Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Balance in Organizational Administration

My ideal Bishopric or Stake Presidency (or any presidency) would be a Democrat, a Republican and an Independent - a BIC, a convert and someone who had been inactive for a stretch - someone with grown kids, someone with young kids and someone with no kids - etc. I believe the best decisions are the ones that include multiple perspectives - and multiple perspectives can't exist in a monolithic organization where all the "minority members" are either silent or gone.

Those who view things differently than the majority are needed desperately in the Church, and those in the majority need to value the differing views - not just tolerate them.


ji said...

The scripture suggests there is safety in a multitude of counselors, and our Church organization reflects this. A stake presidency is three high priests, assisted by a high council of twelve high priests. But for this safety promised by the scriptures, we don't necessarily need diversity with a capital D -- persons who look similar from the outside can have very different perspectives, and they can all seek the guidance of the holy spirit. So while I appreciate your thought that all parts of the body need to be valued (there's a basis in scripture for that, too), I hope we don't start selecting people for priesthood leadership offices with an eye to Diversity. I really like our pattern of the call and the sustaining.

I prefer not to think in terms of majority and minority at church -- there is just one body made up of individuals who are doing their best -- to me, it is so very important. Going to Diversity and tokens and affirmative action, so to speak, is not very appealing to me. Such an approach emphasizes our differences instead of our similarities.

ji said...

My ward's previous bishop had counselors that were obviously different from him -- similar in faith, I suppose, but different in looks, economics, education, and so forth. The new bishop has counselors seemingly exactly like him. The previous bishop was a good bishop, and I hope the new one is, too. I suppose that each bishop nominated his counselors while seeking after the holy spirit's help.

Even so, I appreciate the benefit in looking widely, or casting the net broadly, in these matters. But it will come down to personalities -- some presiding officers (like some corporate, business, military, or other leaders) will seek assistants like themselves, and some will purposefully seek assistants with differing or complementing skills and perspectives. If I ever get there, I hope to do the latter, but I will still want to let the holy spirit guide me and the result might outwardly seem like the former.

ji said...

One last thought -- Can a priesthood holder differ from his priesthood file leader in matters of politics, economics, family size, culture, music preference, automobile choice, and so forth, and still be a good and faithful counselor? Yes, if he wants to be in his heart. Does similarity in all these matters promise a good presidency? No, but it is possible.

Papa D said...

I agree with everything you have said, ji (really, I do). I appreciate, especially, the reminder about seeking to strucutre counsels prayerfully and through revelation. I believe in that passionately. However . . .

I really do value diversity for diversity's sake. Perhaps my use of "minority" and "majority" and "diversity" is a bit problematic given their nearly omnipresent political overtones and negative connotations for many people, but I don't mean any of those social connotations. I simply mean those whose perspectives are different than most others in their group - which you mention in your first comment.

One of the reasons I am ecstatic that the Ward and Branch Council has replaced PEC as the primary unit counsel is that the Ward and Branch Councils include ALL the leaders of ALL the organizations in the unit - including the female leaders. That simple change added "diversity" in the purset sense - not by some obvious, outward appearance criterion, but simply by adding the possibility of multiple perspectives.

The initial world-wide training on the new Church Handbook of Instructions made it very clear that Bishops and Branch Presidents should ask for input from everyone and not state their own opinions and ask what others think. That is the mechanism to harness the power of diversity, imo - and that power is diluted when everyone in the group has the same perspective.

Howard said...

I like the idea of more diversity in leadership it would be great if it extended to women as well.