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John-in-KC

BSA: The POLARIS Method

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I did learn a new word on that page, “delayer”, meaning to reduce the number of layers. If anyone had said “delayer” to me before just now, I would have guessed that it meant a person or thing that causes a delay.

And I love the bullet-point where they say that one of the ways they are going to streamline things is by creating new jargon.  As opposed to the dozen or so other times they have introduced new jargon in the last 50 years or so. I can hardly wait.

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Wow..I read the web page on Scouting.org.  Looks a good deal like some cobbled together Lean presentation.  Wonder what BSA has paid for this expertise.  Not sure why it starts with Roundtables (FB) and ends up talking about employees (Scouting.org)

First the FB announcement was 5 paragraphs and literally said nothing

The link to Scouting.org 

So..we have the mission statement

The Polaris Method

Making the BSA more Effective, Efficient, and Empowered

 

Then we define the group(s) / key terms

  • Stakeholder: the end user; the one who needs or uses our service or products.

  • Value: determined from the point of view of the stakeholder. An activity that adds value transforms BSA service in a way that benefits the stakeholder.

  • Efficiency: the single most important focus of the Polaris Method.Any part of the process not adding value to the stakeholder’s experience, is inefficient. We are always looking for WASTE to reduce!

  • Empowerment: is key to sustaining The Polaris Method into the newly adapted culture of continuous improvement. Autonomy to make recommendations and changes drive this effort.

Then we go FULL consultant and drop in the elevator pitch (which as has been noted, not a lot of elevators out in the woods)...honestly would have been more entertaining if they had called it the cracker barrel pitch or something

The Polaris Method Elevator Pitch:

The Polaris Method is a way of thinking and operating designed for efficiency, effectiveness, and empowerment. The Polaris Method is rooted in Change Management and Lean Management blended together with a Scouting twist for the BSA. 

Lastly we get some of the neat stuff Polaris will yield, but then I get confused as it refers to employees??

  • high employee trust, engagement, and satisfaction at the workplace
  • employee mindset of proactively seeking positive and gainful improvements in all areas of work and customer service by modifying current standard operating procedures
  • a streamlined approach to project implementations with consistent clarity, alignment, and collaboration
  • ability to align the entire team to focus on bottom line goals and being okay letting go of non-high priority items, projects, properties, events, etc.
  • new language and terminology that will make issues feel more solvable and less daunting

 

Basically, looks like the DE's and professionals will be tied up over the next 18 - 24 months implementing POLARIS and that will be why they cannot be at meeting or helping units

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1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

I did learn a new word on that page, “delayer”, meaning to reduce the number of layers. If anyone had said “delayer” to me before just now, I would have guessed that it meant a person or thing that causes a delay.

Yes, I wonder why they did not use "stripper" meaning to reduce or strip layers?

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It's interesting that this program is rolling out now in the Western Region.  If National has reason to believe the LDS Exodus will be large they may be trying to prevent a professional scouter Exodus while figuring out how to protect scouting in the other WR states.  The loss of LDS is not only membership but FOS stream.  If efficiency is the goal, is the National, Regional, Council model under review?

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Can anyone explain to me what this actually is?  I don't mean what they think the results will be, I mean what is actually going to happen differently in order to try to reach those results.  And who is going to be involved?  Are unit Scouters going to be involved, and if so, how?  And you can assume I know nothing about "Lean Management," because I don't.  Is it anything more than trying to get the work done with the least possible number of people?

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We have stuff like this at work come out periodically.  In my experience, these initiatives are about influencing how people do their work.  They are not the goal in itself.  More specifically, I expect that this is not about the BSA spending 18 months becoming an efficient organization or about reorganizing staff.  It is about employees and volunteers taking actions that are focused on the qualities Polaris describes.

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15 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Can anyone explain to me what this actually is?  

If I thought they were going to simplify unit JTE to “how many unit camp outs did you do, how many service projects did you do?” (Everything else being auto captured by ScoutNet)

if I thought the G2SS would be made less restrictive, and the activities chart opened up, rather than continually closed down

if I thought FOS would become “this is how we turn on the lights at the council office, and pay for the ongoing maintenance at our camps”

 

i might buy it  

 

i don’t know what this actually is, besides buzzword bingo.  BSA needs an effective financial management system which tells the Nation, Coucil by Council where the dollars came from and where they went to  BSA needs an effective National set of committees which each openly and transparently lay out why things are as they are, and what proposals are in the pipeline  

But Irving cannot spell the word transparent  

 

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23 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

Can anyone explain to me what this actually is? 

They can mean anything you'd like them to mean.  My experience with the buzzwords:

Lean: using your front line people to identify the bloat and bureaucratic processes getting in the way of productivity, then eliminating/redesigning those processes.

CM: Usually implemented after somebody blows something up.  Results are committees reviewing every possible change for impact and reviewing plans, rollback plans, rollforwardafterrollback plans, etc.  In short, the opposite of Lean.

CI: Measure->Analyze->Plan->Change repeat.  Assumes what you are measuring actually matters, your analysis isn't biased or gamed by interested parties, and the plan isn't sabotaged by the people most likely to have their fiefdom impacted by the Change.

I might be jaded.

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I think my personal answer to all this is, if National sends me a memo or issues a new Troop Committee Guidebook explaining what I, as a troop committee member and advancement chair, am supposed to differently, I will read it and decide what to do.  (Meaning, either stay and follow the new protocols, or not stay.)  If on the other hand it doesn't affect my position, I am not going to worry about it.

This is one of the main reasons I have never gotten involved at the district level, there is less "insulation" from all the "great ideas" and fads coming out of National.  The other main reason is the politics at the district and higher levels.  

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1 hour ago, John-in-KC said:

i don’t know what this actually is, besides buzzword bingo.  

Best part of a conference call

Image result for buzzword bingo

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1 hour ago, John-in-KC said:

If I thought they were going to simplify unit JTE to “how many unit camp outs did you do, how many service projects did you do?” (Everything else being auto captured by ScoutNet)

if I thought the G2SS would be made less restrictive, and the activities chart opened up, rather than continually closed down

if I thought FOS would become “this is how we turn on the lights at the council office, and pay for the ongoing maintenance at our camps”

I guess that raises the question, does any of this "method" involve directly asking unit Scouters what would allow us to more effectively deliver the program to the Scouts?  And actually listening to the answers?  Or is it just going to be a buch of guys with gold and silver shoulder loops talking to each other?  (No offense to those here who wear gold or silver loops.)

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28 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Best part of a conference call

I don't know the "buzzword" meaning of most of those.   As I have said before, in my profession most of the "buzzwords" are from the 16th or 17th century.  :D

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14 minutes ago, NJCubScouter said:

I guess that raises the question, does any of this "method" involve directly asking unit Scouters what would allow us to more effectively deliver the program to the Scouts?  And actually listening to the answers?  Or is it just going to be a buch of guys with gold and silver shoulder loops talking to each other?  (No offense to those here who wear gold or silver loops.)

My guess is it means fewer low-level professionals with the expectation that district and council volunteers will pick up the slack.

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