Us vs. them?

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Sam Wallis
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Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:22 pm

I see a lot of if nationa did, why did national why doesnt national, and a bit of if groups did, groups should.... is it normal to have a conflict between head office and the field? I have even seen it in years gone by, when I registered my son in Beavers I was surprised at the registration fee, the explanation was "the group gets none of that, it all goes to national" no mention was given that the money provides all groups with insurance, etc.

I see this same behavior in my work, and heard the exact same registration fee explanation with girl guides, but is there a cure for it?

Is this the sort of thing that one should expect from a group that spans this huge country of ours but has an office in one city?

Do all the head office higher ups work in groups? should they? in a group, the treasurer for example may be great with money but not good with kids. saying (s)he must be a group leader is counter productive to both the adult, the group and the youth.
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

bcbagheera
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by bcbagheera » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:49 pm

The only way I can see around this is for a TWO way dialog to occur. Something that happens far to little in my experience.

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:15 am

is there a direction you see dialog lacking in? is it because, as I have seen sugested elsewhere, the way we comunicate?

from a asistant leader point of view, I was told talk to my section head, who will talk to the group comissioner, who will talk to area, who talks to council, who talks to national. to me, if its a national idea, thats 4 steps too many, 4 people who can drop the ball, put their own spin on the idea or question, weather conciously or not.

in several cases downward comunication happens the same way, which is equaly wrong.
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Angus Bickerton
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Angus Bickerton » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:50 pm

Sam, my reaction to your question is to not follow the military chain of command that you outline, at least not strictly. You need to :

1. Get involved with your Group Committee. GC meetings are open to all scouters, and all parents of registered youth. Go to these meetings and find out what the other sections in your group are doing, so that you can link with them and cooperate, and suggest ideas, brainstorm, and plan for the future. Having parents there is a bonus, as they start to get a picture of what goes into planning scouting in their community.

2. Go to your Area's monthly Scouter's Club, Beaver Pond, etc. Spend time with other scouters, volunteer to be a DAC of something (there is almost always a vacancy), and share. Some of the best times I had in scouting was when no kids were around, and I was sharing with other leaders. At your Area stuff is where a lot of initiatives can begin.

3. Do advanced training and other scouter-focused workshops. This allows you to have discussions with senior scouters in your Council. I had lunch with my Council Commissioner during my Wood Badge II Colony. I hope I get similar opportunities when I do Wood Badge II in Pack, Troop, etc., as my kids advance through scouting. Or become a trainer or a service scouter, as they often get the chance to speak directly with CCs and ACs.

4. Go to your Area and Council AGMs, even if you are not a delegate. If the National AGM is in your area, go, again, even if you are not a delegate. You are allowed to go as a member of Scouts Canada, you just can't vote on resolutions unless you have been voted by your Council as a delegate.

5. Send Steve Kent, John Petiti, the Board, etc. e-mails. Sometimes they answer them, especially if they are thoughtful and considerate.
Angus Bickerton
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Sam Wallis
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:57 pm

Angus, all good advise. I dont ask strictly for myself, as I havent had any dealings with anyone from national other than on facebook. I do see from facebook a trend of some conflict between the two groups, which I dont believe should be there.

Personaly, most of the ideas you sugest I cant do, as I lack time (full time job, three kids all involved in non scouting things) that need attention also.

I do agree that the comuniction chain that I described is silly. I doubt I would ever atempt to folow that if I had an idea or question that I thought needed to get to Steve Kents door. While I am only an assistant cub leader (still fending off the idea of being section head) I am used to in my job going to whoever I need to in order to get things done. I dont have anything I need resolved but I think there are some who do.
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

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Scouter Richie
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Scouter Richie » Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:03 am

Sam you bring up a good question. Many organizations have conflicts between management and front line but we should work to remove them. The best way to do this is to make everyone feel like they are part of the national team so that it is not 'Us vs Them' but rather 'We are Them and have the power to make the change we want'.

The chain of command has its place for managing responsibilities but not for passing information. We need to make it easier to find out who to contact about a particular item. I know that there are a number of committees at the national and council levels that I have heard mentioned while reading AGM reports. I would like to see list of the committees, description and a contact address. It would also be great if they had a blog so that we can receive updates about what they are working on. This would provide direct communication from the committee to members and a contact address for passing communication back up.
Sam Wallis wrote:While I am only an assistant cub leader
You are not only an assistant leader, you are a full leader of Scouts Canada.
Personally wherever possible I don't refer to leaders as heads and assistants. They are all equals on the team but one is responsible for ensuring everything get done by someone (not necessarily themselves).
YIS
Richie
Deputy Council Youth Commissioner - Youth Training & Special Events
Saskatchewan Council

Sam Wallis
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:49 am

Richie, thats true. I supose its sort of an inside joke in my pack since our Akela resigned and we dont have a replacement as yet.
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:51 am

it would help if somewhere there was a list of all the positions at national, council, etc, with what they do described.

what is the CEO role, the cheif commisioner, and down from there.

the commitees also as richie describes would be nice to know about
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Jim Buckland
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Jim Buckland » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:57 pm

What Sam wants , as would I is an organization chart with names, email addresses and responsiblilities. Not just an Otttawa Scouts Canada Line Org Chart but a Staff org chart as well showing the Commissioners and Commitee Heads with names, email addresses and functions? Please include the 33 or so Council Executive Commissioners as well? Okay? Thank you.

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Angus Bickerton » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:39 pm

Jim Buckland wrote:What Sam wants , as would I is an organization chart with names, email addresses and responsiblilities. Not just an Otttawa Scouts Canada Line Org Chart but a Staff org chart as well showing the Commissioners and Commitee Heads with names, email addresses and functions? Please include the 33 or so Council Executive Commissioners as well? Okay? Thank you.
Jim, I think we all want this, on a web page that is updated regularly (people change positions frequently in volunteer organizations), that shows National, the Board of Directors, National and Council employees, committees (standing and ad hoc and otherwise), and contact people, and then flowing into each Council. It needs to be open and accountable. However, these people also need a level of protection to prevent access to them from being abused, as some undoubtedly will, so e-mails for every single person cannot be provided. In my brief time as a Scouter, I have seen a few people who love to grind axes rather than "use their axe" to do something constructive. Every organization has gate keepers (just like my own receptionist) so that a person with a job to do can stay on task instead of answering questions (frivolous or otherwise) all day long. Achieving the balance between the meaningful questions getting through, and keeping out the frivolous time-wasters, is real the challenge.
Angus Bickerton
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Brockville Troop
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1st Gilwell 2011 (Colony) 2013 (Pack)

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Angus Bickerton » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:41 pm

BTW, I nominate Sam as the new Akela for his pack. Just coming here and commenting shows he has more interest than most scouters.

Seriously Sam, I would consider it were I you, especially if you plan to stay at the cub level for the foreseeable future. Go and get your Wood Badge II (only three weekends!), join 1st Gilwell (Pack), and be the best bloody Akela your Group has ever seen!
Angus Bickerton
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Brockville Troop
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BalooTwo
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by BalooTwo » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:21 pm

good question. I had asked this at least twice in my time. All i ever get is that a total number of paid employees and some committees. To be honest, i didn't know that our departing CEO was with scouts for only 1 year or so. and what does the ceo do differently than the steve kent? i am sure there are explanations, but not much forth coming. above me it is all a black box.

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:08 pm

Angus Bickerton wrote:BTW, I nominate Sam as the new Akela for his pack. Just coming here and commenting shows he has more interest than most scouters.

Seriously Sam, I would consider it were I you, especially if you plan to stay at the cub level for the foreseeable future. Go anwe d get your Wood Badge II (only three weekends!), join 1st Gilwell (Pack), and be the best bloody Akela your Group has ever seen!

I would love to, but... Work will keep me from three of the 4 meetings this month, and will prevent WBII for this scouting year. getting on here at 10 pm is nice, but not the same. I do plan to stay with the pack for the forseable future, but since every pack leader has nominated me (and we have nominated eachother) its still a bit up in the air.
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:09 pm

Angus Bickerton wrote:
Jim Buckland wrote:What Sam wants , as would I is an organization chart with names, email addresses and responsiblilities. Not just an Otttawa Scouts Canada Line Org Chart but a Staff org chart as well showing the Commissioners and Commitee Heads with names, email addresses and functions? Please include the 33 or so Council Executive Commissioners as well? Okay? Thank you.
Jim, I think we all want this, on a web page that is updated regularly (people change positions frequently in volunteer organizations), that shows National, the Board of Directors, National and Council employees, committees (standing and ad hoc and otherwise), and contact people, and then flowing into each Council. It needs to be open and accountable. However, these people also need a level of protection to prevent access to them from being abused, as some undoubtedly will, so e-mails for every single person cannot be provided. In my brief time as a Scouter, I have seen a few people who love to grind axes rather than "use their axe" to do something constructive. Every organization has gate keepers (just like my own receptionist) so that a person with a job to do can stay on task instead of answering questions (frivolous or otherwise) all day long. Achieving the balance between the meaningful questions getting through, and keeping out the frivolous time-wasters, is real the challenge.

we dont have to have all the email addresses, just a few key contacts. just knowing who does what and why?
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Errol Feldman » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:35 am

Sam Wallis wrote:it would help if somewhere there was a list of all the positions at national, council, etc, with what they do described.
what is the CEO role, the cheif commisioner, and down from there.
the commitees also as richie describes would be nice to know about
See B.P.& P. there are job descriptions for every level in there :)
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by jkeess » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:03 pm

Angus Bickerton wrote: 4. Go to your Area and Council AGMs, even if you are not a delegate. If the National AGM is in your area, go, again, even if you are not a delegate. You are allowed to go as a member of Scouts Canada, you just can't vote on resolutions unless you have been voted by your Council as a delegate.

5. Send Steve Kent, John Petiti, the Board, etc. e-mails. Sometimes they answer them, especially if they are thoughtful and considerate.
This is at the root of the problem. Every volunteer should have one vote, as the organisation belongs to them and the youth. The idea of a military or corporate style of a chain of command is ridiculous when dealing with modern volunteers. People have to feel that they have a stake in decisions made.

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Errol Feldman
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Errol Feldman » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:09 am

jkeess wrote: This is at the root of the problem. Every volunteer should have one vote, as the organisation belongs to them and the youth. The idea of a military or corporate style of a chain of command is ridiculous when dealing with modern volunteers. People have to feel that they have a stake in decisions made.
Both Steve and John always answer their E-Mails in my experience...they don't always have the answer for you, but they do answer the E-Mail and tell you where to find the answer.
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Sam Wallis
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:25 am

is it just a grass roots desire for one member one vote that creates this conflict? is there even a real conflict or just a few people?
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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Hawkeye3 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:44 pm

Hi Sam,
In every org that I have ever worked in, there is always an “us vs them”. Humans always want to feel special.

I don’t believe that this is a grass-roots thing. I believe that there is a lot of untapped potential out there and some people want to use their potential for Scouts. Problem is that they are not being asked. For example, Beaverees. I’ve been a leader for 3 years but have never been asked to help out with one. I have offered to run different area events (always with a “no thanks” answer) or even help. Instead, the same group is relied on time after time. There is untapped potential that we are not using.

Do we all need a vote though? No. Frankly, I don’t want to vote on everything. I don’t have time to discuss and learn about all of the major issues nor do I have time to be involved in the construction of many projects. If everyone gets a vote, either the voting becomes skewed (“us 10 really want it, and only 17 will vote”) or normal leaders become too deluged with fact finding.

Perhaps it’s the project governance that is lacking. Are we not reporting enough on what is happening? Is the report format wrong (78 pages!!!) Or, should we be classifying our changes (small, medium, big) and then deciding who gets a vote based on the change side?

I know that I am upset because I see so much money going to national yet I see little returning to me.

Sorry for asking more questions than I answered.

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Re: Us vs. them?

Post by Sam Wallis » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:43 pm

I am so special.... they named a padded room after me. LOL

I agree I dont want to vote on all kinds of things. I am a cub leader. frankly while I might have an opinion on beavers or scouts issues at the end of the day its not my area, I dont know it well (1 year as a beaver leader was more than enough) and if something at that level doesnt work right then so be it. at the national level I dont know. I dont see anything realy problematic given to us right now.

I get that there are always conflicts between people with strongly held beliefs, and thats not a bad thing. I wonder, am I seeing a few people with more issues, or is it a good sampling?
Truth is a perception, and a individual perception is their truth

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