How to lead millionaires

dollar_rain_200Having more money than we could ever imagine is a dream far from the reality of most Scouters. Indeed, most of us give up a lot – not only our time, but our money and other resources – because we truly care about the Scouting program and our young people and want them to have the opportunity to enjoy success, as only Scouting can give it.

Clearly, we Scouters are not doing this for financial reward. But what if we were all comfortably well-off? What if we were in the position to be able to pay anyone their price to do the things we want done? Would we still devote our time to an activity that pays nothing in return?

Our volunteers are all in this for a payback that has nothing to do with money and everything to do with values. There’s no financial incentive to do a good job – the rewards are intangible. But managing a Scouting unit is a lot like being a boss at a company, managing a group of employees who do various jobs together as a team to accomplish a desired outcome.

Consultant and author Chip Bell asks us to imagine what would happen if we came to work one day to discover that all of our employees had won the lottery and become millionaires overnight. The spectre of authority and allure of a paycheck no longer hold sway over your staff. The amount you could pay them pales in comparison to the riches they now enjoy, making them essentially volunteers from a pay standpoint – if they choose to remain employed, that is. Bell gives us advice on how to turn our now wealthy subordinates into partners and how to leverage their skills and talents in ways other than by paying them a salary. Many of these methods align quite closely with Scouting’s values.

  • Shared vision and collective purpose – Bell advises that all participants in a workgroup become stakeholders in the process and the outcome. In Scouting, we are all working toward a collective purpose – the purpose being to support and provide a quality program for our sons, and our vision is shared with that of Scouting, along with its mission and values.
  • Leaving a legacy – We are introduced to this concept in Wood Badge training as one of the ways we can have a positive impact on our Scouts and the program. Let the things we do have a lasting positive impact, whether it is in a larger sense of chairing a council-wide task force or the small impact we have on our Scouts every day. Bell suggests that we stand on the shoulders of the corporate ancestry, and those who follow us will stand on our own shoulders in lifting the purpose even higher.
  • Candor and openness – “Complete bone honesty,” as Bell puts it, is essential to a high-functioning team’s success. Scouts and Scouters are trustworthy and honest with one another. We share information and don’t purposely undercut the efforts of others. Everything we do is for the benefit of youth, and the way we do it serves as a model for their behavior. To do any differently would violate the values that Scouting was built upon.

Next time you consider your interactions with the volunteers you deal with, imagine that they are millionaires in wealth but are striving to bring real value to their sons and yours. Support them, involve them and rely on them to do their best. The payback will come in ways too great to measure.

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This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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