On Communications

November 29th, 2006 by bebersghost

Nobody would argue that communications is critical to the successful functioning of a chapter or region. I expect by now most chapter communication outside of events has migrated to IM, chapter message boards and Email. Most regional communication is through mail (flyers) and Email.

Effective chapter leaders and advisors must be able to use these technologies effectively, and I believe you will find that most do. I know in my own case technology has dramatically changed the way I communicate with the chapter and region – and for the better.

That said, it is astonishing how poorly communication works on an organizational level within BBYO – despite the investment in B-Linked and new web sites. What we see developing in B-Linked is a strategy, that left unchanged, will serve to reduce the effectiveness of advisors and in fact marginalize them.

Follow the logic:

B-Linked does facilitate communication between members, and between members and their representatives on regional and International Board. It also facilitates communication with international staff (who have access to B-Linked and can participate and moderate forums).

However, by intentionally excluding advisors, as more member communication moves to B-Linked, advisors will become increasingly isolated from the latest information and less able to function effectively.

This is illustrated clearly by recent developments at an advisor conference in Las Vegas (that I will speak on later), and by a group on B-Linked that I was introduced to by the Aleph who started it. This group is discussing BBYO policy and the impact it will have on chapters. I was informed that later today they expect to see a clarification regarding certain policies posted to the group.

Now, while policies are of great interest and importance to chapters and members, they are of critical importance to advisors who are ultimately responsible for interpreting them. There is no mechanism in place anywhere for advisors to be part of the conversation on the policies that they are expected to enforce. What communication exists is haphazard, unreliable, fragmented and ineffective. There isn’t even an effective mechanism for advisors to communicate with each other – the primitive forum on dashboard hardly qualifies and is seemingly being ignored by staff.

Right now the problem is not yet serious – as most chapter communication has not moved to B-Linked. However, as the order places more pressure on chapters to migrate to B-Linked, this is a subject that must be addressed. Is anyone listening?

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