6 “P”s to Success.

The 6 P’s of success.

Proper Planning Prevents “Pretty” Poor Performance.

My step-father called them the 6 P’s to success, and I always hated hearing him recite them to me.  It was one of those sayings that just grates on you, after you hear it over and over again. However, as I got older I thought about what it was my step-father was trying to teach me, and it was somewhere around 20 years old that it all started to click.

Our level of success can be directly tied to our level and amount of planning.  This applies to everything we do, work, school, church, family, and especially Scouting.

So let’s look at the 6 P’s as they relate to our Scouting units. The way our units perform, the strength or our units, their effectiveness in the way they present the program, and the level of fun the boys are having is directly tied to the ability of our units to plan.  It is also important to note here that it also matters WHO is doing the planning.  A unit cannot thrive by allowing just the adults to do all the planning. The youth have to be involved in the process.

We havegot to do better when it comes to planning. I cannot think of a single unit that couldn’t, in some way or another, improve the way and method with which they plan.

For our Cub Scout Packs, the burden of planning will fall to the two teams of adult volunteers, the Program team and Administration team. For our Program team, plan out the adventure loops that your pack would like to work on, a year in advance. Put them on the calendar and let the parents know in advance what the plan is. For the Den Leaders, break those Adventure Loops down into your individual den meetings, let the parents know ahead of time what their boys will be working on, inform them about any home work they might need to help their sons with, and your boys will begin to have a better Scouting experience.

For the Administrative side of the pack, planning looks like logistics and planning within each sub-committee.  Think things like the Blue & Gold Banquet, Pinewood Derby, Day Camp participation, monthly pack activities outside the Pack meeting, when will the pack hold a Spring and Fall Recruiting night, what and when will the fundraiser be, which leaders need to go to training, when will advancement reports from the dens be due so we can make sure we have all the awards for the Pack meeting. These are just some of the things a Pack committee could plan, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

When we bridge over into Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouting, or Venturing, planning looks a little different. For the administrative side, the main focus is still logistics, membership, training, summer camp plans, and advancement. Those topics stay fairly consistent.  It is the program side of the Troop, Team, or Crew that shifts.

When it comes to planning the program side of a Troop, Team, or Crew the YOUTH play a pivotal role. If the youth are not planning the majority of your program, then we are doing it WRONG. It is just that simple. In the older youth programs, the youth begin to take on more and more of the leadership roles; until you reach the Venturing program where the youth are put in the drivers seat and the adults take a back seat role to what is going on.

We have all got to do a better job of empowering the youth to plan their program. It is not the sole responsibility of the adult leader to dictate what the Troop, Team, or Crew will be doing at any given meeting. That role of ScoutMASTER is a bit of a misnomer.  Your role is NOT that of a MASTER, but more of an adviser, mentor, and example.  In a Troop, you do have final authority; but that power should be held in reserve and used as little as possible.

A Varsity Coach is named so with a very specific idea in mind.  Just like in sports, the “Coach” does not play in the actual game.  He or she helps set the vision for the team, game plan how the team will react in specific situations, help prepare the team through practice, put the team in the best possible position to win, but he or she cannot play in the actual game!  The coach has to be on the sidelines yelling encouragement, empowering their players to keep trying, and to pick their players up when things don’t go as planned. Our jobs as Varsity Coaches is help plan the program, but NOT do it for them.  In the game of life, we cannot always be with our players.  At some point, they will have to play the game by themselves. We will only be able to sit back and watch.

In Venturing, your role in planning is simply that as a safety inspector and a reality check.  It is great if the youth want to plan to go SCUBA diving off the Great Barrier Reef, but a more realistic idea would be SCUBA diving off the Florida Keys or maybe even the Pacific Ocean. A reality check.

Notice, you didn’t say NO, you simply said that the parents might freak out at their original idea, and may not want to pay for a trip to Australia.

Simply put, our units could stand to do better at planning. If we are not planning, who ultimately suffers? The youth. And that is, personally, not something I want to be responsible for.

To steal a line from Benjamin Franklin: If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to FAIL!

Don’t plan to fail.

Happy Scouting.


Author: theprofessionalscouter

I am a professional Scouter, having worked for the BSA for 12 years. I started my career in 2006 as a District Executive with the Nevada Area Council headquartered in Reno, Nevada. In 2009, I moved to the Chief Seattle Council, in Seattle, Washington to serve as a Senior District Executive and then as a District Director. In January of 2016, I transferred to the Great Salt Lake Council to serve as a District Director.

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