Oct 28, 1996 06:23 PM
by liesel f. deutsch
It's my considered opinion that the first thing we need is less secrecy. The
ES is secret. Our Board meetings are secret, and what we get to know comes
late and partially, as it did with the last by-laws revisions. That is
entirely unacceptable. The membership has to know what's going on, and has
to have a say-so.
I haven't as yet reconciled my own views with the fact that I prefer
managing by concensus to managing by hierarchy, but at the same time see the
need for someone to coordinate & steer things at the top. Nowadays such a
person is called a facilitator. So maybe that's what I think we need, at the
top, and after that, a loosely organized Society, with the top being a
service organization that produces & distributes materials to help the units
to fuinction, such as books, videos, speakers, suggested programs.
We certainly don't want to be told what to do, in our units, nor how to run
them. We need to be told in great detail what materials are available in
Wheaton for Study Centers; but we need to be able to adjust our programs to
what we like locally. On the other hand, I remember a time, when I was new
as President, when I asked for some help in finding topics for study, and
got very little help, except for a very old, dated 7 yellowed study guide of
some sort from the NE Federation President. After several years of struggle,
I happen to have landed in Wheaton & found that there was all sorts of
material available which I didn't know anything about. Nowadays there are
several resource catalogues available, so that, hopefully, people in the
field know nowadays what's there to be borrowed from Wheaton, so it doesn't
just sit on the shelves. Also, after another little while one of the
conventions had a PR workshop for Lodges & Centers. At the time, Chuck
Ponsonby gave a barrelful of good suggestions. I found that helpful, and I
need to give Chuck credit, even if he assigned me to very inferior quarters,
and I got a heat stroke. What I think was best about Chuck's workshop was
that it fired the imagination. You went home and had a fistful of dynamic
new ideas to try out.
One thing Chuck taught was to try to get as many people involved as
possible. In reality, I found that to be a 2-edged sword. I was under the
impression that anyone who volunteered for a job in the Center would do it.
But I found out that volunteering isn't necessarily doing. I don't know.
Maybe I was doing something wrong, because I found that if someone didn't
want to, that was it ... and about half my crew didn't want to. The other
half tried it, and said it was too much work. Some'd say "yes, yes" and
never did a stroke of work, or gave a talk without ever preparing for it.
Like I had what I thought was a great idea to order books from the TPH to
fit in with whatever subject was being taken up at the meeting. I got "yes
,yes" from the book agent, and then nothing. & etc ad nauseatum. Down in
Miami and here in New York City they find enough people to run a variety of
So, maybe that's something we could profitably discuss. Since it seems to be
that people become more interested in Branch meetings if they take an active
part in a phase of it, how do you get them to do it, in view of the known
fact that usually an organization is run by a few people who break their
butts, while the others just attend meetings.
I think it might also be helpful, if we established a program ideas bank,
possibly with bibliographies.
As for making our by-laws more democratic & open, I have no idea as to how
that can be done. It's like butting your head against a stone wall.
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