Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: SPL and phone calls
Re: SPL and phone calls
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 12:14:32 -0500
In a message dated 11/23/98 11:24:24 AM, pglidden@YAHOO.COM wrote:
<<I forget who wrote this, but a Scout Leader wrote:
> >For the second time in two weeks, our SM has called our
> >SPL to get messages to the rest of the patrols. For the
> >second time, he has neglected to do so. He does not
> >give us a reason, he just doesn't do it.>>
This is a really interesting and common situation. However, as a council
level leader, I could very easily rewrite it; only in the place of SPL, I
would put SM, CM, CC, DC, DChmn, or whatever adult leader one chooses. How
often do we contact one leader in a unit to give information to the unit about
a Camporee, Campout, Pow Wow, Training Event, Friends of Scouting or whatever
and they very politely listen and either just don't do it or else consciously
blow it off?
And this isn't limited to Scouting. How often does this happen at work? The
problem can be that the importance of the information to the transmitter is
much greater than its importance to the receiver; particularly if it means
extra work, anguish, etc. for the receiver.
If we rely on series transmission of information (talking like the scientist I
sometimes pretend to be) then any break in the chain terminates the
transmission. But if we can establish parallel transmission of information,
then even if there is a break in the chain, the other elements of the parallel
network take over and some information gets through.
So one can use a telephone alert network. But it can be a real pain for the
SPL to phone even 4 or 5 people if one hits answering machines, reluctant
parents, requests to call back, etc. So in addition, could one use e-mail, a
PLC meeting at the Troop Meeting, a firm schedule of what will be done,
postcards, etc. to make sure that the info makes it to the Patrol Leaders.
The problem with this approach is that some leaders use control of information
as part of their management approach. They are quite bothered if their
subordinates get information other than through them in exactly the way that
they wish. But if a leader wishes to be the information faucet, they have the
obligation to assure that they pass the information on in a timely manner.
Other leaders welcome multiple paths for information. It helps them keep the
Perhaps it is appropriate for the SM to direct the SPL to give information on
an urgent basis to the PLs twice in as many weeks. But does it suggest that
maybe the planning could be better with less need for last minute information?
(Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am the world's worst offender
with last minute information.)
This is not to excuse the SPL who should have come through as requested. But
maybe looking at the situation as an information systems problem rather than
totally an SPL problem will help the Scouts grow a bit more.