OT:Group Dynamics [was: NEEDS....]
I've followed the thread "NEEDS..." rather closely and appreciate the comments
made. There's a lot of shared wisdom, experience and such expressed. I am
mindful of a couple things:
--as I understand it, Iris-talk and Iris-photos are activities of the AIS
through J I Jones' role as chairperson of the AIS Standing Committee on
"Electronic Services." We're on AIS turf and enjoying the benefits
--many of us are AIS members, and by our posts, thoughts, agreements and/or
disagreements we are part of the life of the organization--active, healthy and
encouraging life. I note several remarks from folks who have entered into
active participation in Iris activities in part because of this forum.
--all organizations have some human realities, to which the AIS structure,
sections and local societies are hardly immune. One of those realities is
stagnation, where indifference, or more likely, judicious choices to put ones
energies into other activities allow a few willing and able people to do the
work of leadership, keeping track, planning and such.
After a time some groups get set in concrete and control issues begin to be
less cordial. That never lasts. Finally, fatigue and burn-out permits--or
forces--turnover and newer members find themselves in the hot seat of the
grumbles-focus. Leadership roles are energy consuming. Few of us have the
time, money and energy to carry them out. Thankfully, there are some who are
willing to carry the load.
--I once saw a list of things that were life-killers in groups. The list
started off with ten typical responses to new suggestions. I wish I could
remember them all. The list started out with:
"We've ALWAYS done it this way," shutting off instantly the consideration
of any new proposal
"We tried that once and it didn't work."
You can imagine the rest of the list--we've all heard them, and even on
occasion, perhaps, made those killer remarks.
I've seen groups develop into a rigid structures where the group life was the
personal property, one would think, of one or two people, who remain in the
leadership roll for year after year. In iris societies like this, it seems
the same people judge the shows year after year, even though other, fresh and
flexible judges are available. The same varieties, the same people get the
ribbons and acolades year after year. What can new members, if they have the
courage to stay do? Not much. Wait and outlive the problem makers? That may
require more time and patience than most of us have
I remember one instance where the healthiest response possible occurred. The
new, the energetic, and even some of the local judges--and all the
hybridizers--just simply formed a new group. leaving the few "power" people
behind to enjoy their royal turfdom. Soon, the old group simply died. The
new group thrived, at least for a time. I don't recommend this as a
method--twenty years later that new group is no longer in existence itself.
Another new, AIS affiliated organization took its place, putting on the shows
and recruiting new members. All the old problem folks are no longer
participants simply because in the meantime they went from this life on to the
Greater Life, where the dynamics of control don't arise. So, too, had the
leaders of the "new" second society passed beyond that "Veil of Silence." The
surviving third organization is moving along, recruiting new members, having
shows and enjoying iris life and gardening.
One afterthought--I visited a show while travelling several years ago. My
son-in-law and I went to the show, walked past the tables very slowly, looking
at the entries. Right behind us were a small group of women growing
increasingly intolerant of our "intruder" presence.
They never spoke to us, but made sure we overheard their remarks to each
other. We were unwelcome, and THEY were the "right" folks. The two of us
just ignored them, kept on doing what had come to do--to see what was going on
in the iris-growing of the area, and enjoyed every moment we were obstructing
the movement of the group behind us. It was plain the small group us were the
"control" group of the local society.
I'm glad I don't live there. I have never felt so unwelcome in my life!
Neil Mogensen z 7 western NC mountains
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