July 19th, 2004
|12:41 pm - What's eating at ADF?|
There has been some worry in ADF recently. Fears that the organization is going down the tubes, accusations of interesting things, and the shifting of blame like manure from one stall to the next.
What has prompted this? Three people have resigned. In a 750 member organization, that isn't very many at all.
Some have pointed to ADF's retention rate of first year members. It sits at about 50%. It has been at that rate for about 20 years, as far as I know. What's really interesting is that we still make up that 50% every year in new members, and we still grow.
Three people have left the organization, though, in the past month. Usually, no one would care. No one would look twice. But these are big people, right? They're people who we respect and find interesting. They're people who have traded joking emails with us, people who have approved our Dedicant Programs, and people who have reminded us of ADF's vision when we temporarily forgot about it. These people have held leadership positions almost since joining. Let us not forget: these people also posted to public forums nice vocal reasons, and that is really why we notice.
Has a leadership vacuum been created? No. ADF has more leaders than followers; it always has. ADF will fill those positions with people just as competent as those who have left. To say that ADF lacks people of such competence is to insult the membership of ADF, which I believe is full of huge potential and many untapped skills.
Can we still get publications out on time? Yes. In fact, this year's second issue of Oak Leaves is nearly done. With 30 submissions in the last week, it seems like we're ready and able to go to press with not one but even as many as three issues and put ourselves back on track. The Grove Organizer's Handbook is nearly done after a long delay, as well.
Do these resignations point to real problems in the leadership of ADF? I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to say "no". What they reflect is an inability of ADF's leaders to always solve everyone's problems, something we've always been up front about. Another thing they reflect is a serious issue with interpersonal relationships that has sprung up very recently. Not everyone will get along with everyone in a given organization, and occasionally the relationships blow up. In this case, we've had several do this. What it comes down to here is not whether ADF has met a person's spiritual needs, but rather whether a person has been able to fulfill their spiritual needs when their personal relationships started getting in their way.
How do we respond?
Now that's a tough one. I, however, am eternally optimistic, and I see an opportunity in everything. ADF had sometimes been called an "old boys' club," where new members might not be able to get their point across, or where new members have felt that their influence was negligible because there were big names that everyone listened to far more than they. Perhaps the organization is stuck in a rut caused by our reliance on these people. We should see this as an opportunity for new members to step in, to take responsibility and to mold the vision of ADF to their own and take it in a new, yet similar direction. Several key positions in ADF have been vacated after being held for a very long time by the members who have recently resigned, and so perhaps this is a sign that we should move in a new direction.
Change is not always bad, and if you deal with it correctly, it can certainly be a very good thing.
Current Mood: optimistic
Current Music: "A Sailor's Christmas", -JB
As a past Chronicler, I can tell you the hardest part is getting submissions consistently. The next problem is getting them into a shape that is usable, despite submission guidelines. Once you have the material ready for inhalation into your DTP program things are fairly easy, but can be time consuming depending on how much of the layout you have to create, and how much is template. But I hope that the issues will have multiple columns, as reading across the page in a single column is not fun. But that is just me.
Also, handovers always seem to suck. When I received stuff from the previous Chronicler, I got very little that was usable, and much of the stuff that was promised I never recieved from her. And when I passed on what little I had to the Chronicler following me, I was accused of purposely holding back material...stuff I never got. That is a good reason to make sure everything goes through a central clearing house...
But, again, to me, the biggest problem is getting submissions. I had hoped that the Dedicant's Program and the Study Program would generate more material...you should bug our Preceptor often...[hi romandruid
Actually, I am finding collecting content to be quite easy. I asked, it came. I received over 30 usable submissions within seven days of my call. In addition I have been speaking with people and there is more on the way, much more, and new submissions come in every day.
The hand-overs in question for this particular case, however, are being claimed as an actual issue. When, in fact, there is very little that can be used with the materials that could be used are either poetry or not fit for print. Had the materials I received actually been printed as a issue of Oak Leaves, I dare say it would have been the lowest point within the history of Oak Leaves.
I am currently putting together steps which ensure a smoother run from this point on and require no single point of failure, as was the case here.
Things are always great at the start, always, but as times goes on...the contributions peter off. It was that way with me, and with almost everyone else I have talked to who has been Chronicler. Don't be decieved by the initial response!!!!
Well, I'm not Chronicler, nor will I be. So I am not going to run into that problem. ;)
And, personally, I doubt that is going to happen. I don't think anyone knew how to run OL before me, no offense. :) Not to mention submissions or no, it is the Chronicler's job if they cannot find submissions within ADF for them to look outside ADF or to create them.