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Scouts BSA Up 1.2% Youth Members, up 7.1% Units

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@carebear3895  the communication flow or lack there of has always amazed me. The fact the professionals do not (or claim to not know) about things before the volunteers is amazing.  The last fiasco on the rate increase where the councils feigned ignorance was ridiculous.   I was told that all the SEs have a weekly conference call with national and they didn't know anything until the press released it is either incompetence or dishonest.    

Or if this is how national runs the organization, Mr. mosby has lots of work to do.

JMHO.

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3 hours ago, PACAN said:

@carebear3895  the communication flow or lack there of has always amazed me. The fact the professionals do not (or claim to not know) about things before the volunteers is amazing.  The last fiasco on the rate increase where the councils feigned ignorance was ridiculous.   I was told that all the SEs have a weekly conference call with national and they didn't know anything until the press released it is either incompetence or dishonest.    

Or if this is how national runs the organization, Mr. mosby has lots of work to do. 

JMHO.

From discussions with pros, friends and experience, it is mixed.  Sometimes the SE knows but doesn't tell the subordinates.The DEs and other underlings find out from volunteers who get it from online sources. I know I have upset my SE twice now releasing info on the district webpage has been posted here or on FB, before the council has released anything.

But on occasion, SE are surprised too. There was one instance where something got leaked by someone at National and it made the news. I forgot what it was, but it was allover the news. It was being posted here and on FB before SE's were informed. I was told the al SEs had a post 5PM Central time zone emergency conference call, and the DEs got one as soon as it was done

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On 1/17/2020 at 4:59 AM, JoeBob said:

If I'm 'waiting with baited breath', does that mean that I have to put worms in my mouth?  Do Red Wrigglers taste better than Night Crawlers?

Try Gummy Worms.  😃

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It is crazy how opaque both councils are and national. They know how many LDS units and Scouts they had. They could easily release for a few years adjusted and unadjusted numbers so that we could know the LDS impact and the girl impact. They are so afraid, they try to keep everyone in the dark. I work for a large fortune 50 multinational. It is night and day about transparency. For example, our council is on a conditional charter. What were the issues? What is the plan? They are not saying anything beyond they need more funds and more scouts. The Scout executive decided to “pursue other interests”. That info was shared more than a month after he began perusing the other interests. At work, they would have an all hands at the moment a press release would be out. We would then get a copy of the action plan and scorecard on how we need to improve. 

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12 hours ago, mrjohns2 said:

It is crazy how opaque both councils are and national. They know how many LDS units and Scouts they had. They could easily release for a few years adjusted and unadjusted numbers so that we could know the LDS impact and the girl impact. They are so afraid, they try to keep everyone in the dark. I work for a large fortune 50 multinational. It is night and day about transparency. For example, our council is on a conditional charter. What were the issues? What is the plan? They are not saying anything beyond they need more funds and more scouts. The Scout executive decided to “pursue other interests”. That info was shared more than a month after he began perusing the other interests. At work, they would have an all hands at the moment a press release would be out. We would then get a copy of the action plan and scorecard on how we need to improve. 

Personally, I think you are over-estimating their ability to actually pull together credible data, but that might be my cynicism shining through.

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On 1/18/2020 at 5:05 PM, PACAN said:

@carebear3895  the communication flow or lack there of has always amazed me. The fact the professionals do not (or claim to not know) about things before the volunteers is amazing.  The last fiasco on the rate increase where the councils feigned ignorance was ridiculous.   I was told that all the SEs have a weekly conference call with national and they didn't know anything until the press released it is either incompetence or dishonest.    

Or if this is how national runs the organization, Mr. mosby has lots of work to do.

JMHO.

The internet is really good at distributing information to people who want it quickly, whereas staff meetings are going to be better at making sure that everyone gets the information, but it'll take more time. So unless every SE has their staff meeting simultaneously, what happens is that one SE informs his staff, who then share the info, and then that gets picked up by all volunteers everywhere, ahead of the rest of the other councils. I don't know how to get ahead of such a phenomenon without greatly limiting the flow of information to councils.

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The communications dysfunction is a symptom of the overall organizational dysfunction. Most organizations today take communications seriously and can very proactively and quickly disseminate information throughout the ranks. I'm sure part of the problem with us is due to the volunteer nature of so many roles but in reality this is something that leadership in a functional organization would account for and figure out a way to manage. I don't know that Mosby is going to have the most innovative solutions to problems like these but at least he seems to have some background in change management. My fear is that he is going to be focused pretty exclusively on high level issues that really won't result in much improvement for people working at the unit level, or at least not for some time, and that things could get even bumpier for awhile. It is concerning that despite his being weeks on the job, we have yet to have any kind of universal direct message from him other than his announcement. It feels like units aren't even on the radar. 

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There are a lot of variables in the openess issue IMHO. Sometimes the pro's know the issue will be contentious and they don't want to deal with it until they absolutely have too. I put the Philmont mortgage in that category. Selling a council camp would be another. While a volunteer council committee is suppose to approve these decisions, in reality most committees are "yes men"

Another reason for lack of openess is to prevent people from finding out how screwed up things really are. And sometimes that lack of openess applies to the DEs. When I interviewed and looked at information at my job interview and first planning conference, a lot of things that another council did when I interviewed with them didn't happen. It was several months into the job that I found out the full extent of how screwed up the council was.

Sometimes the lack of openess is because the professional does not have the capability to change things directly. They work behind the scenes to correct matters to the extent possible so that those parts of the movement that are working, that are making a difference, do not get damaged by the revelation of issues.

Sometimes the lack of openess is the result of prior experience. I know one SE who as a DFS  with  2 FDs and 12 DEsunder him that encountered a problem, revealed it, and fixed it. His reward: "promotion" to SE of a council of 1 FD and 4 DEs.

 

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24 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sometimes the lack of openess is the result of prior experience. I know one SE who as a DFS  with  2 FDs and 12 DEsunder him that encountered a problem, revealed it, and fixed it. His reward: "promotion" to SE of a council of 1 FD and 4 DEs.

"No good deed goes unpunished"....wow!

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On 1/18/2020 at 5:05 PM, PACAN said:

@carebear3895  the communication flow or lack there of has always amazed me. The fact the professionals do not (or claim to not know) about things before the volunteers is amazing.  The last fiasco on the rate increase where the councils feigned ignorance was ridiculous.   I was told that all the SEs have a weekly conference call with national and they didn't know anything until the press released it is either incompetence or dishonest.    

Or if this is how national runs the organization, Mr. mosby has lots of work to do.

JMHO.

I am in a large council and there are several "marketing" folks, a Deputy SE, etc etc.  As with you I am amazed at the lack of ACTUAL communications as opposed to the FLUFF and or FEEL GOOD communications.  Sure they send out MB colleges, Scout days at the sports, etc etc, but real news, you might need.... nope.  Over the last several months I have asked questions of our council about various things and actions taken by National that I have seen on other sources (that interwebs is amazing, no real secrets), and then I get confirmation or there is a message to Scouters.

Many times I get the feeling that the attitude is "We will tell you what we feel you need to know when we feel you need to know...if you in fact are deemed worthy to know".  Now that may have worked 20 years ago, but now you need to be out in front of issues and communications.  Trying to control the narrative of your small fiefdom that is part of the much larger empire does not work.

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16 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Many times I get the feeling that the attitude is "We will tell you what we feel you need to know when we feel you need to know...if you in fact are deemed worthy to know".  Now that may have worked 20 years ago, but now you need to be out in front of issues and communications.  Trying to control the narrative of your small fiefdom that is part of the much larger empire does not work.

E-yeah,,,    ya get the feelin' , do ya? 

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My council has taken to having monthly "office hours" where folks can attend and ask questions.  It's a 2 hour block, that unfortunately is on a weeknight evening that is a conflict for their weekly unit meeting night.  Problem #1.  It has a call-in conference number for those that can not attend in person.  Problem #2 in that a lot of time is wasted with people asking for the question (and/or the answer) to get repeated, apologizing for talking over each other, etc.  The biggest problem though, is that one question can easily eat up 30 minutes, if there are several people that want to comment on it.  

I applaud that at least there is a modicum of effort.  However, I feel that this method is to avoid putting things in writing, and it creates other potential issue as the information provided gets altered and twisted when relayed from one attendee to a non-attendee, and that non-attendee relays to another, etc.

I would rather just a forum for people to ask questions, and then expect twice a month a single, compiled list of questions with answers would get distributed in writing.   

If I am a consumer that is shopping at my local market for a bottle of Coca-Cola, I can reasonably conclude that I don't have an avenue to ask a question to the CEO of Coca-Cola and get an answer. If I am the sales representative that is employed by Coca-Cola, and I have to go out to the field to try and get more retailers to carry our products, I should have an expectation that I may need answers to be prepared for what that consumer I run into in the market may ask.  For the most part, I liken communication that comes from Council or National is provided to the volunteer adult is too often handled as though I am that individual buying a bottle of Coke, and I'm not treated like I am the Coca-Cola employee.  That is 100% a problem.  

 

I also believe that this policy that BSA has had up to now that they only higher from within is very outdated.  Heck, if us "inferior" people out here in the volunteer space can figure out the Scouting program, why do we feel that only those who started at the bottom rung of the professional ladder are worthy of loftier positions? I'd rather they higher the most qualified individual, and that person may have received those qualifications from outside the BSA.  They can learn the mechanics of the Scouting program on the fly as so many out here do.  

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Obfuscation starts at the top. Do you all realize that this decade's membership stats are buried in an annual report ... in .pdf format?

It would be no trouble to list those stats in a single page in a plain text table by year -- current year on top row. Date and auditor's reference in the header. If I were in congress, I would move to reject any report that did not have that on page 1 of any Title 36 organization. For a model, consider the US Census' opening page.

Just saying, for any of you whose SE's have fluff as a top priority, a servant is no greater than their master.

 

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It seems like everyone who has posted since mine on Saturday have validated the post and then some.  

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