PLACE THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT POSITIONS
Two years ago, the Milwaukee County
Council’s professional staff was quite
top-heavy, with one manager for each
of the nine youth-serving executives.
This cumbersome structure slowed
decision making, complicated
communications, and misdirected
resources, according to Council
President Mike Derdzinski.
“We realized that to have a strong
Scouting organization, we needed
strong grassroots support,” Derdzinski
said. “It takes people at the level of the
neighborhood and the community
and the church to make that happen.”
To refocus the council, Scout Executive
Sharon Moulds eliminated three
management positions, a move the
executive board applauded. One
professional was ready to retire, while
the region found positions with
different councils for the other two.
“They didn’t miss a day of work,”
Eliminating the three management
positions has improved communications,
which had resembled the old game of
telephone, where a message becomes
garbled as it moves from person to
person. “We’ve eliminated one of
those opportunities to have the story
changed,” Derdzinski said.
Beyond flattening its structure, the
council has worked to develop a staff
that mirrors the community. Today,
four of the council’s nine youthserving
executives are African
American and one is Hispanic;
four are women.
Creating a leaner, more diverse staff has
paid dividends. “In membership, we’re
holding our own and even doing a little
better than the national average,”
Derdzinski said. “When you think about
the financially sustainable council, we’re
in a much better place now than we
were a couple of years ago.”
The Pikes Peak Council is also much
stronger today than in previous years.
Friends of Scouting support has
increased by more than a third since
2003, traditional and Scoutreach
membership continues to grow, and
the Colorado council has earned the
Quality Council Award for three
Much of the council’s success stems
from a recent staff reorganization that
focused on improving field service.
Among other things, Scout Executive
Ian Lilien took steps to tie program to
district operations. “If the two aren’t
connecting, you can have chaos,”
At the same time, the council has
worked to reduce distractions that
plagued district executives. For
example, a weekly e-mail newsletter
answers many basic questions
executives once had to deal with.
“That has made a big difference,” Lilien
said. “It has freed up our staff
But perhaps the council’s greatest
accomplishment has been to identify
the best possible person for each
position on the professional staff.
Council President Brent Hawker credits
Lilien for most of the council’s success.
“He is a uniquely gifted person in that
he can find the right person for the
right position,” Hawker said. “It’s fun to
work with the council. We’ve got a lot
of positive things happening.”