A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
James H. Stewart, PRP
My fellow Parliamentarians. Well, once more into the breach dear friends. It is an honor and a privilege to serve, for the 4th time, as your President.
My management style is to get good people, give them clear goals, the tools to get the job done, then get out of their way an let them do it. (For a list of my appointees, see below.)
I agree with my colleague, and opponent in this race, Lorenzo Cuesta. We must focus on membership. The first step of that has to be on “us”, and the way we treat new and potential members. We are not always as welcoming and inclusive as we should be.
A few stories (all true, I do not need to make this stuff up)
A new member, former FFA state officer, dynamic, motivated, bright young talent, just the kind we need in CSAP/NAP. Elected area secretary a few months after joining. At every meeting the PPP’s (particular picky parliamentarians, sometime called the correctness police) proceeded to nitpick every tiny detail and shredded her minutes. She is no longer a member.
A new member who suggested several way to improve the unit meetings and make them more productive, educational and fun. Was told – that’s not the way we do things, just be quiet and learn our ways. He left CSAP/NAP, and the unit died out a few years later.
A unit that is an offshoot of an old and venerable organization but would not make welcome new members who were not part of that organization. They were never rude but made it clear that if you were not (redacted) you have no place at their meetings. Several members left because of that.
A potential member comes to a unit meeting. The PPP’s get into an hour long diatribe/debate over ‘it has been moved’ or ‘it is moved’. The potential member is never heard from again.
So I ask all of us to do an attitude check. Are you a PPP? Is absolute RONR correctness the most important thing to you? Must every misstep or misstatement be firmly and immediately corrected?
Give the newbie some slack, allow them to take the time to grow, true knowledge will come. Not everyone learns at the same pace, nor takes correction well. We are here to educate, not correct. When a newbie (or and oldie for that matter) makes an error, be kind and gentle in your effort to educate them. Do not embarrass them in front of others, but speak privately, or let the mistake be the basis of a discussion about that topic. (BTW, mea culpa, I am not always so gentle myself)
Remember, honey vs. vinegar
My general philosophy is: if no one’s rights are being violated, everyone knows what is going on, and you are in the general ballpark of correct procedure, that’s good enough. Rules cannot be written to cover every nuance of action.
This change in attitude will help us recruit new members, keep the ones we have, improve our educational program, keep our clients, and make us better mentors, educators and parliamentarians. It will help make us true professionals.
Let us have a good year and improve ourselves, our communities and CSAP.