The Inland Northwest Council, which serves more than 15,000 youth members and volunteer leaders in eastern Washington and northern Idaho, has spent considerable time and effort to find — and simplify — the key drivers of success for their council. What works? What doesn’t? Why?
To help spread the word about their findings, we asked Scout Executive Karen Meier to share some of the magic of the Inland Northwest Council team. Read on to find out why simpler is almost always better, and how a personal touch can make all the difference:
1. Be Transparent.
We hold monthly all-staff meetings where everyone is hearing the same message at the same time. Everyone knows who is doing what, when, where, and — especially — why. No “pronoun people” are getting the job done — we know the “who” behind the action. Everyone is busy, and it’s easy to lose sight of the essentials if you don’t take the time to gather as a team and get on the same page.
2. Be Personal: “One-on-One Gets It Done!”
There is a lot of substance behind these words, which were often shared by retired Area 6 Director Ron Lunsford. Volunteers love face-to-face dialogue. In our council, an email is not an action passed. So, pick up the phone. Schedule a lunch or a coffee break with your key volunteers, unit leaders, and donors.
3. Be a Servant Leader.
The field executives have ownership of their fate. Everyone lives the Scout Oath and Law — it is who we are.
4. Find Your “Secret Sauce.”
We found the “secret sauce” that Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh has referenced often over the past year — it is the youth we serve daily. We keep our youth members in mind when making a decision by asking, “How is this decision going to impact our youth members?”
A perfect example is Brady (shown at right), a young Scout who showed up at a recent leadership summit on recruiting. He designed and made a posterboard, and set up a table and recruiting display. When asked why he was at our adult leadership summit, he stated, “I want all my friends to be Scouts just like me.”
Pretty powerful stuff … To drive home this message, we brought Brady to the front of the room at the summit to introduce him as our “secret sauce” for our council’s future success.
5. Be Thankful.
We all know that the success of our council depends on more than just those of us in the office. It may seem simple, but be sure to acknowledge their contributions of time, talent, and treasure. Often. There is always someone to “thank,” from unit and district volunteer leadership, to board members, donors, staff, etc. A hand-written note works wonders.
Engagement and satisfaction. Stay tuned for monthly stories that share the actions, commitments, and practices of councils that experience high levels of engagement and satisfaction within their teams. For more information, visit the BSA Engagement 365 website.