Technically the BSA isn’t in the business of anything. We don’t manufacture goods. We don’t sell products or services. Rather, we’re a mission-driven, non-profit organization focused on serving America’s youth by inspiring great leaders, providing life-changing adventures and helping young people grow according to the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Yet be that as it may, the principles of doing sound business still apply to our organization. We have a responsibility to the youth and families we serve, the staff we employ and the volunteers who give so generously of their time and efforts. We owe it to all of these stakeholders to take a common-sense approach to problem solving and we have a fiduciary duty to make the most of the resources we have at our disposal.
It’s my belief that, just like any organization of our size, we need a strategic plan – what many enterprises would refer to as a “business plan” – to guide us and help ensure we achieve our objectives, reconcile our dollars and cents, and grow our organization for future success. This plan should be constructed in a way that enables us to hold our staff accountable, have effective board input and governance, achieve strategic growth, improve efficiencies, bolster our financial health and strengthen the culture that makes us uniquely the Boy Scouts of America.
I think you will agree with me that all of these elements are important to our success. And I think growth is chief among them. In fact, as part of our business plan, I feel strongly that we should have a dedicated growth plan that allows for achieving short-term successes to generate momentum, as well as loftier, more ambitious long-term goals.
I’m in the process of finalizing a draft of that growth plan, built with input from staff and volunteers nationwide, including valuable feedback I received at Top Hands. I’ll share more in the days and weeks ahead, but I can tell you now that it will focus on creating a simple, mission-driven, critical-path, organizational structure to support our goals. It also will involve evaluating the programs we offer, and their viability as we move forward so we can best attract new members.
This growth plan – along with clear, actionable plans related to Finance, Culture and Governance – will comprise our business plan. I will present it in October at the Officers Meeting. With their input, I will then present it to the Executive Board at the February Board meeting. Once the business plan is approved and in the implementation phase, you can rest assured that we will continuously measure our progress to ensure the plan is working, and we will use the results to course-correct along the way, if necessary.
In my coming blog posts, I will talk more about the specifics of this plan, but I wanted to give you a high-level view of what I am working on now. It’s important for you to be regularly informed on our progress so that you are knowledgeable on the topic and able to share your feedback with me.
I know the BSA is not a business per se, but that should not prevent us from acting like one when it comes to operating efficiently, expanding our reach and being accountable to the people we serve.
Generations of Scouts – present and future – are counting on our ability to perform, and perform well. We need to deliver on that commitment, and a strong business plan will help make that happen.