"Unit Serving Executives" and other name changes....
(no name) ((no email))
Mon, 20 Jul 1998 13:30:40 +0000
Tom Petrik, reporting from the National Exploring Leadership
Conference (NELC), posted the following to all of us:
>First we come up with our own opinions, then call your DE and ask
>him how it feels to be a Unit Serving Executive.
>You heard me, the new acronym will be U.S.E.
>But you didn't get it from me.
The BSA has, for the last five years, looking at the terminology
for it's professionals and support personnel; and in the process,
looking at the way the BSA relates to other agencies' structures.
Three field professionals have wrote papers as part of their
requirements for the Professional Circle recognition which got
"recognized" at the National level, and which placed all of these
things into some sort of motion.
As Tom correctly pointed out to us in a previous posting, the
Exploring program was headed for a demise of some sort -- we inside
the program knew this, but we didn't expect that it would happen
right away. Others, whom have been around when the BSA announced
their their "National Field Representatives" would become "Area
Directors" and "Associate Area Directors"; those of us remembering
the move from a wildly varied Council and District organization to
the "four functions" (in some locations, they've added
administration as a fifth function)...we know that the BSA reacts
to change in the outside (in corporate America) more than it reacts
to change within its internal membership.
The BSA has been field-testing several changes to our "corporate
structure" over the past couple of years. Some of your Councils
are probably a part of this "corporate structure revision". The
intent is to allow the BSA to be more like other youth-serving
agencies and less reliant upon our own terminologies and "position
titles". For instance, we have something called a "Council
Commissioner" which doesn't easily relates to the structure found
in Corporate America. Many chartered partners don't understand the
role of the Council Commissioner and many times this man or woman
gets left behind because we're so used to seeing "Presidents" and
I can't tell you how the final version of this is going to work out
but I can describe some of your Council's desires, as revealed
during a panel discussion during the recent All Hands Meeting:
*Structure should be uniform across the board, no matter what local
Council you belong to: In some Councils, there's a eight or seven
Vice-President "executive-executive board" which, along with the
President, Treasurers and Commissioner, and the Council Executive
-- are the decisionmakers. In others, it's a simple matter of a
plurality of the entire Council Executive Board, led by the
President of the Council and advised by the Executive.
*What is the role of the Council Commissioner?? If you look at a
military "flow chart" and equate the Commander of a unit with the
Council President, the Council Scout Executive with the Executive
Officer, and the Council's Commissioner with the Command Sergeant
Major (or Senior Enlisted Assistant), you will quickly see where
the BSA's organizational frameset came from. Unfortunately, not
many in corporate life understand that the Commissioner, like it's
military counterpart, insures the uniformity, morale, and support
to the "field commissioners" and therefore, to the volunteer
leaders of the Council. The Commissioners also charter or
recharter the units (traditionally). The Commissioners also present
awards and trains volunteers (traditionally). In some locations,
those traditional roles are being given back to the Council
Commissioner for implementation, therefore freeing up the
*With the increasing competition to get corporate citizens to serve
as Council Presidents, wouldn't it better if the Council Scout
Executive serve as President AND as Scout Exec, therefore allowing
the volunteer to advise the professional and to provide more of a
day-to-day, consistantly managed program??
*We have "too many chiefs" and "too little indians". This has been
the cry of professionals for decades (I can remember attending a
session in which professionals said those same words in 1975!!).
The profession has too many "Directors" in the offices and too
little "Executives" truly out in the field. The BSA is
experimenting with dual-management of Districts, with a (so far
successful) District Director program (a field director's position,
normally an "office position", now becomes a executive position in
the field whereby he or she still supervises but also manages
larger Districts) and with that "P" word again, paraprofessionals
where they are needed -- in urban and rural areas. I don't see
this; in any given Council, there are more field executives than
they are "support executives" in the office.
*Volunteers don't really know what we're expecting them to do.
This is a matter of training and coaching, yes, but it's partly
true: many of us are doing tasks because someone else did those
same tasks before and because nobody really explained what a Unit
Commissioner or a District Activities Chair REALLY does. And I lay
that jointly on the professionals and the volunteers in that
Tom's talking about a "suggested title" that's running rampant
around the nation; it was first announced at the All Hands Meeting
to a lot of hand-wringing and angry faces. We LOVE calling our
professionals "District Executives", or DEs. When the title
"District Director" came out, it was embraced by many senior
executives because of the word "District"...it told anyone where
that person works. I don't know if "USE" is going to be "used"
(sorry for the pun; I've heard that a black unit-serving executive
is going to be ABUSE) for this very reason, but I do know that if
the results of the field testing is successful and has as few
problems as it has had, that those of us with the BSA will have a
set of new titles, new structures and new organizations to deal
Finally, I mentioned that the BSA is de-emphasizing the role of the
Chartered Organizational Representative, at least for Boy and
Varsity Scouting units. I don't think the title's going away,
because chartered partners -- particularily chartered partners as
part of national or regional firms -- aren't going to attend
meetings with field professionals. They simply don't have the time
to do so! I do feel, however, that the title's being de-emphasized
because there will be more of an emphasis on that chartered partner
KNOWING the composition and makeup of his or her Pack, Troop, Team,
Does the name change matter? Does it matter that the Scout
Executive is also the Council President?? Does it matter if the
Council Executive Board becomes a Board of Directors and the
Council Commissioner becomes a Vice-President/Commissioner?
(c) 1998 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
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