Sunday, May 8, 2011

Reaction to Derek McAuley's blog about GA priorities

You know that there are times when you feel uneasy and can't quite put your finger on it. Then you discuss things with people and then do a bit more thinking and then a bit of writing. I have been reflecting on the GA's new priorities and the proposed restructure.

The EC is not good at accepting criticism and seems to have the view that if you aren't for us then you are against us. So my dilemma becomes how do I do something that makes me feel like I have done what I can, using the skills that I have been gifted with and developed over the years around strategic development, to make a difference to my beloved Unitarian community without sending my thoughts into the abyss that opens for criticism of the EC to be buried in. I have posted the following on Derek's blog.

The more that I think about this the more uncomfortable I become. Set aside my unease at calling anything 'difficult choices' when it should have been/was about making choices about our future - which should be exciting or engaging or thought-provoking - but not difficult.

We have priorities without, as far as I can see, defining what is meant by a priority. For example is this all that will be focused on? Or are these the things that will get more financial and time support whilst recognising that other things need doing? Or is this just about development rather than maintaining other things.

Clearly the GA has other priorities such as managing its finances effectively and something about youth activity. Youth activity presumably is included in services to the movement - but is not prioritised. Unless there is to be a prioritising within the priorities. There is also the issue of social action which has been added into raising visibility - but clearly we don't take action to raise our visibility: we take social action to do some good - whether people know we have done it or not.

A concern of mine is developing leadership nationally (and at district level) - it is interesting to note that we are thought to need our leadership developing locally but not nationally. As long as we think that the only thing that the GA does is support local efforts and become visible nationally then we are missing a few tricks.

But if you ask people at the local level what the national level priorities should be you are likely to get this result. The EC with a national perspective needs to have led the creation of priorities. This is part of what I mean by developing national leadership.

Then there is plan to restructure our commissions and panels because we have this set of priorities - why? The EC knows by now that people are frustrated at the rate of change and yet here we go again on the restructuring merry-go-round. Two things - first what isn't currently working with the structure? And second why not start by giving the current structure the priorities and ask them to develop work plans to make these priorities real. If this doesn't work then that may be the time to reconsider.

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