviewed for A&M, he made it clear he was not a maintenance guy but rather an agent of change to make the institution better while preserving core values and traditions. I suspect when he was interviewed for the position of BSA president, he stated the same to the Executive Committee and expected their support for his changes if they selected him. My guess anyway.

 

As democracies go, the BSA is not one of them but it is definitely a bureaucracy and Mr. Gates did change it.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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But action of any kind must be done 1) for the greater good, 2) for the good of the masses, not the good of a few, 3) and with proper debate and discourse. If done otherwise then you are merely continuing the same rules used by those in a minority who would seek to keep down the majority.

 

Apply Gates' methodology of change to that of the elite rich, then as yourself the same question: Was it done fairly and for the good of the many, or just for the good of the few?

action must be done for the correct thing to do not the good for the masses.  Sometimes the right thing to do is a bitter pill but it is still the right thing.  I can think of many times in history that the masses where wrong and the right thing to do was seen as something to be the good of a few.

 

I don't agree that the decisions are causiing great changes in membership.  I have seen boys that in the need for great help turned away by the people that should support them most.  We are here as leaders to help support the boys and help them on their journey to become fine young men.

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While it was to the point of pretty much a draw for and against, the reality was and is that going forward it was the right thing to do if we were to not get mired so deeply we would not get out. Financially it has made a difference for sure. We have had returning support from a number of businesses that had cut us off. I do not have the data, but I suspect that is the case nationally as well.

 

As far as the membership goes, that is still to be seen, but we are getting fewer waves locally now, and there were far fewer encounters during popcorn. With the younger generations moving into the helm, it would have happened anyway, but possibly too late.

 

We simply need to keep the politics at a minimum and try to focus on the boys and the basics of the program and let the religious and moral fights be fought elsewhere. As long as we adhere to Youth Protection and such, we should have little to fear, other than our own biases.

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If the bus ain't going where you need to be, it's time to get off the bus.  No big deal.  It's akin to if you don't want to follow a certain leader because they aren't taking care of you, then it's okay to find one that does.

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I don't agree that the decisions are causiing great changes in membership.  I have seen boys that in the need for great help turned away by the people that should support them most.  We are here as leaders to help support the boys and help them on their journey to become fine young men.

 

So you don't agree, yet the membership decline reported by BSA itself has INCREASED since 2013. It averaged 3-4% year on year normally. After the 2013 decision and last year's decision that number has more than DOUBLED.

 

You may not agree but the facts point to the contrary. There's no pent up demand by those supporting the ban to join scouts. There IS an increase in people leaving. Oddly enough it corresponds with BSA's membership changes. Coincidence? Not likely.

 

 

As far as the membership goes, that is still to be seen, but we are getting fewer waves locally now, and there were far fewer encounters during popcorn. With the younger generations moving into the helm, it would have happened anyway, but possibly too late.

 

 

So now the excuse is that it (membership decline increase) would have happened anyway? That's not what many here said. Many here said the removal of the ban would bring all those people who opposed scouts on that basis alone. It hasn't happened.

 

You don't increase membership when you tick off your largest bases of membership...which is what Gates did. Bringing it back to "leadership", Gates seems like change. He does not seem to think through its ramifications. He likes to stir the pot and that's not leadership.

Edited by Krampus

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I thought I would use this thread to ask a question:  Whereas I am fully in favor of the decision Gates made to allow Gay adults in I am a little confused.  If the BSA "membership" (whatever that word means) voted against Gay leaders, why did the Executive Board turn around and by vote agree to  Gate's recommendation?

 

Because that group of people support Gates.

 

It is a bit like the electoral college. The populace can vote for one candidate but the electoral college can elect another. That's exactly what happened.

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I thought I would use this thread to ask a question:  Whereas I am fully in favor of the decision Gates made to allow Gay adults in I am a little confused.  If the BSA "membership" (whatever that word means) voted against Gay leaders, why did the Executive Board turn around and by vote agree to  Gate's recommendation?

Hmmm, let$ think if there'$ a rea$on.

 

The "on record" reason boiled down to increasing adversarial action by the New York district attorney if we applied the membership standard to camp employees. A test case was in the works. Lose a state, or change your standards. Furthermore, national's legal team foresaw other states lining up legal action.

 

The awareness that, at every turn, concessions were given up grudgingly no doubt contributes to tepid enthusiasm that those with a permissive sexual ethic may have towards signing up their youth to our movement.

Edited by qwazse

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So you don't agree, yet the membership decline reported by BSA itself has INCREASED since 2013. It averaged 3-4% year on year normally. After the 2013 decision and last year's decision that number has more than DOUBLED.

 

You may not agree but the facts point to the contrary. There's no pent up demand by those supporting the ban to join scouts. There IS an increase in people leaving. Oddly enough it corresponds with BSA's membership changes. Coincidence? Not likely.

I think the evidence is pretty clear that the membership policy change did cause a short term drop in membership. I know locally, we lost a few COs with the first change, and a couple with the second (though also gained a couple COs with the second change). But the rule changes have definitely opened a bunch of doors that had been closed. Various schools that always said no to recruiting are now saying yes. Multiple businesses that used to say no to selling popcorn on their property are now saying yes. Not to mention multiple donors that are returning to the table.

 

As for the "pent up demand", I never thought we would get a big influx of new members the day after the decision. Part of the reason is most people aren't really paying attention. When the BSA was first considering the change, I was surprised how many parents in our pack had no idea those rules existed (and we had a few that said it they knew before joining, they wouldn't have). And there are still a bunch of parents that have no idea that the rules have changed. It took years for the BSA to become associated with anti-gay bigotry, and it will probably take years for it to change again. But at least now it can change.

 

If we can get rid of the "no atheists" rules, then we can go back to having the military and public schools being COs. That is a huge pool of potential COs that might bring in new scouts. It used to be that almost every public elementary school in my town had a pack and troop. Scouting was very visible in those schools. Virtually every military base had one or more units on it, again being very visible. Even here in Silicon Valley, most kids go to public school. Being shut out of the schools hurts our visibility a lot. Today, there are a lot of parents of scouting aged kids that almost never see a scout of any kind. Out of sight, our of mind. We need to change that, and getting rid of these membership rules is a step in that direction.

 

I don't think we can ever get back the "special relationship" that the BSA had with the government before it entered the culture wars (the BSA used to get benefits, privileges and access that no other youth group got - that is basically gone now), but I hope we can undo some of the damage that has been done.

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The black hole of politics sucks up everything, it has no concern for the moral, social or ethical stance of that which it affects, it truly does take the good with the bad.  But just like the stock market, after every major adjustment, it seems to continue, on a less potential level, but continue nonetheless.

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"Short term drop in demand"? 
 
Our historical losses have been 3-4% year on year membership losses since 1996 or so. Those are facts posted in this forum before, in detail, noting BSA records everyone can check.
 
Since 2013 the revised year on year loss average is 7-10% for 2013 and 2014. BSA won't release last year's (2015) revised number (as they have done every years since 1996). Those membership losses are MORE THAN DOUBLE those HIGH losses from 2013-14. One unofficial report I saw had last year's loss at nearly 14%!!!!
 
That's not a short term drop in demand. That's an acceleration of our losses from the last three years which are DOUBLE our AVERAGE losses!!
 
You cannot say this is short term until we have more data points in the future to see if these increases losses are sustained, go up or go down. But make no mistake, the policy change INCREASED our historic losses since 2013. Saying otherwise is just an attempt to re-write facts.

 

EDIT: Unit losses are also up.

Edited by Krampus

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