Monday, October 15, 2012

Beginning with the Ends in mind

First in a series of posts about the October 2012 UUA Board Meeting

Weighing in at nearly 190 pages, the October board packet has a number of reports that will impact the decisions made by the UUA Board.  With two full days reserved for ends review (and potential revision), the packet includes the summary of Gathered Here, which along with the 2010 Healthy Relationships Summary, feedback on the original "Ends" from 2009, and three World Cafes with Youth Caucus, will be used as input into that potential revision.

It is no secret that the UUA board and staff have struggled with how to interpret and hold ourselves accountable for our current Ends, so it is appropriate that we are also going back to the basics.  The Governance Working Group sent copies of the Carver Guide "Ends and the Ownership" a month or so ago, and governance consultant Susan Radwan will start us with a training session.

A careful reading of the Carver booklet raised several points for me (my comments are in blue):

"If a slogan is needed for public relations purposes, it can best be established by the CEO..." (page 13)  One of the early criticisms of the "ends" is that they did not "sing" with inspiring and religious language, though we did try to incorporate reverential language.  In hindsight, I wonder if we traded off clarity for poetry. Can policies be inspiring, reverent, AND clear?

"Ends policies must describe what it is the CEO's job to accomplish, not the board's philosophies, theology, or world view." (page 13)  I wonder about this one in the same context as I describe above. 

"If the organization is the subject of the sentence and the verb "belongs" to it, you can be sure you have written about means." (page 14)  Interesting test.... does that suggest "the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association will inspire people to lead lives of humility and  purpose..." is a means for member congregations?

"Policies requiring advocacy, support, and quality services are about means." (page 15)

"Trade associations do not produce the ends that their members produce... Associations produce something else.  What?" (page 16)  This one really gives me pause about the first part of the Ends, Policy 1.0.1, which describes what congregations do.  This was also an early criticism of the Ends -- how can the UUA Board hold the UUA staff accountable for what congregations do (or don't)?   

Also covered in the meeting will be by-laws change recommendations for GA 2013 (including the recommendations from the Fifth Principle Task Force about general assemblies), an adoption of our operational definitions of the non-congregational Sources of Authority and Accountability, plans for GA 2013, and a full day of multi-cultural training.  Check back here next week for detail on these and more.  

1 comment:

John Blevins said...

Linda, I appreciate your giving us context for this work, as you move forward. Seeing the questions you are tackling gives me a sense of "wholeness" about this work that warms my heart. Blessings,