A Top-Ten List for Council Commissioners
Monte Oberlee, Council Commissioner, Clinton Valley Council
Some of you may stay up til almost midnight for David Letterman's top-ten
list. Those in the central time zone find it an hour earlier. Today everyone
seems to have their top-ten list, even commissioners.
My top-ten list is designed to help those of us who are council commissioners
look at our priorities to guarantee good commissioner service.
NO. 10—COMMISSIONERS ARE GIVING PRIORITY ATTENTION TO CUB PACKS.
Cub Scouting is our entry-level program. First impressions are important to
a boy and his family. Cub Scouting is a five-year program; that's an awesome
opportunity to influence a boy—so Cub Scout retention is important.
Eighty seven percent of Boy Scouts have been Cub Scouts, thus healthy packs
also influence Boy Scouts. Yes, a boy's first year in the program is
Commissioners make sure that dens are active and fun. Priority is given to
packs that need the most help. Commissioners see that all den leaders and
Cubmasters have Basic Leader Training. And this time of the year, we take
steps so that packs are active all summer.
NO. 9—COUNCIL COMMISSIONERS SET A PATTERN OF SERVICE
CALLED "COMMISSIONER STYLE".
Commissioner style has 4 qualities: First is "service diplomacy." Unit
commissioners are truly a council's front line diplomats. They are taught
skills of diplomacy as described in the Commissioner Fieldbook.
Second is what we call "exceptional service." Exceptional service
exceeds unit leader expectations rather than just meeting their
The third quality of commissioner style is called "roots and wings."
We have roots as the keepers of Scouting traditions and standards. We also
have wings as we help unit leaders understand changes and new ideas to keep
Scouting relevant to a changing world.
The fourth quality is "good service recovery." That means knowing how
to right a wrong when we make mistakes. Again, the Fieldbook has
great ideas to help us right a wrong.
That's commissioner style.
NO. 8—COMMISSIONER TRAINING IS A CONTINUING PROCESS
FOR ALL COMMISSIONERS.
Be sure districts provide immediate orientation for new commissioners. Then
new commissioners receive basic training within 2 months of being recruited.
After that they experience training topics at every meeting, every month.
Upgrade the quality of your annual council commissioner conference. Do
everything possible to attract a maximum attendance—pick an attractive
setting and keep it close to home.
NO. 7—WORK AS PART OF THE COUNCIL KEY-3 TO BE SURE ADEQUATE
COMMISSIONER SERVICE IS ONE OF THE TOP PRIORITIES IN EVERY DISTRICT
IN THE COUNCIL.
Matching efforts means maximizing the results! Be sure that your council's
Mission and Vision are up front all the time. Keep your Commissioner staff
efforts consistent with that mission. This keeps everyone pulling the wagon
in the same direction!
NO. 6—PREVENT DROPPED UNITS
Be sure each district has a commitment and a strategy to provide prompt,
intensive, and persistent care when major problems occur that could threaten
the life of a unit.
Develop a no-lapse/no-drop commitment in the council and each of its
Some of us call it—"commissioner lifesaving"—providing prompt,
intensive, and often persistent care when major problems occur. A good
commissioner is prepared to respond quickly when a unit has a unit
The NO. 5 way to guarantee good commissioner service: Although a
commissioner needs unit program information, his or her success
depends largely on good people skills to effectively serve unit adults.
This happens when your district commissioners recruit persons with good
people skills, and your people use the human relations guidelines in the
NO. 4—BE SURE EVERY DISTRICT HAS A COMPLETE STAFF.
Ensure adequate recruiting in all districts to achieve a ratio of one unit
commissioner for every three units and one ADC for every five unit
Join with the Scout executive to hold district commissioners and district
Teach your key people the recruiting ideas found in the Commissioner
NO. 3—HAVE QUALITY DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS.
Work to upgrade the quality of people serving as district commissioners
and uphold a high standard for their performance.
Help district chairmen and Scout professionals understand the qualities
needed for a good district commissioner. Serve on a district nominating
committee in those districts where the council president believes you could
help the district replace its district commissioner.
NO. 2—COMMISSIONER/PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS SHOULD INVOLVE THE
FINEST FRATERNAL QUALITIES. THEY BOTH SHARE THE WREATH OF SERVICE.
Good volunteer-professional relationships are characterized by mutual
trust, mutual respect, and mutual recognition of each other's role and
When the partnership is working well, both partners are aware of their
interdependence, they have complete confidence in each other, and they
share the same objectives.
If partners have complete confidence in each other, they will seek each
other's counsel. Neither partner has a monopoly on wisdom, judgment, or
experience. When the full resources of both parties are applied to decision
making, the combination is unbeatable.
AND—DRUM ROLL—THE NO. 1 WAY TO GUARANTEE GOOD COMMISSIONER SERVICE:
BE A PERSON OF VISION.
Give all commissioners a vision of what it means to provide exceptional
commissioner service to Scout units throughout the council.
The only reason for having commissioners is to help units succeed. People
need a vision of the great things that they can accomplish. Good commissioner
leadership projects such a vision.
These top 10 are our priorities as a council commissioner. In like manner,
you and your district commissioners help unit commissioners set their
priorities. Unit commissioners should not fall into the trap of doing
everything except their appointed job—helping units succeed.
- They visit units as Wayne Bishop shared earlier.
- Then they help improve unit program and solve problems.
- And they see that each unit gets rechartered as Steve Bradley
shared with us a few minutes ago.
Good luck my fellow council commissioners and thank you for all you do