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726Re: [USSABRAHAMLINCOLNNCC71809] Fw: [SFIElection2013] Killough/Bates - Proposed Team and Platform

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  • Willie Yee
    Jun 6, 2013
      I do not think we are doing particularly well in this regard. The people who attended the last meeting were the same 5 who attended the founding meeting, while we have had more than 40 people come though our membership is the past years.

      Dr. Willie K. Yee
      President Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association

      XO USS Abraham Lincoln NCC-71809
      STARFLEET International Region 7

      Commander: Prius-class Shuttlecraft Zhang Heng NCC-1701A/4 http://www.willieyee.info
      Member: Amateur Observer's Society of New York, Rockland Astronomy Club, International Dark Sky Association, Astronomers Without Borders, Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Outreach Club
      Volunteer: American Red Cross, Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter

      Oh, did I say? RETIRED.

      From: Kyle J. Wolf <wolftrek7@...>
      To: USS Abraham Lincoln <USSABRAHAMLINCOLNNCC71809@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:50 AM
      Subject: [USSABRAHAMLINCOLNNCC71809] Fw: [SFIElection2013] Killough/Bates - Proposed Team and Platform

      An interesting point brought up about retention.

      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Annie Wheeler <badwolf827@...>
      To: 2013 STARFLEET Election List <election2013@...>
      Sent: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 3:28 AM
      Subject: Re: [SFIElection2013] Killough/Bates - Proposed Team and Platform

      Ideally, AOP brings back or gives voice to those that leave or fall through the cracks.  

      We have chapters recruiting all over the place with the release of the new movie, but what will be the retention rate of these new members?   How many stay or do they sign up in the excitement of a new movie only to move on when there isn't something new going on in Star Trek? 

      It seems that we spend so much time and effort to recruit people and almost nothing to retain them or bring them back into the organization or at least find out why they left.  It wouldn't hurt also, to remind recruiters that matching the needs/wants of the new member with the best chapter for them should be the priority rather than just the one closest to the new member's address. 

      As for what would retain members...everyone getting a renewal notice (and a follow up email to the chapter CO's) 60 days before the membership expires.  Then another one if they haven't renewed within ten days of them becoming expired.  Then once a month a list going to AOP for follow-up.  Finding a few more perks for members wouldn't hurt either.

      We need to bring the RC's and CO's into the conversation on retention.  CO's should be checking their rosters monthly to see who should be renewing and following up on those that haven't, either personally or through the chapter's retention officer.  RC's should have a way to know how many members have expired.  Perhaps it's something that can be added to the MSR.

      Annie Wheeler

      On Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 11:48 PM, Wayne, Jr. Killough <wayne.killough@...> wrote:
      Answers below:

      On Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 5:27 PM, Jonathan Lane <captjon1@...> wrote:
      Welcome to the asylum, Wayne and Reed! Prepare to catch a lot of arrows.  Here's a few initial ones from yours truly.

      First, though, Wayne, how are you feeling?  Was it a serious car wreck?  I hope you're not beaten up too bad.  It's hard enough to run for CS when you're in tip-top shape!
      Thanks for asking.  I am okay now.  You never know how much damage a deer can do to your vehicle until it is too late (especially when it is a large, 10-point plus buck and you are travelling at 70 mph)!  My back and neck are still a little tender and sore, but otherwise I am okay.  It takes more than that to knock me down.  :)
      Okay, now for your platform...

      1) Member processing

      Why only three people?  Wouldn't five be better?  How about ten? I'm not saying that three is a bad choice.  I'm simply curious what the "logic" was after you and Reed "gave this considerable thought."  (And amused side note: re-using the same phrases over and over made it seem like a lot of copy-pasting was going on.  It won't cost you my vote, but I will admit to chuckling after the fourth or fifth time I read the words: "We have given this considerable thought and find that the most logical solution is..."  No insult intended, dude...just some good-natured ribbing of the new candidate.)
      The three-person/team logic is similar to something that we use here at work (as is the email process we are implementing).  We looked at having three people/teams handling the work, to ensure there isn't to much work on one or two individuals (causing burnout), yet not have too many people involved and have membership packets spread all over the place.  We wanted to keep numbers to a minimum, while still providing appropriate customer service.  Three is the number we came up with.
      As for the duplication of "logic"...I learned a LONG time ago that repeating something will cause it to sink in.  We want people to remember that we give things a logical look.  There are things that occur within our organization that, for a lack of better words, just are not logical.  They do not make sense.  We want people to see that, before we change anything, we are going to research it logically.  If we make a change, we will have a very good reason to make the change and make it the way we are making it.  :)
      2) Member Liaison

      So let's do the math.  One member contacts three members per week.  That's about 150 members per year.  By the year 2047, you will have reached out personally to every member of Fleet.

      Again, why just one person and only three members per week?  Back when Communications had the Alumni Outreach Program (AOP) and we were contacting members who had expired without renewing, Annie Wheeler and (later) James Jones were sending out dozens of e-mails at a time.  Not everyone responded, but at least we knew we were giving it our best college try.  Annie and James put a LOT of effort into that program for the two years it was active.
      The reasoning behind one person is simple - anonymity of the members called.  It's much easier for a confidence to be kept when only two people are sharing it.  All the Liaison is required to share with the EC is the number of members contacted and the results.  If you add more people to the mix, then the "who" has been called has to be shared so they are not duplicated, thus skewing the results.
      The three calls per week is a minimum.  If the person handling this wants to call 20 per week, that is fine.  We just want to set a true minimum of at least three per week.  Plus I like the number 3.  :)
      And hey, why not bring back the AOP to follow-up with expired members to see if we can bring them back in?  As I recall, a good portion had simply forgotten to renew or didn't realize they'd expired (rather than resigning in a huff).  While some did, in fact, get tired of or disinterested in Fleet, if you can even bring back 5 or 10% of the members who've expired, that's a boon to retention.
      We can definitely look at bringing the AOP back in the future (I saw Annie made a post about this...would LOVE to hear your thoughts and ideas here, Annie!!), but our immediate focus is current members.  I want to find out if they are happy or not.  If they are not happy, then I want to find out what we can do to make them happy.  Members who are happy will stay and renew.  By the time AOP contacts a member, they have already left.

      Imagine a unicorn...a beautiful unicorn with a crystal horn and silver wings that sings like Elvis and smells like strawberries and Belgian chocolate.

      Good luck on finding that CPA, Wayne.  Just curious: what if you can't?  You got a plan B, my friend?
      I think I saw that unicorn on my way to work this morning...or was it the pain meds?!  LOL!  Actually, Dan Toole brought this point up with us as well.  It made us realize we were being overzealous in our goal of having the fiduciary responsibilities handled by a professional.  As a result, we are revamping this area to include those individuals who have the necessary real life knowledge and experience even if they don't have the official certification.
      4) CQ

      Oh, I could talk your ear off on this one!  Fortunately, I think Liz has a handle on this for now...but CQ editor burn-out is like male starship captains going bald (it happens eventually to almost all of them; some faster than others, and some just won't admit it!).

      Let me say just one thing, and then I'll shut up about all my Comms war stories.  A CS needs to be willing to fire people who aren't doing their jobs and then replace them proactively.  It doesn't make you popular, and it could cost you a friendship if you don't handle it right.  And I'm not saying to dump the ballast at the first sign of trouble.  Everyone deserves a second and even a third chance.  But as CS, you have to set a point where you stop accepting, "Yeah, I know I screwed up--but now I got this.  Don't worry, everything will be different this time."

      Can you do that?  Can you really fire a CQ editor or even your Chief of Communications?  I know folks thought that Sal Lizard fired way too many people.  But he actually booted two of his closest friends from the EC when they weren't able to do their jobs properly.  And had I not kept CQ on schedule, I expected to be fired myself--not because I lived in fear but because I understood responsibility.

      Now, it's easy to answer my last question with, "Yes, Jon, I am ready to fire my Comm Chief and/or CQ editor if the newsletter gets too late."  But are you really ready, Wayne?  I'm sure Dave Blaser would have said the same thing back in January of 2011. It's easy to SAY you'd do it...
      I am more than willing and able, if it comes to to that.  I am for giving people second changes (sometimes even third chances).  I know emergencies do happen, and I will be 100% understanding in those events.  At the end of the day, however, we have a requirement and obligation to our members.  We cannot allow ourselves to get grotesquely behind in this.  If someone is not pulling their weight, they will have to be replaced.  It is a fact of life.  My staff members were told up-front how I felt about this.  If any EC member is constantly doing the job of one of their staff members, they better replace that staff member.  If I am constantly doing the job of one of my EC members, that EC member will be replaced.  If it involves providing poor service to our members, or interferes with what our members are obligated to receive as part of their membership, then that situation will be handled immediately.
      Before moving to Texas back in 2011, I was the General Manager and Show Director of the largest alternative nightclub in Missouri.  I ran that business with a firm hand and a warm heart.  My employees knew I would support them in every way possible...as long as they did their job.  During my time there, I actually had to fire three people that were extremely close to me; one was actually one of my best friends.  When you are placed into a position to where training and coaching and assisting are not fixing the problem, you only have one other choice:  remove the problem.  Two of these individuals have not spoken to me since.  The third, however, understood the situation and realized that this was not personal...it was 100% business.  My employees at my current job understand that same fact...I can be your friend, but as a manager, I have obligations to the business and to our customers.  If someone cannot understand that there is a difference between personal and business, and they put you into this position, they really were not your friend in the first place.
      You see, there's maybe ten people out of 4,900 in this club who could actually get CQ published properly and on time issue after issue...and most don't want the job (I know I don't!!!).  So before you can fire someone in charge, you kinda need to have their replacement ready in the wings to take over.  How do you, as CS, manage to do that?  (I have a few ideas, but I want to hear it from you first.)
      I definitely see where you are coming from on this one.  The Vice-Chief of Communications and the Communications staff members are part of the solution, as they will have an understanding of what their Chief does on a regular basis, and the Chief will have an understanding of what their staff does as well.
      We will have applications kept on file, providing information such as backgrounds, interests, experience, etc., so we will have a list of members who have already expressed an interest in helping with the CQ.
      A more ambitious goal we have discussed is updating the Database to have fields that show what areas Fleet members are interested in helping in, as well as what experiences and backgrounds they may have that could assist in these areas.  It is a way for members to update their personal "resumes" within our Database to show what they are capable of, as well as what they are interested in.  This would be strictly voluntary, as I do not want any member feeling they are obligated or that they have no choice but to fill these areas out.
      And finally (if necessary) I, along with the rest of the EC, am perfectly capable of pitching in to help and/or filling in completely until a replacement can be found.  We may lose a few hours of sleep a month, but we will get it done.  It is, after all, ultimately our responsibility to the members.
      5) Scholarship Program

      I'm all for moving it to the Academy.  To be honest, it's been Reed's baby for so long, and if she's gonna be the new VCS, she'll need to pass the torch anyway.  (BTW, Reed, awesome job with the Scholarship Program over the past many years!)  So my question is: what will be different if Scholarships are moved under SFA? Anything other than which CQ report they appear in?

      Also, what I'd love to hear more about is how we manage to fund these darned scholarship thingies.  Is the Scholarship fund solvent, running out of money, or just treading water each year? That's just curiosity, but I'd love to know if you guys have any fundraising ideas that haven't been thought of yet for the program.
      She and I talked about this at great length.  As I was the Commandant who actually hired her for the position of Scholarship Director, I knew how I personally felt about the position...but wanted to get her feelings as well.  We both feel that the process for scholarships should go back to how it was when I was Commandant:
      - Scholarship Director collects applications and determines if they qualify or not.
      - Scholarship Director submits qualified applications to SFA Commandant for processing.
      - SFA Commandant meets with SFA Command Staff (Vice Commandant, Academics Coordinator, and Support Services Coordinator), for voting.
      - SFA Commandant submits all applications, as well as voting results, to the Executive Committee for review and processing.
      - Chief Financial Officer works with the Scholarship Director to ensure monies are disbursed appropriately.
      The Scholarship Director will be working with the Academy Commandant and the CFO's office to look into avenues of corporate sponsorships.  This will be in addition to the current process we have in place.  As Reed has the most experience in this area, I will let her go more in-depth on the subject.  :) 
      And that's all from this pain-in-the-rear admiral...for now, at least.  Just know that you two have my utmost respect (as does Liz for being election coordinator).  Having sat in one of those EC chairs, I know how tough and often thankless the job can be.  To not only volunteer for the anguish but to actually complete for it says a lot about how much you love this club.  Whether I end up voting for your ticket or not, I wish you all the best of luck, and I wholeheartedly salute you both!
      Thanks, Jon.  Your comments mean a lot.  Having served on both the EC and the AB, I have been exposed to a lot over the years.  My heart is still with SFI and our members, and I want to serve our members to the best of my ability.  SFI has kept me busy over the years, and has actually helped keep my sanity through some very rocky times.  My devotion has never changed; I enjoy Fleet as much today as I did 17 years ago when I started...and through all of these years, I still want what is best for our members.
      Thank you for the great questions.  I hope I answered them completely for you.  If I missed anything, or if any new questions spring up from my answers, please feel free to let me know. 

      In Service,
      Admiral Wayne Lee Killough, Jr., SFMD/SFFM
      Candidate, Commander, STARFLEET

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