The Times They Are a-Changin’
Wow, been a while since I’ve been on here… Excuse me while I dust of the cobwebs, and begin again with a bit of a rant.
Okay, rapid catch-up: A few months ago, The Organisation went through a bit of a restructure, from Counties to Regions. The basic idea (as far as I can see) was to save some money, by cutting back on some of the admin staff and other things that could be merged and getting rid of things we don’t really need, and to help standardise things across the country. The former is a very laudable goal, if a bit distant from much of the membership, who never really saw the extent of the financial trouble we were in. The latter I think is almost essential. As an organisation, we have had one qualification meaning a hundred different things across the county (sometimes from one unit to another), and that’s just not good enough.
As part of the first goal, budgets were centralised and management of money has moved up a level or two in the leadership structure, and this has caused my first rant. Let me get this clear, I’m not particularly in favour of this change, but I can see how, with a bit of shift in the way we think about things, it could be a good thing. There is no way we could carry on with people spending more money than they were bringing in, and some people refused to take responsibility for their own budgets. Now they don’t have to. The idea is that, if there is a legitimate need for something, and the money to afford it, the Region will pay for it. I can see how this could go wrong, but properly dealt with (from all levels), this could be a good thing.
Now here’s the bit that bugs me: we have had a rash of people crying ‘they’re taking away our money!’ and ‘now we’ll do all the work and they’ll get all the benefit!’ I could understand it a little from of the members who haven’t had things explained to them very well, but from some of the leaders, who I swear are just refusing to understand, this isn’t good enough. It was never ‘our money’ or ‘your money’ or ‘my money’. It is the Organisation’s money. It is charitable funds that have we have to use to pursue our charitable goals. End. Of. Story.
Now, foolishly, in the past, I’ve tried to explain to people how the ‘them doing all the work’ business probably won’t happen. After all, the people doing all the first aid, and bringing in all the money from events, they will be the people who need the uniforms, the consumables and access to vehicles. If people aren’t going out to events, what are they going to use the money on? Of cause, they don’t listen, and I’m beginning to think this is because they’ve got their heart set on being annoyed by the changes.
Which brings me on to my next point. This is a significant change in the way we work and the way we will have to approach practically everything we do. Change will always meet resistance, and it will always upset people. This isn’t an excuse to treat people badly, and it’s quite possible that some people have been treated less than ideally. There have also been some controversial decisions made by many people (past and present), and someone will always take these personally, whatever the intentions behind them. If you’re unhappy, that’s fine (er… you know what I mean…). I’ll quite happily sit down with you, let you rant away to a listening ear sympathetic ear if you think it will help you. (I’m getting good at letting such things wash over me…) I just don’t think that mouthing off about each other in public is helpful. Especially given that it looks so one-sided (the ‘bad-guys’, so to speak, are being quite reserved in public). All you’re achieving is winding some people up (which I’m beginning to think is your intention) and alienating others, and the last thing we need right now is division. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that perhaps, if we tried to pull together, to change things and allow ourselves to change, maybe things would start working a little sooner.
Maybe I’m hopelessly idealistic or naïve. Perhaps this is all a disaster waiting to happen and I just can’t see it. Or perhaps it’s just another challenge, and we’ll come out stronger on the other side. More importantly we’re only just three months into this new structure. We can’t expect everything to fall into place straight away. And it won’t be perfect, because nothing is, and that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth working for.
Just because there’s no light at the end of the tunnel yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.