Sunday, 5 May 2013

Concept XI


Short form:

The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.

Long form:

While the trustees hold final responsibility for AA's world service administration, they should always have the assistance of the best possible standing committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs and consultants. Therefore, the composition of these underlying committees and service boards, the personal qualifications of their members, the manner of their induction into service, the systems of their rotation, the way in which they are related to each other, the special rights and duties of our executives, staffs and consultants, together with a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers, will always be matters for serious care and concern.

Questions in service

·         When committees or individual officers are being appointed, do we pay due consideration to (1) personal qualifications (2) induction into service?
·         At group level, at Intergroup level, at Region level, etc. is the relationship between different officers and/or committees clear?
·         Are officers', committees', staffs', and consultants' rights and duties clear?
·         Are staff or other people hired being duly remunerated?

Questions in service and life

In service, I apply these questions to any board or committee I am on, at group level, at Intergroup level, at Region level, etc.

[Nominating]
·         When people are being appointed, are these principles being followed (to the extent proportionate to the role)? (1) Careful deliberation (2) painstaking investigation and interviewing (3) refusal to accept casual recommendations (4) preparation well in advance of lists of suitable candidates (5) avoidance of all temptation to haste or snap judgment.
·         When recruiting, do I avoid hiring people more able or accomplished than me, because I am threatened?
·         In life, do I avoid people more able or accomplished than me, because I am threatened?
[Finance and budgeting]
·         Do I spend money I do not have?
·         Do I make every effort to stay solvent in good times and bad?
·         Do I budget annually?
·         Do I keep a cold and watchful eye on needless cost, waste, and duplication?
·         Do I monitor budgets mid-year and revise if estimates have been wrong?
·         Do I scrutinize every new and considerable expenditure, asking 'Is this necessary or desirable now? Can I afford it, all considered?'
·         Do I set aside substantial sums for the future and for emergencies?
·         Do I, by contrast, hoard and avoid necessary expenditure out of fear?
[Public information]
·         Are my relations with the outside world sober and quiet, emphasizing attraction nor promotion, or am I sensationalist or self-promoting?
·         In my relations with the outside world, do I display these skills: 'diplomacy, a sense of what is dangerous and what is not, the courage to take calculated risks, and a readiness to make wise but tradition-abiding compromises'?
[Status of executives]
·         Do I discriminate well when I should act on my own and when limited or wide consultation is proper, and when I should ask for specific direction?
·         Do I inspire by energy and example, thereby securing willing cooperation?
·         Do I know when firmness is in order?
·         Do I act without favour or partiality?
·         Do I step up to the plate to handle 'large affairs'?
·         Do I neglect 'small affairs'?
·         Do I take the initiative in plan-making?
[Regarding paid workers]
·         When I set what others are paid, am I fair or cheap?

Quotations

From Bill W.'s essays on the Twelve Concepts:

'[Regarding the 'nominating committee'] Careful deliberation, painstaking investigation and interviewing, refusal to accept casual recommendations, preparation well in advance of lists of suitable candidates—these will need to be the principal attitudes and activities of this committee. All temptation to haste or snap judgment will need to be faithfully and constantly resisted.'

'Another problem that future committees may have to face is the subtle tendency toward deterioration in the calibre of personnel due to the very natural and usually unconscious tendency of those who suggest nominees to select individuals of somewhat less ability than themselves.'

'[Regarding the 'finance and budgetary committee] The whole temper of today's world is to spend more than it has, or may ever have. Many of us consequently are infected with this rosy philosophy … The primary function of this committee, therefore, is to see that our Headquarters operation is always solvent and that it stays that way, in good times and bad.'

'This committee must conservatively estimate each year's income. It needs to develop plans for increasing our revenues. It will keep a cold and watchful eye on needless cost, waste, and duplication. … At mid-year it will ask for budget revisions if earlier estimates have gone too much wrong. It will scrutinize every new and considerable expenditure, asking "Is this necessary or desirable now? Can we afford it, all considered?"'

'This committee, in good times, will insist that we continue to set aside substantial sums to our Reserve Fund. It will pursue an investment policy in that fund which will guarantee the immediate availability of at least two-thirds of it at any time, without loss, thereby enabling us to meet hard times or even a calamity.'

'Future committees, therefore, will ponder the difference between real prudence (which is neither fear nor hoarding and which may indeed require us sometimes to run temporary deficits) and that kind of persistent recklessness which could someday result in the severe contraction or collapse of our vital services. … The safe course will usually lie midway between reckless budget-slashing and imprudent spending.'

'[Regarding the 'public information committee'] Skill in this area implies much technical experience, diplomacy, a sense of what is dangerous and what is not, the courage to take calculated risks, and a readiness to make wise but tradition-abiding compromises. … For instance, the techniques used to sell a big time personality or a new hair lotion would not be for AA.'

'[Regarding paid workers] We believe that each paid executive, staff member, or consultant should be recompensed in reasonable relation to the value of his or her similar services or abilities in the commercial world.'

Status of executives

'No active service can function well unless it has sustained and competent executive direction. This must always head up in one person, supported by such assistants as he needs. A board or a committee can never actively manage anything, in the continuous executive sense. This function has to be delegated to a single person. That person has to have ample freedom and authority to do his job, and he should not be interfered with so long as his work is done well.'

'Real executive ability cannot be plucked from any bush; it is rare and hard to come by. A special combination of qualities is required. The executive must inspire by energy and example, thereby securing willing cooperation. If that cooperation is not forthcoming, he must know when real firmness is in order. He must act without favour or partiality. He must comprehend and execute large affairs, while not neglecting the smaller. He often must take the initiative in plan making.'

'It is the duty of the good executive, therefore, to learn discrimination of when he should act on his own and when limited or wide consultation is proper, and when he should ask for specific definitions and directions.'

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