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Re: Re: OT AIS membership (Join us!) parallel

In a message dated 1/27/2005 6:42:27 AM Central Standard Time, 
tesilvers@yahoo.com writes:

> Wow! Those numbers are surprising (if not almost
> sickening). What has happened in the world of irises
> that the AIS has lost so many members? I can't imagine
> that even the coldest finger-pointers could blame this
> all on the leadership of the society. There must be
> something else going on. Is it maybe, that other
> plants and flowers have drawn people away? Or have
> irises become too fussy about growing conditions, that
> average folk won't bother? I'm just makin' guesses.

I mentally debated whether to respond immediately or wait to see what input 
might come from others. I'm sure we both would still like to hear what others 
have to say.

There are (have always been and will always be) two forces that act on every 
type of organization including those that are voluntary. They may be divided 
broadly into two components, internal and external. Sometimes actions are 
successful, other times they are not. Success henges largely on skills and 
resources. Without either failure is assured. Skill applied to application of 
resources influences success. Detrimental external forces sometimes cannot be 
counteracted but often can be with skillful allotment of resources. As can vertually 
all of the internal forces.

There is also a difference between management and leadership. Anyone can be a 
leader provided he chooses the right direction and chooses to influence that 
direction. Only management can effect change. The two rolls need not be 
mutually exclusive but can be. They were minimally alluded to in the post titled 
NEEDS. Here you demonstrate leadership by contemplating the right questions. Were 
you in management you would have not only the authority but the obligation to 
affect change (from both internal and external forces) in a way beneficial to 
the organization that adapt to these forces.

This adaptation does not often take place when management/leadership is 
insulated from its membership (stockholders) or their scrutiny. We are an example 
of this failure to adapt.

To save typing, look at our situation in light of this parallel. Ford motor 
company decides to introduce a new model. It dedicates a substantial portion of 
its assets to the design and production of this model. The model fills the 
NEEDS of some of the automobile buying public. Ford is faced with a decision. 
Should it dedicate more of its assets to filling the NEEDS of this segment of 
the public? Should it develop alternative models? There is great empathy in Ford 
throughout the organization. Which direction should it go? Which NEEDS should 
it satisfy?

We all know the decisions Ford will ultimately arrive at in this situation 
because its management serves at the will and pleasure of its stockholders, is 
responsible to them, and must justify the decisions it makes. Were it not, it 
could have made an entirely different decision.

I'm confident, the once young, Edsel Ford is quite pleased still having his 
last name associated with the core competency of company. I am just as 
confident he fought hard to continue with the model and his ego got bruised a bit in 
the process. Likely he stopped short of stacking the board with those of a 
"like mind" or Ford would be making parts for Edsels rather than a major player in 
the automobile industry today. 

There are some good, competent companies that survive today making parts for 
the Edsel.

Some (maybe even many) are content and fulfilled making parts for Edsels.

The rest of us (perhaps many more) are of a different bent. We dream of a 
Ferrari, maybe a Rolls or Bentley, but can in the present are content driving a 
Ford. It is unlikely we will ever be content making parts for Edsels.

Others (likely many, many, many more over time) bought stock in different 
organizations, became frustrated, or failed to have their NEEDS met by the 

It is doubtful any of the three above groups have quit growing irises 
provided the member or former member is alive.

I know my response has not directly answered your question. But, combined, 
your questions and my attemp at a parallel have properly framed the problem.

You are a most welcome addition to OSIS. It is my sincerest hope that our 
voluntary organization meets your NEEDS in a way that our association continues 
for a very, very long time. Already you demonstrate capacity to contribute to 
our success that is much appreciated.

Bill Burleson

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