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Re: CEO for a day; How do YOU feel?

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  • bandit7577@yahoo.com
    Paul, you are right on track. WE are the CEOs of the Society. A new CEO in Nashville is NOT going to do anything to enhance our hobby. A GREAT CEO might be
    Message 1 of 29 , Apr 29 11:18 PM
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      Paul, you are right on track.
      WE are the CEOs of the Society. A new CEO in Nashville is NOT going to do anything to enhance our hobby. A GREAT CEO might be able to increase the membership of the Nashville chapter by about 50 or 60 members, and how many of those will last out the year?

      I am the CEO of the Barbershop Harmony Society, my friends and neighbors know me as a singer and a barbershopper.

      It is my job, each and every day to be a CEO; a Communicator, Entertainer, and Organizer to make sure that these people that I see each and every week of my life know that there are active and vital barbershop chapters in OUR community.
      It is my job in the chapter to Communicate, Encourage, and Organize us in activities that are Clean Entertaining and Optimistic to make sure that we want to come back next week to see old friends, bring new friends and Clearly Enjoy Ourselves.

      Our declining membership is a symptom of something deeper that is wrong, it shows that we don't want to grow, we have grown apathetic and satisfied with the status quo.
      Many of you will say differently, but all you have to do is look around, the successful chapters grow more successful. The average Joe Barbershopper has NO CHANCE of EVER singing on the International Stage in front of a huge audience, the metrics just don't support it, less than ten percent of the chapters ever compete in International each year, and many of those repeat year after year.

      We need to Clearly Evaluate Our priorities as members and chapter members. Our international CEO should be focused on things like, are our resources concentrated in the right areas? Should we spend so much time and effort in a Huge International competition that draws less than 25 percent of the membership? Could those resources be better spent in smaller ways by making sure that all of our chapters have a unified internet presence? All of our chapters are actively involved in our communities music programs? Do all of our chapters have a community service project that enhances exposure in the community?

      There are roughly 28,000 members in the Barbershop Harmony Society organized into roughly 800 chapters throughout the US and Canada. That means there are at least 800 opportunities that we can bring music to our friends and neighbors.
      That means that if just the 10 percent that work (an old cliche) we would increase membership by almost 3000 by this time next year.
      We set lofty goals and unreasonable expectations as a group sometimes, but is it unreasonable to think that in a year we could increase our numbers by a mere 10 percent? At that rate we would double our membership in 7 to 10 years.

      This post is too long already, but we all need to be CEOs.

      Cheerfully Encouraging Others,

      Doug Johnson
      Robbinsdale Minnesota
      --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, Paul Girard <paul.e.girard@...> wrote:
      >
      > And yet, in conversations, people overwhelmingly say, "Barbershop! I love that stuff." or words to that effect.
      > Maybe they think they're the only ones who feel that way because the comedians (Cheers, Conan) treat it derisively - that's their job.
      > Changing perception is the name of the game.
      > Thing is, the perception of "wonderful music" already exists. Just need to let everyone know it's OK to feel that way.
      >
      > Paul
      >
      > On Apr 27, 2012, at 12:28 AM, bbshop@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      >
      > > Re: CEO for a day
      > > Posted by: "John" jg62bbshop@... jg62bbshop
      > > Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:10 am (PDT)
      > >
      > > <snip>
      > > Why *not* call it barbershop? Because we haven't changed the public perception/stigma of this unique style of a capella singing yet. For as much as barbershop means to each and every one of us, it just doesn't mean that for everyone else. And we have to realize that before we can go about trying to change our image in their minds.
      > >
      > > <snip>
      > > John Rentz
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Montana Jack Fitzpatrick
      Doug, Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts. Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid
      Message 2 of 29 , Apr 30 12:07 PM
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        Doug,

        Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts.

        Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid year) not 28,000. Also, the number of chapters has dropped to 770. Last time I checked (about a year ago) we had 64 chapters with less than 8 members (8 are needed to maintain a charter). Finally, the percentage of chapters that actually get to the International stage, in any given year, is approximately 4%. In all this, only about 57% members show up at any chapter event. 43% just don’t come any more.

        Not trying to be nit picky----just thought you would like to know.

        You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is the aging of our society. Over one half of all members are over 65 years of age. On the other hand, our youth membership, up to and including age 26 has remained static at 1250 for the past 9 months (at least it has not dropped).

        Most of the older members have never had to promote their chapter or recruit. They had a pretty stable audience for their annual shows and the new members just kept showing up. Now that things have dried up, they just seem to motor on----meeting every Tuesday as the members slowly drop away. Of all new members, we lose over 50% in three years.

        Retention is a critical problem. If we simply retained more newly recruited members we would be growing---not declining. We have prepared a simple to use, step by step program on how to treat guests in order to ensure that they become committed, functional members of a chapter. We just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.

        Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t fun any more. There is a great conflict between those just wanting to have fun and those wanting to work hard all night to sing better and compete. There are those that suggest that, if you don’t want to compete, you should go find another chapter that just wants to have fun. The problem is that most of our chapters are in small towns and there isn’t another choice.

        Four things really seem to help: First, singing better always attracts more interested guests. Second, coupled with singing well, community exposure is vital. Chapters just have to be active and willing performers in their communities. Thirdly, encouraging quartetting seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters. Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and working towards recruiting and retaining new members is critical. Just one or two guys can do a lot but it really has to be a chapter effort.

        Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the entire chapter in recruiting new members.

        Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this is to do things to have fun. There are so many things that can be done in chapter meetings and particularly outside of chapter meetings to have fun. Just ask for ideas and watch your mailbox get filled up with them. These are the things that weave together the fabric of the barbershop chapter.

        Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are going to be the salvation of our society. If the kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a brand new world for most of us. Fathers get involved with their kids activities now. We have to create a vital link with the MENC and work together with them for the benefit of both groups. First we need to show them the benefits of such an arrangement---then prove it. The chapters have to be trained and encouraged to warmly and avidly accept younger members and to mentor them towards becoming good singers and better men. Watch the chorus competition at any level and see the small number of youth that are on the stage. We need to create such a warm welcoming environment for youth that we will have every front row composed of our youth.

        There is a lot more than this that will be facing our new CEO but these are some of the most critical needs out here in the world of barbershop.

        Just some thoughts from an old soldier.

        Blessings to all,

        Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
        Chairman, All Ages Task Force
        2012 Keynote Speaker, International Board of Directors


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Joe De Felice
        Jack old Pal, As difficult as it is to read these drastic (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say that this is the best post I have read in this thread.
        Message 3 of 29 , Apr 30 1:35 PM
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          Jack old Pal,

          As difficult as it is to read these drastic
          (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say
          that this is the best post I have read in this
          thread. And, certainly, a "call to arms" for
          the remaining troops without a doubt.

          At a continued rate of decline, such as the
          numbers indicate, we are in BIG trouble and that
          should wake up a whole bunch of concerned
          Barbershop people. I read the post you were
          answering, and I think the writer was confused on
          the issue of "using our resources" for "BIG
          International competitions". I dont know what
          resources he referred to, but the Society, I
          would imagine, needs the competitions to bring in
          bucks and keep the spirit of improvement alive
          and well, lest the artform would decline.

          Without measurement, without working at
          improvement and possibly reaching closer to the
          top, we would only sit by and watch those who
          excel, as we wither and sputter along; and, I
          believe that is just what is happening among the
          great masses who ignore that part of the
          "hobby". If you ignore competition and that
          which it takes to "get it right", you ignore the
          sharing and the part of the hobby that seems to
          have been the "draw" and the
          "hold-em"... i.e. Harmony, Chords, Balance and
          Blend and consistent overtones to raise the
          goose-bumps. We MUST aim for bringing that back
          to ALL chapters. These are not just words from
          past Judging systems, but rather what we are
          trying to preserve. We can continue as we have
          been with smaller chapters, older men (getting
          older) enjoying their "version" of what is real
          Barbershop, until they (we) die off. Sad, but
          there must be room for all of us to exist
          together and bring in new generations to carry
          on, lest the efforts of nearly 75 years be lost forever.

          You have obviously had successes with some of you
          surveys and studies of where we are, where we've
          been and who "we" are and what "we"
          want... what we need now is a great leader(s)
          to take us where we hope to go and reverse the
          downward trends reflected by your disturbing
          numbers. It is certain from these trends, that
          we have yet to correct the downward path.

          ShowGlowJoe


          At 4/30/2012 03:07 PM, Montana Jack Fitzpatrick wrote:
          >
          >
          >Doug,
          >
          >Thanks for your thoughts. I have been enjoying your posts.
          >
          >Just to keep you up to date. We are rapidly
          >approaching 22,500 members (probably by mid
          >year) not 28,000. Also, the number of chapters
          >has dropped to 770. Last time I checked (about a
          >year ago) we had 64 chapters with less than 8
          >members (8 are needed to maintain a charter).
          >Finally, the percentage of chapters that
          >actually get to the International stage, in any
          >given year, is approximately 4%. In all this,
          >only about 57% members show up at any chapter
          >event. 43% just don’t come any more.
          >
          >Not trying to be nit picky----just thought you would like to know.
          >
          >You are right about the sea of apathy in which
          >we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is
          >the aging of our society. Over one half of all
          >members are over 65 years of age. On the other
          >hand, our youth membership, up to and including
          >age 26 has remained static at 1250 for the past
          >9 months (at least it has not dropped).
          >
          >Most of the older members have never had to
          >promote their chapter or recruit. They had a
          >pretty stable audience for their annual shows
          >and the new members just kept showing up. Now
          >that things have dried up, they just seem to
          >motor on----meeting every Tuesday as the members
          >slowly drop away. Of all new members, we lose over 50% in three years.
          >
          >Retention is a critical problem. If we simply
          >retained more newly recruited members we would
          >be growing---not declining. We have prepared a
          >simple to use, step by step program on how to
          >treat guests in order to ensure that they become
          >committed, functional members of a chapter. We
          >just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.
          >
          >Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t
          >fun any more. There is a great conflict between
          >those just wanting to have fun and those wanting
          >to work hard all night to sing better and
          >compete. There are those that suggest that, if
          >you don’t want to compete, you should go find
          >another chapter that just wants to have fun. The
          >problem is that most of our chapters are in
          >small towns and there isn’t another choice.
          >
          >Four things really seem to help: First, singing
          >better always attracts more interested guests.
          >Second, coupled with singing well, community
          >exposure is vital. Chapters just have to be
          >active and willing performers in their
          >communities. Thirdly, encouraging quartetting
          >seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters.
          >Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and
          >working towards recruiting and retaining new
          >members is critical. Just one or two guys can do
          >a lot but it really has to be a chapter effort.
          >
          >Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as
          >it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the
          >entire chapter in recruiting new members.
          >
          >Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this
          >is to do things to have fun. There are so many
          >things that can be done in chapter meetings and
          >particularly outside of chapter meetings to have
          >fun. Just ask for ideas and watch your mailbox
          >get filled up with them. These are the things
          >that weave together the fabric of the barbershop chapter.
          >
          >Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are
          >going to be the salvation of our society. If the
          >kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a
          >brand new world for most of us. Fathers get
          >involved with their kids activities now. We have
          >to create a vital link with the MENC and work
          >together with them for the benefit of both
          >groups. First we need to show them the benefits
          >of such an arrangement---then prove it. The
          >chapters have to be trained and encouraged to
          >warmly and avidly accept younger members and to
          >mentor them towards becoming good singers and
          >better men. Watch the chorus competition at any
          >level and see the small number of youth that are
          >on the stage. We need to create such a warm
          >welcoming environment for youth that we will
          >have every front row composed of our youth.
          >
          >There is a lot more than this that will be
          >facing our new CEO but these are some of the
          >most critical needs out here in the world of barbershop.
          >
          >Just some thoughts from an old soldier.
          >
          >Blessings to all,
          >
          >Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
          >Chairman, All Ages Task Force
          >2012 Keynote Speaker, International Board of Directors
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Stephen Rafe
          Please see my interleaved thoughts, suggestions, and other responses. Stephen STEPHEN RAFE ... 1 -- You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are
          Message 4 of 29 , Apr 30 1:45 PM
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            Please see my interleaved thoughts, suggestions, and other responses.

            Stephen
            STEPHEN RAFE
            ----- Original Message -----

            1 -- You are right about the sea of apathy in which we are drowning. My best guess as to cause is the aging of our society. Over one half of all members are over 65 years of age.

            ** What steps are being taken to follow up the excellent report of the All Ages Task Force you headed? It deserves follow-up.

            2 -- Retention is a critical problem. If we simply retained more newly recruited members we would be growing---not declining. We have prepared a simple to use, step by step program on how to treat guests in order to ensure that they become committed, functional members of a chapter. We just can’t get anyone interested in reading it.

            ** Guidance on how to interact with guests is an important starting point. Learning how to retain newer/younger members is even-more critical. The All Ages study contains at least a partial solution: In effect, we need to understand them, meet them where they are, and help them get to where they want to go. That requires a type and level of training that the Society has not offered yet.

            3 -- Many I have talked to say that it just isn’t fun any more. There is a great conflict between those just wanting to have fun and those wanting to work hard all night to sing better and compete. There are those that suggest that, if you don’t want to compete, you should go find another chapter that just wants to have fun. The problem is that most of our chapters are in small towns and there isn’t another choice.

            ** Conflict of interests, intentions, and purpose is evident in many organizations. Studies show that most "seniors" tend to prefer socializing while younger members are more inclined toward achieving. When the conflict level is high, they younger ones move to other choruses, form quartets (and stop attending "rehearsals," or quit altogether. Seniors complain about spending too much time on the risers learning music; younger members complain about spending to much time learning music in rehearsal, period.

            4 -- Four things really seem to help:

            First, singing better always attracts more interested guests.

            ** On the surface that seems logical enough. So the question becomes: What keeps it from happening?

            Second, coupled with singing well, community exposure is vital.

            ** Choruses are being told to NOT sing in public if their quality will give the chapter or the hobby a bad name.

            Thirdly, encouraging quartetting seems to be a hallmark of successful chapters.

            ** The challenge is to keep them coming to "CHORUS rehearsals." And to give them a role in teaching music painlessly.

            Finally, getting the entire chapter involved and working towards recruiting and retaining new members is critical.

            ** This sounds logical, too. What is needed is an actionable plan -- one the members will be willing and able to carry out.

            5 -- Operation Harold Hill, now in progress, has, as it’s basic foundation, the involvement of the entire chapter in recruiting new members.

            ** Recruitment is not the core issue.

            6 -- Of course, the magic ingredient in all of this is to do things to have fun.

            ** If "having fun" meant the same thing to everyone, and IF there were a solution to "having fun," there would be no problem. Chapters need to identify and clarify what "having fun" means to them, specifically. Then they need to "sell" that concept -- and only that concept. Again, we need to go back to the All Ages study: Find out what they want and make sure they get it. And in the discovery process, figure out what keeps the chapter from allowing that to happen. One requires a critical analysis; the other, a meaningful session on visioning. Then, and only then, should the communications plan be designed and implemented.

            7 -- Just as a personal coda, I think that youth are going to be the salvation of our society. If the kids come, the fathers will follow. This is a brand new world for most of us. Fathers get involved with their kids activities now.

            ** A lot of kids these days are figuratively "fatherless" either due to divorce or overload. The present "fathers" in barbershopping are largely grandfathers and even great-grandfathers.

            8 -- We have to create a vital link with the MENC and work together with them for the benefit of both groups. First we need to show them the benefits of such an arrangement---then prove it.

            ** -- Good idea. Is anything being done to bring that about?

            9 -- The chapters have to be trained and encouraged to warmly and avidly accept younger members and to mentor them towards becoming good singers and better men.

            ** Absolutely!! And mentoring and succession planning are among the core issues. However, as the All Ages study conveys, two things need to happen: We need to accommodate their shorter attention span and faster learning curve to keep them from becoming bored, and we need to start placing a much higher value on the administrative/leadership side of this hobby.

            10 -- Watch the chorus competition at any level and see the small number of youth that are on the stage. We need to create such a warm welcoming environment for youth that we will have every front row composed of our youth.

            ** On the other hand, check out the average age of the top twenty quartets' members: It's far below the age of the Society's average member. Also see how many of them sing together in the chorus of a local chapter. Or how many sing in their chapter's chorus at all. Some of them don't even live in the same state.
            (Younger = higher achievement drive// Older = higher affiliation drive).

            This Society CAN be saved, but enough people have to care so deeply that they are willing to recognize that "the old ways" simply haven't worked, are not working, and are not likely to work in the future. And then those same people need to establish and implement a succession plan at the International and District levels and make room for new ideas. Anyone who has read the work of Chris Arguers (former James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and Organizational Behavior at the Harvard Graduate School of Business) will recognize in barbershopping the style of those who encourage the gathering of information (such as very good studies), but don't act on them in ways that might change the course of action. As Arguers says, they come up short in the actions department. http://www.winstonbrill.com/bril001/html/article_index/articles/51-100/article60_body.html

            We need action.



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • themcalexanders
            Joe, the last I remember, you weren t a member of the BHS any more. Have you considered re-upping to do your part to reverse the downward trend? Ditto for the
            Message 5 of 29 , Apr 30 2:30 PM
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              Joe, the last I remember, you weren't a member of the BHS any more. Have you considered re-upping to do your part to reverse the downward trend?

              Ditto for the others who love barbershop but don't maintain their membership in BHS, SAI, HI, or any of the affiliate organizations.

              Your membership, whether you're active or not, DOES help. And so does your support of the conventions which, like Joe said, help produce the non-dues revenue stream that keeps our dues reasonable.

              But the best possible way for the new CEO to not have as much to worry about would be if all of us were at our chapter meetings/rehearsals (whatever you call them) on a regular basis, as much as we could be, singing and participating.

              If you're not there, don't you miss it terribly? I know I do.

              Ann McAlexander
              Capital City Chorus, Region 4, SAI
              Melodeers, Region 3, SAI
              BHS wife, mom, and Associate

              --- In bbshop@yahoogroups.com, Joe De Felice <amicijoe@...> wrote:
              >
              > Jack old Pal,
              >
              > As difficult as it is to read these drastic
              > (numbers) changes in SPEBSQSA/BHS, I must say
              > that this is the best post I have read in this
              > thread. And, certainly, a "call to arms" for
              > the remaining troops without a doubt.
              >...
              > You have obviously had successes with some of you
              > surveys and studies of where we are, where we've
              > been and who "we" are and what "we"
              > want... what we need now is a great leader(s)
              > to take us where we hope to go and reverse the
              > downward trends reflected by your disturbing
              > numbers. It is certain from these trends, that
              > we have yet to correct the downward path.
              >
              > ShowGlowJoe
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