Adapting to Change

Adapting to Change , By Larry Chase, National Commissioner Service Team Chair

From our upcoming issue of the National Commissioner

You may have noticed one constant in recent communications to commissioners: change. The reason is simple: There’s been a lot of it recently in Scouting and there will be more. Acknowledging change is one thing; adapting to it is something entirely different. It requires that we change — and that we help those we support do the same.

The units we serve have faced significant challenges over the past year and losses — in units, youth and adult membership, and professional staff — have resulted. There have also been successes: units that kept on Scouting and youth and adult volunteers who remained engaged. Where we saw success, we inevitably saw three characteristics:

• Patience — a quiet confidence that Scouting will continue its mission

• Persistence — a commitment that failure is not an option

• Resilience — a capacity to recover quickly through collaboration to create and implement new solutions

Resilient organizations share certain traits:

• Prepared — planning for short- and long-term outcomes

• Adaptable — recognizing the importance of having members who can adjust and adapt

• Collaborative — knowing that collaboration enables quick decisions, reduces risk, and builds trust

• Communicative — communicating frequently and transparently

• Responsible — taking responsibility for both their mission and their performance

As commissioners, we need to adopt and share these characteristics and traits.

And we must change our focus. Today, there are six things that must be the center of our attention:

• Supporting units to ensure their leaders are inspired, engaged, committed, and optimistic

• Recruiting commissioners to enable us to serve every unit

• Communicating information to increase awareness of resources and access to them

• Developing commissioners to enable them to serve units effectively

• Growing Scouting by helping create, retain, and grow units for all programs

• Adapting to change to ensure Scouting can be delivered effectively and sustainably

It’s more important than ever to remember our role as Scouting’s morale officers: There is good news to share today, and there will be more to share in the future. Scouting will survive its challenges; it will be a different organization in the future (implementation of our new national service territories alone is ample evidence of that), but it also will be a stronger one better prepared to fulfill its mission.

Throughout this issue, you’ll find articles about how your service team is adapting to change while helping you prepare to do the same and be better prepared to help the unit leaders you serve.

On the uptrail …

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