Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now I'll demonstrate the wrong way

Among the many things Wood Badge teaches are diversity, teamwork, and listening.

I had an interesting experience where the staff of a Wood Badge course I'm serving on was going through some training. The goal in these trainings is to be prepared to teach but to also practice the very things we're teaching in order to become a high performing team just in time for the course.

We were in a little bit of a hurry, trying to wrap up in time for some things a few people had to get to, and it had been a long day.

I should also point out that there were several of the staff who had served on one or more courses together previously, and throughout the time we've met together, they are always talking about things that happened in other courses. Most of the time, the Course Director was very good to explain what they were talking about and point out that there shouldn't be any types of insider jokes and discussions. That's part of the diversity thing. If you have to have it explained to you, however, that still makes you feel like an outsider.

Brother Lindsay, who will be serving as the course Senior Patrol Leader was trying to help keep the agenda moving along so we could wrap up. I have to say that he is one of the most interesting, kind, funny people I've ever met and is obviously a wonderful leader. However, he totally blew off some of the core principles we had just barely gone over in his hurry to get through everything.

We were planning ideas for a campfire, and when we got to having some type of spiritual or touching story as the fire is dying down, he pointed at one of the other staff members who happens to be a Bishop and volunteered him to do that piece, and we moved on. Whoa, what just happened? I actually had a story in mind that I was thinking about. It's a dear experience to me, so I didn't want to go blabbing about it, but it would be very applicable in such a situation. I still have a chance to share it, as I'll just talk to the guy in charge of the campfire. I just have to go out of my way to do it now. If it wasn't important to me or if in some way I actually felt like I had been slighted, I'd just blow it off and stew about it.

For me, the incident wasn't a big deal (in spite of my blogging about it now), and doesn't change my opinion of him; it just helps to make me more aware of how hard it is to be on your game all the time. If a man as good as him fails at using the principles we've just barely been talking about, how much more do I need to try to make sure I'm not forgetting the same things? That is part of why we do so many meetings before the course, so we can build relationships with each other before the course starts. It's always a work in progress.

I can totally see where some of the problems arose in the old Wood Badge. There used to be these insider groups that ran all the courses, and there wasn't a good way to get on a staff. It was always just the same group. This led to some inbreeding and stagnation of sorts that put people off. Because of this, they put some rules in place with the current course where once you've been a Course Director, you can no longer serve on a Wood Badge staff, and a certain percentage of every staff has to be comprised of first time staffers. I think this is a good thing, but it doesn't prevent all problems.