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Jameson76

BSA National and Change Management

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Change is inevitable and to say that BSA National has not handled the recent changes and no doubt upcoming changes in a professional and seamless manner, well, that would be kind.  I saw an article that called out 4 common change management mistakes leaders make.  Seems like BSA managed to hit all the key ones.  Hopefully over the next 18 - 24 months and as they move to the girls joining in 2019 the messaging and details will maybe get better

1. They underestimate resistance

2. They neglect to define the ‘why’

3. They underperform at change sponsorship

4. They believe and behave like the project ends at go-live

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The problem is National has no mechanism for accountability. As far as they are concerned, they might be performing above their goals.

Volunteers are dragged along for the ride.

Barry

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41 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

I hadn't heard of "change management" before.  Is that really a thing?

Absolutely.  In corporate world it is a big thing as new organizations are laid out, downsizing, acquisitions, etc are rolled out.

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1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

I hadn't heard of "change management" before.  Is that really a thing?

Sure is. How an organization rolls out changes. 

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9 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

I hadn't heard of "change management" before.  Is that really a thing?

You're lucky to be a lawyer.

1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

1. They underestimate resistance

2. They neglect to define the ‘why’

3. They underperform at change sponsorship

4. They believe and behave like the project ends at go-live

For National, I believe these aren't so much mistakes as pitfalls everyone wants to avoid. BSA's membership change is something of a tar baby, tackling one of these points will only make other things worse. They can't address the resistance without hinting at how prevalent it is. The real reason why (decreasing membership) can obviously never be discussed. Saying "because girls want a more challenging outdoor program" draws the ire of GSA and their minions. Let's face it, they're more popular than BSA (probably because of the cookies). Who could champion the change that volunteers respect?

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1 hour ago, Saltface said:

You're lucky to be a lawyer.

For National, I believe these aren't so much mistakes as pitfalls everyone wants to avoid. BSA's membership change is something of a tar baby, tackling one of these points will only make other things worse. They can't address the resistance without hinting at how prevalent it is.

I have been watching National bailing water for over 25 years. I believe they never looked at declining numbers all that seriously because they believed the other program changes they implemented would out perform their program problems. I think they still believe that. Adding girls will save them.

Barry

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Quite simply, these membership changes are motivated by financial desperation from shrinking enrollment, made more urgent by the LDS exit. It is insulting for BSA National to pretend otherwise. Honest communication is a starting point for effective change management, but these folks approach it more like a con game. Their deceptions are in plain view, and I find it all quite disgusting.

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9 hours ago, gblotter said:

Quite simply, these membership changes are motivated by financial desperation from shrinking enrollment, made more urgent by the LDS exit. It is insulting for BSA National to pretend otherwise. Honest communication is a starting point for effective change management, but these folks approach it more like a con game. Their deceptions are in plain view, and I find it all quite disgusting.

I am in favor of coed scouting. I am not financially desperate. Nor does the presence or absence of LDS give me any sense of urgency. My opinion on he matter has been brought on by encounters with international scouts, beginning with the king of Sweden in 1981. Other scouters in my district were influenced similarly, and as they replaced the old guard in the volunteer leadership structure.

GS/USA's polarization on certain issues did not help matters.

BSA's inability to be plain spoken on the matter is a vice of modern management that counts media hits. It is disgusting. But, make no mistake, after multiple wholesome experiences with men and women from co-Ed movements, the various "stay in your own lane" arguments sound quite hollow.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, qwazse said:

BSA's inability to be plain spoken on the matter is a vice of modern management that counts media hits. It is disgusting.

I'm split on BSA's performance for this change management, but I think they did fine.  It was gutsy and right to do it quick.  Co-ed is hardly a cutting edge idea.  But once decided, it was best to do fast and get as much of the pain and anger in the past.  

IMHO, the process of announcing the decision had no path smoother than it was done.  We all know this is also a membership and money issue.  But it is also a desire to be more current and serve all the kids of a family instead of just some. 

If there was somewhere BSA could have done better, they could have been more open on just how bad the finances and membership numbers are right now.  This had to be done.  It's just hard to fault them for wanting to focus on the positive reasons for the change. 

Edited by fred johnson

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41 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

If there was somewhere BSA could have done better, they could have been more open on just how bad the finances and membership numbers are right now.  This had to be done.  It's just hard to fault them for wanting to focus on the positive reasons for the change. 

As someone who works in public relations, transparency is a double-edged sword for an organization or institution. It’s *always* the preferred method to build trust and confidence, especially when you have a volunteer-based movement. We want our trusted institutions to be as open as possible.

However, there are times when openness has to be balanced against the greater goals. Under certain circumstances, it could hurt the organization by creating certain storylines that focus too much on the negative aspects of a situation and overwhelm the story we’re trying to tell.

National already releases its membership and financial data annually. I’ve included links below. You can get similar information from your individual councils. I’m not sure what else is desired.

It’s out there. We just have to do a little digging and be OK with some lag time. 

- Annual reports and financial statements: https://www.scoutingnewsroom.org/about-the-bsa/annual-reports/

- IRS Form 990s: Available with free registration at https://www.guidestar.org.

 

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On 7/6/2018 at 9:14 PM, Eagledad said:

I have been watching National bailing water for over 25 years. I believe they never looked at declining numbers all that seriously because they believed the other program changes they implemented would out perform their program problems. I think they still believe that. Adding girls will save them.

Barry

Nail on the head. National never really freaked out about membership that seriously because they always had the LDS safety net. 

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By the way, I do understand that "change management" is the management of "change", I just never saw or heard it as a phrase before.  It seems kind of unnecessary to me, as "management" includes the management of "change."  But whatever.  My profession is fairly resistant to new business-management buzzwords, we prefer to use buzzwords that were invented in England 400 or 500 years ago.  :)

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Posted (edited)

I think you hit on the difference there, NJ. Managing change isn't so much a focus of a profession (lawyer, astronaut, shoemaker, etc) per-se, but a company i.e. BSA.

Edited by Chadamus
Spelling error

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20 hours ago, NJCubScouter said:

By the way, I do understand that "change management" is the management of "change", I just never saw or heard it as a phrase before.  It seems kind of unnecessary to me, as "management" includes the management of "change."  But whatever.  My profession is fairly resistant to new business-management buzzwords, we prefer to use buzzwords that were invented in England 400 or 500 years ago.  :)

If you think of the politicians as the “corporation” and new laws as the “change” I do believe change management applies.  If politicians do not utilize change management principals they will run into major issues after passing laws.  (Note that I would never equate lasers with politicians.) 😀

CAP (change acceleration process) has some decent techniques.  

I think the lack of trust (probably most earned) with Nationals is causing much of the problem.  In addition, I don’t see National’s recognizing the lack of quality volunteers as a major issue and designing this change with that in mind.

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