Some of you may wonder why I share and discuss “Disney things” so often.
I confess I have always enjoyed Disney things. I lived in Southern California in the late-’50s and again in the late ’60s. My parents took my sister and I to Disneyland a few times. I also lived in Florida from the early ’70s to the early ’90s and went to Walt Disney World many times. Even as a youth I noticed the difference in the quality and fun of a Disney experience. As an adult and parent I really began to notice the Magic they create.
But my real fascination with Disney has come from a work perspective. My career has allowed, actually forced, me to become a student of leadership theory and practice. I have read or experienced a great deal on the topic, but have focused more on individuals and companies who have practical, successful experience rather than just someone’s theories. I am really a fan of Gallup, Marriott, Scouting, and Disney leadership concepts for that reason.
Because I spent the first 13 years of my professional Scouting career in Florida, I was able to work with Disney and Disney cast members quite often. I worked in the BSA council headquartered in Tampa, Florida for 10 of those years and many Scouters in the eastern part of the council were Disney cast members. As the director of field service towards the end of my Florida tenure one of my responsibilities was actually “theme park relations.” I had the pleasure – in most cases – to work with Sea World, Six Flags, Universal, Disney, Cypress Gardens, Boardwalk and Baseball, and many other theme parks in the area. Not a bad gig, and essential for us in those days in Central Florida.
We did a yearly Scout “Scamp-O-Ree” at the Fort Wilderness campground at Disney and held a few staff planning conferences on property. But my most in-depth exposure to Disney ethic was to serve as the Scouting coordinator for a televised Disney-produced welcome home event for the returning Desert Storm troops at Tampa Stadium in 1991
Because of those opportunities I found more often than not their customer service and overall ethic to be exceptional both “on stage” at the parks and “off stage” in the community.
After moving to the Boy Scouts of America’s National Office in the early ’90s I learned a friend and co-worker in the Cub Scout Division, Ed Woodlock, had attended a new thing called the Disney Institute. I picked his brain and learned more. After reading the course materials he shared, I learned the “why” behind some of the leadership and customer service Magic I had experienced over the previous 30-plus years.
At the 1993 National Jamboree I was the director of staff dining halls. I led the team who fed all of the jamboree staff (other than the sub-camp staff) in about a dozen dining halls. I had decided to implement Disney concepts such as customer service and workforce selection in these facilities. It went very well, and I thought I might be on to something BSA-wise.
When I became the director of the national volunteer training center of the BSA, the Philmont Training Center, in 1995 I thought the ideas would be a great fit at PTC and committed to use them there. I believe much of our success at PTC – leading to the largest attendance years ever – was in large part due to our use of these Disney Institute concepts in serving the families and Scouters who came there. Not to mention how I and we treated the staff of PTC.
After five years at PTC I became a Scout executive and continued to try to incorporate what I had learned from Disney in my leadership of the Kennewick, Washington-based Blue Mountain Council.
In 2011 I returned to the National BSA Staff as the staff leader for volunteer training. Soon after my arrival we began building on an idea that Doug Krofina (lead for professional training), Dan Zaccara (volunteer training committee chair), Gary Butler (Deputy Chief Scout Executive), and I had for a unified learning strategy for volunteers and employees of the BSA. Among other things, I was assigned the task of building a list of external resources with large organizational training experience. With some research and input from these men we came up with a list that included Starbucks, AT&T, Procter and Gamble, the Armed Services, the YMCA, the Walt Disney Company, and several others.
While we reviewed them all, and eventually included concepts from some of them, the Disney University and Disney Institute seemed to be the most favored. We thought they would be a good model to follow in part because their “peer training” model matches the BSA model. But we also liked the Disney Institute because they are willing to share how they are so successful with other organizations and would teach us how they do it. We thought their leadership and customer service ideas fit the BSA well too.
We also knew that Disney is one of the most recognized brands in the world, if not the most recognized. Almost everyone would have an impression – most often positive – of “something Disney.” This would help speed up understanding and learning. We would not have to give as much “why” background as we would with other organizations. We believed this would enhance learning because students would already have a mental image of what we were sharing.
While it has changed quite a bit since it started in early 2014, the original design for Scouting University was built around the Disney University/Institute model. We had even planned to use the Philmont Training Center as a “Scouting Institute” to share Scouting leadership concepts with Scouters and other organizations.
I was finally able to attend the Disney Institute as a part of the Scouting U development project. I attended a four-day Selection, Training & Engagement course in Orlando in 2013 with five other members of the team building Scouting U, and coordinated a series of one-day courses in Anaheim in 2014 with a large group from the National Service Center just prior to a BSA Top Hands meeting.
In 2017 I took five members of the staff leadership team of the Great Salt Lake Council to Orlando a four-day Leadership Excellence course just prior to the BSA national annual meeting. I want “DThink” to be part of all we do in the Great Salt Lake Council to serve our volunteers, community, members, and staff, and to help make it the greatest, and most admired, council in the Boy Scouts of America.
I’ve learned, and continue to learn, a great deal from the Disney Institute through their blog, books, social media, and other communications.
Janet and I now have a son and daughter-in-law who work for the Walt Disney Company at Walt Disney World. I learn a great deal of DThink from Robert and Kat as well.
I am hoping that you can attend a Disney Institute course someday. Check them out at www.DisneyInstitute.com and read their blog. I know that you can benefit from their willingness to share “how we do it” and their help to make it fit whatever you do.
I owe a lot of my success as a leader to Walt Disney and the Walt Disney Company leadership concepts, nearly as much as from what I learned as a youth and adult in Scouting.
So, now you know why I share Disney thoughts so much. I hope you too can benefit from my occasional Disney thoughts and DThink.
go here Phase Two and Disney
On November 15, 2012 Dan Zaccara received an e-mail from Gary Butler telling him that a charter had been approved by now Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock and his cabinet for a new project. This one was to be called the Scouting University Design Project.
The terms Scouting University and Scouting U had been used by Gary for several months while we discussed the concept of a single learning department. But at this point, at least for some of us, Scouting U was just one of the several ideas. We were still using Council Operations Learning Strategy in most of what we wrote. Even though I did not know it yet, the project was now named Scouting University and that title became a greater part of our discussions.
The new charter contained a lot of Gary’s, and our, vision for the future from our conversations over the past year and a half.
buy orlistat over the counter Summary
http://alkalinevegangirls.com/?post_type=product Create/implement a federal model for corporate learning to resolve issues with lack of coordination in training personnel at the Unit, Council and National level. To address waste and redundancy that exists in current training. To solve issues related to ROI on the BSA’s training investment – currently a low return and not equating to performance. To centralize learning philosophy and methodology while allowing flexibility and autonomy in the organization’s four business units (Supply Group, National Council Program Facilities, Mission Delivery, National Council) by taking advantage of best practices in corporate learning.
- Develop and execute a strategy using industry best practices in corporate learning
- Integrate all personnel (volunteers and employees) responsible for the delivery of the Scouting mission through councils, districts, and units
- To have a consistent and centralized learning methodology
- Provide Mission Delivery personnel the skills, knowledge, and competencies to optimize their roles and effectiveness
- Develop support mechanisms for them to reach their full potential
- Create an effective, efficient, and economic model that leverages technology, team based learning, barrier free learning at all levels of the organization
- Create centers of excellence that demonstrate best practices and processes that can be leveraged throughout the organization and at all levels
The scope of the project included:
- Design and development of:
- Creating a federal training model
- Central learning philosophy and methodology
- Create a governing committee with representatives from all four business units
- Development of new design on how learning will be administered and delivered within Mission Delivery (those who insure the mission of Scouting is delivered) without necessarily impacting organizational charts
- Integrate where appropriate industry best practices both not for profit and for profit
- Operational time table and assignment of new roles for impacted personnel; volunteers and employees
- Establishment of standardized learning practices and processes, curriculum, and delivery models
In December Doug Krofina and I were informed that the idea of a single learning department was still a possibility and were told about a new project charter. Part two was now more than just implementation of the first project we thought it would be.
In early February of 2013, during the national committee and board meetings, Doug, Dan, Gary, and I met with Fred Meijering, the BSA’s Director of Human Resources, Innovation, and Research, in Dan’s room at the Courtyard Marriott in Coppell, Texas.
Fred was on-board with the idea of a common learning strategy, and was coming around on a workforce-wide learning effort. The meeting was to set the groundwork for beginning the new project.
Dan would continue as chair. Gary appointed Mary Marris as our new project manager. Doug and I would continue to serve on the task force and Fred would join. We discussed names of additional members from other of the BSA’s business units that should be included. One of the first and most active over the life of the second project was Al Landon from the information delivery group.
During the conversation Gary casually mentioned that perhaps the task force should attend a course at the Disney Institute.
While we had reviewed how many companies and organizations trained their workforce during phase one, and eventually included concepts from several of them, the Disney University and Disney Institute model seemed to be the most favored. Gary had previously attended a Disney Institute course and I had used their concepts as the director of the Philmont Training Center. We had thought it might a good model to explore in more detail.
I had always wanted to attend a DI course, so almost as soon as the words were out of Gary’s mouth I was looking at the course offerings and checking out air fares to Orlando on my laptop. Before we left Dan’s room that day we had tentatively agreed to attend a course called “Disney’s Approach to Selection, Training & Engagement” on April 3-6, 2013.
As we made plans for the six of us to attend we sadly found that Gary would not be able to due to the leadership he had to give to the brewing membership standards issue, and Dan would not be able to attend due to some health challenges. In their place Doug selected Tom Jansen from his team and I selected Peter Self from my team.
After attending DI, most of us believed Disney University would be a good model to follow:
- Their peer training model matched the BSA model.
- They were willing to share how they are so successful with other organizations and would help us fit their ideas to the BSA.
- Their leadership and customer service ideas fit the BSA well.
- We liked their “internal” Disney University and “external” Disney Institute model. We already had Scouting University as our working name and thought we could have a Scouting Institute someday to share Scouting leadership concepts with the business community.
Further, we knew that since Disney is one of the most recognized brands in the world, if not the most, almost everyone would have a positive impression of “something Disney.” We would not have to explain why we were using their concepts as much as we would with those of other organizations, and that would speed up and enhance learning.
So “DThink” and what we had learned in Orlando became a part of our conversation for the rest of the project.
Also in April of 2013, Doug invited me to his Professional Training Needs Council meeting in Tucson. I was able to share some of the ideas we were working on in volunteer development and the Team Based Learning model we were planning to use in our training. Just as we had included Doug in planning for volunteer training, Doug was including me in professional training. We hoped we were laying groundwork for the future combined effort.
One of the early things we wanted to have was a vision and mission statement for the new department. We all knew from our research that we needed these as a guide. Disney had taught us that setting and communicating a clear vision was critical.
On December 19-20, 2011 the new chair of the national volunteer training committee, Joel Eacker, had met with the volunteer development staff – Ron Timmons, Sara Lacobee (later Shepard), Peter Self, and me – at the Center for Professional Development in Westlake to build a new strategic plan for volunteer training. Doug joined the group for parts of the meeting and provided his thoughts.
As volunteer development was building a strategic plan there were of course several similarities with what was coming out of the growing conversations around the first project, and our dreams for the learning department. We were able to use parts of the volunteer plan in the deliberations of the learning strategy task force.
For example, the volunteer development team had come up with these:
Vision – We enable a training (soon changed to learning) culture that supports regions, areas, and councils to deliver effective, fun, and accessible training to all adult and youth leaders.
Mission – It is the mission of the Volunteer Training Team to support the mission of the Boy Scouts of America by:
- Working cross-functionally with stakeholders, producing training resources, products, and strategies which enable councils to deliver effective, fun, and accessible training to all adult and youth leaders.
- Creating opportunities to enhance leadership skills in youth and adults through advanced training.
- Continually assessing our training and delivery model to ensure relevant and effective training for both the current and future states of an evolving Boy Scouts of America.
The learning strategy task force later created these for the new project:
Vision: It is the vision of the BSA National Center for Learning and Performance to be recognized as a premier provider of accessible, quality learning experiences.
Mission: To strengthen the quality of services and leadership impact on youth programs through enriching, effective, and fun learning opportunities by providing quality training resources and fostering a continuous learning culture.
We had a project, a model to follow, a vision, and a mission. Now we could start to build Scouting University.
Next: Scouting University
While a single department was now on the back burner, we continued to meet almost weekly with the idea of working towards the original goal of consistent, coordinated training in the BSA. For the most part though, the meetings of the task force focused developing a project charter, with a lot of side conversations about what training could be in the BSA. Project manager Rod Steinagel did his best to keep us on task.
The summary statement of the charter for this first project was to:
“Identify a unified learning strategy for volunteers and employees responsible for delivering the mission of the BSA.”
The Key Objectives were to:
• Determine the business need and desired outcomes.
• Develop formal documentation (matrix) that defines the learning strategy.
• Develop and establish an evaluative measure to determine if learning took place.
• Develop and establish evaluative measures and guidelines to validate if business objective has been met (updated 3-5 year plan)
• Develop a learning framework, interchangeable among Scouting role teams (volunteers and employees).
• Develop implementation plan for learning strategy.
We determined the Next Steps were to:
• Collect best practice examples
• Engage external SME’s (Subject Matter Experts)
• Develop project plan
• Develop cost estimates
At the March 26, 2012 meeting I was assigned the task of building a list of external resources with large organizational training experience so we could study best practices. With some research and input from the task force we came up with a list that included Starbucks, Procter and Gamble, the Armed Services, the YMCA, the Walt Disney Company, and several others. We gathered as many materials as we could about their workforce training functions from friends, family, and the internet.
At the May 2012 National Annual Meeting Doug Krofina and I facilitated an elective on effective presentations. While the main topic was to help with our pet peeve of bad PowerPoints, part of our interest was to gauge the interest among attendees for both the learning strategy and the joint training concept. Another goal was to show volunteer and professional training could indeed work well together and we had similar learning objectives. Doug and I thought it went very well.
The task force had determined we needed to use desired competencies of BSA roles as we created training in the future. We decided to start by examining den leaders and district executives to build a model for future training design and research. We felt that these two workforce roles were important, perhaps the most important, in making a learning impact on the BSA.
Doug’s team, and Jim Reed in HR, had already started a project to determine district executive competencies with DDI (Designs Development International – a talent management consultant) as part of the development of a replacement for the Professional Development series.
While we reviewed existing research on youth program volunteer competencies from 4-H and the BSA, we decided we could also use DDI for the den leader study. On June 22, 2012 DDI conducted a focus group of den leaders. We received their report on August 27, 2012. From this report we learned using the competency discovery process was going to be viable for discovering what the most important topics were so they could be included in role-based training in the future. Happily, we also learned the desired competencies elaborated in the 4-H and previous BSA studies were consistent with what DDI found. So we figured we had a solid base on information to start to work on new unit leader training courses.
Another major task, led by Doug, was togather all of the training being done by the various departments of the BSA and engage their subject matter experts. Initially we thought there might be some reluctance from some groups to share and be included, and had even excluded two of the BSA’s business units from the original scope. However, Doug discovered we had excellent cooperation from all of the business units and soon felt the need to eventually make the learning delivery concept all-encompassing. Still, at this point the project was still focused on Council Operations learning.
At, and in between, our meetings we continued to share and discuss the learning ideas we were gathering. We eagerly reviewed what we were learning from other organizations and what other departments in the BSA were doing in our effort to gather the best practices that fit our dream model.
From my perspective these conversations were extremely valuable and informative. We were able to see what a collaborative learning environment might be. As we developed new volunteer training during this period we used the concepts we were discovering, and modeled the structure and focus of the volunteer training committee based on the best practices.
At a retreat with members of the training committee and area training chairs at the Philmont Training Center in November 2012 I shared the idea of a new learning strategy. Happily it was very well received as it had been at the National Meeting. They too had seen the disconnect in training in their service areas and the benefits of sharing resources.
The learning project deliberations were coming up with a lot of good ideas, but a great deal of the time spent in meetings was just tweaking the wording of the project charter and the charter documents. Doug, project chair Dan Zaccara, and I felt we had accomplished all we could with this phase and needed to move on to implementation.
On January 7, 2013 Rod proposed in an e-mail to Dan that this project be considered complete. So, the following project summary document was produced for review by the BSA management:
Council Operations Learning Strategy
Summary Situation The Boy Scouts of America has a very large and diverse workforce of over one million volunteers and employees who design, develop, and deliver Scouting. Volunteers make up over 99% of this workforce, with significant turnover and transition of roles.
Teaching/learning needs range from basic and advanced business operations, to management and leadership, to “Scouting Skills” and more. In addition, the BSA manages skills, leadership, and developmental training for nearly four million youth members.
Develop a unified learning strategy for council operations that reflects the fundamentals of how we learn. This fundamental strategy should be applied to all levels of Scouting, professional and volunteer. This consistent approach should facilitate communications among all levels of Scouting.
Explain How it Works:
Learning will be designed, developed, and delivered in the pattern of Onboarding, Positional Training, On the Job Training, and Personal/Positional Development. Individual assessment occurs at each step of the learning. When an individual in the workforce changes roles, training/learning will begin at Onboarding or Positional Training depending on if, the change is to a new level in Scouting or a new position at the same level.
Content of training is determined: by positional responsibilities; by a need to eliminate gaps in learning; to improve communication among roles; by timing; to enhance pre-determined competencies for the role(s).
When positional responsibilities among employees and volunteers overlap, training content and delivery also overlap.
A modern and diverse workforce requires a blended strategy using a variety of methods. The primary methods used by the BSA are:
• Mentored e-learning
• Team-based learning
• Personal coaching/mentoring
• Centers of Excellence
• Consistent “language” and message for all members of the workforce
• Consistent format for design, development, and delivery of training in the organization
• Designed to meet the competencies necessary for success in a role
• Saves time and manpower as learning is developed and delivered cross-functionally
• Creates efficiencies and leads to more effective learning
• Process fits and strengthens the known learning patterns of the workforce
• Share the strategy with those involved in teaching/learning
• Develop cross-functional teams to:
• Identify gaps
• Design and develop learning tools
• Deliver teaching/learning
The completed project was still just a strategy for learning in the BSA, and specifically just for Council Operations. But the idea of a single learning department was boiling under the surface. But it was about to become closer to reality. Soon, I would find more out the reason for Dan and Gary Butler’s eagerness to end this first project.
Next: Phase Two and Disney
These notes are my attempt to share my perspective of the development of a BSA learning delivery idea that would become Scouting University in April 2014. Several people invested a great deal of time and thought into what I believe was a wonderful concept. I wanted to be sure their efforts were remembered.
Soon after I arrived at the national office in 2011, to become the team leader of volunteer development in the program impact department, I found out I was the “owner” of several goals of the Boy Scouts of America’s 2011-2015 National Strategic Plan.
One in particular was cross-department and cross-group:
In early May I ran into Doug Krofina, the director of professional development, at a going away reception for Brian Sinders in the National Office Café. I told Doug about the goal and suggested we needed to get together to see what we could do to achieve the goal. He suggested we meet after the National Council Meeting later that month.
On June 9, 2011 Doug and I had the first of what became almost-weekly “white boarding” sessions on the topic of joint training resources.
Over the summer our conversations began to stray into the concerns we both had about the state of all training in the BSA. We discussed the challenges presented by the reality that each individual department in the BSA was responsible for all aspects of training in their subject matter field – usually without any involvement of the volunteer or professional training teams. We felt this lead to inconsistent, and quite often ineffective from a learning standpoint, training being offered to volunteers and professionals.
From the beginning, and throughout the development of the learning delivery concept, we believed one of the most important paths to learning success was coordination of the design, development, and delivery. We wanted learning to be a coordinated, cooperative, team effort among the the topics’ subject matter experts, those who would eventually deliver the training, and training designers. Too much of our training was done by only one or two of those elements without consulting the others.
- We thought it was wrong on so many levels that the training courses for the Key-3 of a district were created by three separate BSA departments/committees.
- We found there were four different training courses, from three different sources, on the basic task of how to organize a new unit.
- Volunteer and professional designers were creating training that trainers had a difficult time delivering.
- Some courses were only available on-line and could not be taken by a still significant population of Scouters without broadband access.
While not as critical, but a barrier to learning nevertheless, the preponderance of terrible PowerPoint decks used in training – and presentations in general – were of particular concern to us.
Late in the summer it became clear – to us at least – if we wanted to have consistent, effective training, a single training department in the BSA to manage and coordinate all BSA training might be the best answer.
Doug and I knew if our idea progressed it could mean the end of the teams we were leading and one, or both, of us would lose our team’s “control” over the learning process for our part of the BSA. But we both thought it was the right thing to do for the Boy Scouts of America and effective learning. We decided we should begin to rapidly move the idea up the chain, starting with Deputy Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, who encouraged BSA staff and members to bring him new ideas.
Out of protocol we met with our staff leaders to tell them what we had planned to discuss with Wayne. While my staff leaders – Program Impact Department Manager Chuck Ezell, Impact Group Director Chuck Keathley, and Assistant Chief Scout Executive Gary Butler – encouraged the plan and the meeting, Doug met with significant resistance from the HR leadership. But Doug felt the resistance had more to do with ownership of employee training than the idea itself.
Much to Doug’s credit he agreed we should go ahead with the presentation. In mid-September 2011 Doug and I met with Wayne to present our concept of a single learning department.
Wayne was supportive of the idea, but to our surprise he said it had been considered and tabled before by BSA leadership. However, he encouraged us to continue to develop our thoughts, and to prepare a “white paper” for Gary Butler.
We presented the following to Gary in early October:
Boy Scouts of America
Training Department – Draft
Currently training in the Boy Scouts of America is not only spread across two separate development teams in two separate groups, there are training functions or responsibilities in several other departments. While in some cases this may be necessary, this diffusion of responsibility creates a duplication of effort, increased costs, contradictory messages, contradictory methods, a “we-they” mentality, and an inconsistent “language” of Scouting.
A BSA Training Department, created initially by merging the existing Professional Development and Volunteer Development teams, would give the Boy Scouts of America a common direction to train the professional and volunteer mission delivery personnel of the movement. It would further provide a resource for other departments such as supply, camp staff, IDG, marketing, and national office personnel to develop and design training. Cost efficiencies would result as personnel resources are shared, and as the training design function is moved out of various other mission delivery teams.
The fundamental mission of the department would be to be responsible for development, design, and delivery of training, using industry best practices adapted to the BSA culture. Using the BSA model, volunteer and professional subject matter experts would be teamed with professional and volunteer training designers to carry out the mission. The training department would work with and through other departments and their subject matter experts to create necessary training that is consistent and meets desired learning objectives. Training would be delivered through multiple Centers of Excellence, instructor-led courses, learning cohorts, video conferences, and e-learning. Centers of Excellence would include outstanding local councils and districts, BSA conference centers, and national council facilities.
The department would be able to establish training and trainer standards, consistent lesson plans and syllabi, and training metrics to ensure that learning has occurred over multiple learning/teaching platforms. Working across volunteer-professional lines would allow increased and shared competencies. District executives, commissioners, and Scoutmasters would share a common post-training “language” and understanding of concepts and methods. Centers of Excellence would give professionals and volunteers formalized, experiential, “workplace-based” learning opportunities.
The BSA Training Department:
• Reports to the Impact Group Director
• Responsible for design, development, and delivery of all training related to mission delivery: local council professional staff; unit, district, council, and national volunteers
• Serves as a training resource for all other departments of the BSA
• Creates a BSA national learning strategy using industry best practices managed to fit within the BSA culture
• Manages a BSA learning management system that helps national and local volunteers and professional conduct, participate in, and manage training.
Gary told us he liked the idea and had in fact been having similar thoughts – which we thought might be the case because he had strongly encouraged the meeting with Wayne. He was also behind my strategic plan goal that started the conversation. Gary had already done some extensive research of corporate training, including attending learning conferences and the Disney Institute.
On October 28, 2011 Gary appointed a project team to determine a BSA learning strategy and the viability of the learning department concept. That team consisted of Doug, Gary, former volunteer training committee chair Dan Zaccara (who was also on the HR task force), and me.
The four us worked on refining the white paper for presentation to Wayne. The first meeting was with Dan, Doug, and myself in room 302 of the national office on November 16, 2011. At that meeting we reviewed the draft Doug and I had prepared, and using Dan’s thoughts and Gary’s comments from a November 13 e-mail in which he shared some of his detailed thoughts on training, came up with the following to present to Wayne:
Boy Scouts of America
BSA training (development) is currently spread between multiple departments. The departments with primary training responsibility are the Center for Professional Development and Program Impact. In addition, there are several other departments that have training functions and responsibilities. While in some cases this may be necessary, this diffusion of responsibility creates a duplication of effort, increased costs, contradictory messages, and contradictory methods. This duplication creates “silos” of knowledge and a gap between what employees are taught and what volunteers are taught, thus perpetuating we/they mentalities between volunteers and employees.
One BSA Training Department, created initially by merging the existing Professional Development and Volunteer Development teams, would give the Boy Scouts of America a common direction to train and develop the professional and volunteer mission delivery personnel of the movement. Cost efficiencies would result as personnel resources are shared, and as the training design function is reduced among various other mission delivery teams – including Membership Impact, Finance Impact, Mission Impact, and Outdoor Adventures. It would further provide a resource for other departments such as supply, camp staff, IDG, marketing, and national office personnel to develop and design training. The organization would be able to put the best training resources into whatever situation or need. An enhanced training effort will allow us to align with the desired outcomes of Journey to Excellence.
How It Would Work
The fundamental mission of the department would be to be responsible for development, design, and delivery of training and leadership development courses, using industry best practices adapted to the BSA culture. Using the BSA model, volunteer and professional subject matter experts would be teamed with professional and volunteer designers to carry out the mission. The training department would work with and through other departments and their subject matter experts to create the courses they need to support and enhance the program – both functional and developmental – that is consistent and meets desired learning objectives. Training would be delivered through multiple Centers of Excellence, instructor-led courses, learning cohorts, video conferences, and e-learning. Centers of Excellence would include outstanding local councils and districts, units, BSA conference centers, national council facilities.
The BSA “Training” Department:
• Would enhance performance support and product delivery.
• Would provide single-point accountability, as determined by the Chief.
• Working with and through the appropriate teams/departments, responsible for design, development, and delivery of courses related to mission delivery: local council professional staff; unit, district, council, and national volunteers
• Working with and through the appropriate teams/departments, responsible for design, development, and delivery of courses related to leadership development: local council professional staff; unit, district, council, and national volunteers
• Serves as an instructional design resource for all other departments of the BSA
• Creates a BSA national learning strategy using industry best practices managed to fit within the BSA culture.
• Manages a BSA learning management system that helps national and local volunteers and professional conduct, participate in, and manage training and development.
• Will enhance volunteer/professional relationships by offering instruction that is consistent across responsibilities and “languages.”
• Protects the Brand by offering opportunities including coaching to improve facilitating and presentation skills from other teams and departments.
• Establishes and enforces standards for lesson plans presented by other teams and departments.
Having one training department meets two of the six BSA Pillars: Act in the Greater Interest and Impact youth as one family, one BSA.
The department would be able to establish training and trainer standards, identify gaps, establish a process, and create consistent lesson plans, syllabi, and metrics to ensure that learning has occurred over multiple learning/teaching platforms. Working across volunteer-professional lines would allow increased and shared competencies as well as promoting a common language and knowledge base that pervades the organization. This common knowledge base would allow district executives, commissioners, and Scoutmasters to share a common post-training “language” and understanding of concepts and methods. Centers of Excellence would give professionals and volunteers formalized, experiential, “workplace-based” learning opportunities.
Discussion and seek approval of basic concept
Establish and publish a project charter by December 1, 2011
Develop a task force of professional and volunteer subject matter experts as required
The document included our first attempt at a basic organization structure. We left the reporting structure as a TBD because of the resistance Doug was getting in HR.
The white paper was presented to Wayne on November 18, 2011 for consideration at an upcoming National Cabinet meeting.
On December 4, 2011 Gary wrote to Dan, Doug, and I about his thoughts on the beginning of the project:
I would first like to thank you for your work on the Mission Delivery Center of Learning concept. I have not heard if it was delivered to Wayne, however I believe a lot of good thinking came out of it.
It continues to haunt me though how we have a very fragmented and inconsistent approach today as we train volunteers at the unit, district, council, area regional an national levels, and with how we train our council exempt and non exempt employees. It truly is all over the map and perhaps one of the key limiting factors to getting the program to youth. In our massive “relay race” where we pass the baton from one worker (some paid most not) to another – all it takes is one member in that chain to drop it and our end user suffers. With this comes a responsibility to insure our volunteers and employees are consistently trained to be effective and in concert with each other based on their assigned roles.
I would therefore like to move forward with our Mission Delivery Center of Learning concepts. While there may still be uncertainty on organizational governance over parts of the learning function, the overall strategy for Council Operations personnel of what learning takes place as well as by who would always be our responsibility. The “how” is the piece that appears to be the biggest gap yet we will have to backfill as much as possible given the current state and available resources. I have spoken about the Centers of Excellence concept a lot lately in my travels to both staff an volunteers and received a lot of positive feedback.
I think the first thing we should do is define in a broad framework a national learning strategy for those who deliver the mission of Scouting.
Role based – with certain standardization around the EDGE model. Maybe come up with intensity categories based on impact of role. Level 1 might be Unit committee member, level 5 might be a district executive, level 10 a Scout executive. I also think we should have role-based SME experts for workforce; employees and volunteers. The role based SME experts would work with the designers to develop the learning tracts. They may or may not be the trainers. These SME experts maybe national staff but they also could be volunteers.
The future state for the delivery of Scouting programs to youth is to develop, design and deliver learning that is methodically well thought out based on roles, focused on excellence in role execution, and calibrated in design to insure consistency – insuring learning has been achieved.
I will ask Mary (Jernigan) to schedule a meeting with us four hopefully by year-end to begin the process of designing the strategy framework. I am also assigning a project manager to work with the team on this project.
I look forward to this journey together.
These ideas, and others that Gary shared throughout the process, guided our direction.
While we were waiting for a response from Wayne we continued to meet. In February 2012 BSA Vice President Terry Dunn officially approved the formation of a task force to further develop an overall BSA learning strategy idea. Terry appointed Dan as the chair of the task force and Gary appointed Rod Steinagel as our project manager.
Our first official task force meeting was on February 29, 2012. Gary shared his vision of the future of training in the BSA and the possibilities of what we were undertaking.
On March 9, 2012 we received a response from Wayne:
Doug & Mark,
To follow up with the meeting we had. Regarding combining CPD & volunteer training into one training department, this has been thoroughly vetted and the decision is to not make that change at this time or in the near future. There were good arguments on both sides of the issue. I can see both the pluses & the minuses but neither outweighed the other to the point of making a change. However, this does not negate the idea of consistent, coordinated training between volunteers and employees. This ultimate goal remains achievable through cooperation & information sharing. I’m sure you agree.
Thank you for challenging us to consider something new.
Wayne Brock | Deputy Chief Scout Executive/COO
Next: Now What?