ETE

Ray Hayden, J.D.

Ray Hayden, J.D.

Ray Hayden's Book

Ray Hayden's Book


Cat(s) of the Month:

Bella and Linus

Bella and Linus




Ray Hayden"s Report on Organizational Change


The contents of this page are not to be used in any way, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of Ray Hayden. Do not link directly to this report. Link to "CAP Insights" with instruction on how to navigate to this report (it is a link on CAP Insights).

Root Cause Analysis and Results

The Civil Air Patrol has had many years of successful existence. CAP had been able to provide quality services and programs to customers for decades and had been a strong and professional organization for longer than most current members have been alive; CAP had a history of being able to accomplish missions and goals.

Recently, CAP has been faced with fewer requests to participate in operational missions, active (qualified and mission ready personnel) membership is down, training missions have decreased and new membership applications have decreased. Finally, overall membership numbers have been decreasing. Recently CAP lost $4.5 million dollars in funding that would have assisted in the cadet program as well as training operations to qualify additional mission personnel.

If CAP does not "fix" whatever is causing this scenario, in short order, they will not have to - as the organization will be unable to fulfill their missions. Without motivated, dedicated, qualified mission personnel, CAP effectively has no organization. Without volunteer members, CAP cannot perform their mission.

In order to get to the bottom of the problem, I have worked on a root cause and analysis of the current situation so that CAP may correct any issues I discovered. In short, "root cause analysis helps to identify what, how and why something happened, thus preventing recurrence" (Rooney, J. J., and Vanden Heuvel, L. N., 2004, p. 45).

My research consisted of the creation of two surveys which I hosted on the Internet. I invited CAP customers and general membership to take these surveys so that I might discover the "who, what, where, when, how and why" of the current problems and find solutions.

The first survey that I sent out addressed the organizations leadership. The results of that survey follow.

Leadership Survey:

In my Leadership Survey, I sought to find out what CAP"s customers and membership thought of the organizations leadership and the most important functions that they serve. The results showed that there is a strong opinion that CAP"s current leadership lacks the specific skills and abilities to effectively manage the organization. The higher up in the organization, the less customers and membership thought positively about the capabilities and experience of those in leadership positions.

I also discovered that the vast majority of customers and members considered that CAP"s cadet program was the most vital mission. Of those who thought otherwise, CAP"s cadet program was the second most important mission. While I did not expect that result, it gave me great insight. CAP"s national leadership specifically scored very low in opinion as to their ability to lead and direct the organization.

With these results, I formulated a secondary survey to discover opinions relating to representation of CAP members by their leaders.

Representation Survey:

CAP has various levels of leadership in the organization due to their national scope. National level leadership is followed by Regional leaders who are followed by Wing and local unit leaders. What I discovered from this survey is that the majority of members have some faith in the ability of their immediate leadership, but the further up the ladder of command they go, the lower the trust and faith score. Members may have had some faith in their immediate supervisors, but that number was low, only 42% of respondents had faith in the ability of their immediate supervisors. At the state level, no one had complete faith in their state supervisors; almost 40% had "some faith."

At the Region level, things scored worse. CAP only has eight regions, but fully 56% of respondents had absolutely no faith in our Region leaders and only 18% had "some faith."

At the highest level, 21% of respondents had faith in CAP"s top level leaders, yet nearly 20% had no faith at all. The group in between those two extremes held out for "some faith" in CAP"s top level of leadership, demonstrating hope for evolution and change.

Analysis:

Customers and membership alike thought that CAP"s leadership was lacking in ability and skill. CAP"s members (their front line "real" customers) have the opinion that there was a lack of proper representation and support, and no transparency into CAP"s organizational operations.

Based on these results, along with what I had known about fewer funded missions, fewer training missions and declining membership combined with fewer fully qualified mission rated personnel and a slowing interest by potential new members, I further researched where any flaws might be.

In my research, I discovered that the highest level of leadership was blinded by the scenario. The current lack of trust, loss of faith in ability and overall disenchantment with the organization has been taking place over the past decade.

Who: CAP"s customers and general membership.

What: Loss of trust, lack of faith in CAP"s ability to complete missions.

Where: Nationwide, more so on the east and west coasts, less so in the middle regions.

When: Over a period of the past ten years (or so).

How: During the past decade, personnel have been elevated to positions of leadership without truly possessing the education, training and experience necessary to fill those positions. This failure in leadership capability has eroded the trust and faith previously enjoyed by the organization.

Why: In my research, I discovered that, over time, a network of personnel had been advancing faster than their peers. While the initial movement of these "lesser qualified" personnel into higher positions of authority had no immediate effect, as they rose even higher, and brought along their supporters into higher offices, the depth of ineffective leadership multiplied.

I have also discovered that, while it is now abundantly obvious that CAP has issues, it was not always so. I endeavored to discover how this situation developed "under the radar" as it where. What I see is that CAP state leaders "term out" of office and new leaders are appointed. The former leader either returns to performing some function below the level of leadership that they had, or they move upward and take on other responsibilities.

These personnel changes do not all happen at once, but are staggered over a period of four year terms, CAP"s state leaders change the makeup of the National Board throughout any one year. As capable leaders rose through the positions and "termed out" of office, the lesser qualified supporters of those leaders would move up the ladder to fill in the vacancies. As the cycle continued, a series of "leaders" who lacked the capability to effectively manage CAP"s programs would rise into higher levels of authority.

Top level leadership remained blind to the festering problem of unqualified "leaders" due to the length of time it took for the problem to grow. Now, by the time CAP could recognize that there is a problem, it is not only very wide spread, but deep as well.

CAP has lost high quality leadership, replaced with lesser qualified personnel who are ill equipped to manage programs at the region and state levels as well as those who could have been properly trained to take on those roles.

As the scenario was growing like a cancer, even CAP"s highest level leaders had seen changes in personnel, further allowing this scenario to evolve (fester).

Lastly, the current system of promoting leaders is found suspect. Currently, state leaders are appointed by the region leaders, who are themselves appointed by the National Commander. This very body of personnel elects the National Commander who is either directly or indirectly in charge of appointing the very people who elect them to office.

Organizational Change Solution

Due to the findings from my analysis, I have come up with a proposed solution in addressing the problems which had been discovered.

My research indicated that CAP had problems that ranged from loss of trust, failure to accomplish missions, lack of direction, and the general feeling from members, that CAP leaders have failed them down to the lowest levels of the organization.

The problems identified demonstrate that the root causes are deeply rooted and have grown over a period of greater than ten years. It will not be easy to rectify the situation. A multi-level approach will be required to bring the organization back on track. To make the process more difficult, that track has changed due to technological advances radically decreasing the need for CAP"s Search and Rescue mission of the past several decades.

Loss of Mission:

The first finding is that CAP"s mission has changed. Previously focused on search and rescue using direction finding equipment, technology has evolved to the point where the device being looking for will indentify (via GPS technology) specifically where it is. Registration data lists contact numbers and other vital information so that contacts may be made directly to those best enabled to perform a rescue as needed, the "search" parameter is being removed more and more each passing month as legacy equipment is updated with the newer technology.

Traditional missions have fallen by more than 85% in the past three years. In order to survive as an aviation asset, CAP is going to require new, exciting missions to have a purpose, attract new membership and retain current qualified personnel.

Loss of Mission Proposed Solution:

My research indicated that the cadet program is considered to be CAP"s most vital mission of all. Emergency Services was the second most considered mission, however, technology continues to shrink that traditional role. CAP"s third mission of Aerospace Education is a vital link to assist in creating new and exciting opportunities for the cadet program and CAP"s mission qualified personnel.

The current economic situation in the United States is begging for the United States to do everything possible to evolve high technology producing employment for the future. CAP"s Aerospace Education mission, as tied in with the cadet program, should seek out all opportunities that add value to traditional education programs, specifically in science and technology.

From this approach, new, exciting missions can be developed for current mission personnel as well as new members joining the program.

Addressing Disenchantment:

Nothing quite shakes low morale than taking on new and interesting projects. With "finding missions" at the local levels, an immediate effort on a vast number of CAP"s members can be obtained. Carefully working to develop the most promising missions from the local units and upward should bring more of CAP"s inactive members out of hiding for the possibility to participate in enjoyable operations. Happy membership relates to renewals and new membership.

The Failure of Leadership:

This is a most difficult situation to correct. Research has shown that the highest level of leadership has been corrupted, over time, by "good ole boy networks" that eroded into unqualified personnel taking on positions of authority. The leadership had evolved from a professional volunteer entity that effectively managed CAP"s programs to a group of personnel who only sought to hold a title and promise allegiance to those that moved them up the chain of command. And this is not the worst of the problem. My research discovered that some states had lines of succession planned out for what will amount to more than a decade (or more).

None of these lines of succession involved the proper mentorship, education, training or experiences that the future leaders would require to properly prepare them to take on their duties. Instead, these lines had been formed from nothing more than support for the actions of those in charge.

This problem is further compounded by the fact that there is a lack of qualified personnel to fill the leadership positions. This is further complicated by the fact that the people who need to be replaced are the very group of people who would have to, in effect, vote themselves out of office. Due to the lines of succession across the nation, it would be extremely difficult to have the board members agree to make any changes. Favoritism and favors prevent progression, yet if this is not addressed, the organization will continue to erode.

The Board of Governors:

The Board of Governors (BoG) is the highest level of leadership within the organization. They can make changes that will allow for evolution that lower levels of authority will not make. It is incumbent upon the Board of Governors to take the steps necessary to effect change.

Yet, there is a problem. The National Commander and National Vice-Commander are members of the BoG and have a vote. It has been shown through my research that people in positions of authority are highly unlikely to restrict, or rescind their own authority. The BoG members outnumber these other members and can force a change as needed however.

The Proposed Solution:

I propose that the Board of Governors make the change necessary to remove the National Commander and National Vice-Commander from the BoG and have them replaced with members of the General Membership. I propose that these General Membership members of the BoG shall never have been, nor can ever be, Corporate Officers of the organization, to eliminate the conflict of interest that now exists with the National Commander and National Vice-Commander on the BoG.

The Solution Continues:

The National Executive Committee, a very small membership of Region Commanders and the National Commander, National Vice-Commander, and a few others, performs the duties of the full National Board at times when the Full Board cannot be assembled. My research has shown that the current and former National Commanders have used this body to force agendas that did not have the organizations well being at heart. This level of the organization is redundant and rife with corruption and distrust (even among their members).

My proposal is the elimination of the National Executive Committee and the duties and responsibilities of this group fall back to the National Board in full. Technology has advanced to the point where the organization can conduct much of the volunteer governance issues online with full transparency of their actions. There is no need for the National Executive Committee at this point in time.

The National Board:

The current National Board is corrupted with personnel who are not qualified to conduct the business of the organization. There is no easy fix for this situation due to the number of positions to fill and the lack of qualified personnel to fill them.

The solution to this ongoing problem is to endeavor to motivate, educate and dedicate time and resources to those who would become members of the National Board in the future. There is no need to limit the education and training opportunities to a select few "good ole boys."

The educational programs that are available for the National Board Members should be made available to all members of the organization (other than security sensitive information, which can be filled in as needed). There is no valid reason not to train all of the membership on the roles and responsibilities of the National Board members so that they may seek out the training and experiences that they would require to qualify for these positions.

Evolution:

Since there are not enough qualified personnel to fill the positions, and the positions must be filled, those currently on the National Board will be allowed to remain until the completion of their terms.

Breaking the Chain:

There is a "self licking ice cream cone" scenario in whereby the National Board members are appointed by the National Commander through the Region Commanders (National Commander appoints Region Commanders who appoint State Commanders). The National Board then elects the National Commander. This system creates an environment that is a perfect breeding ground for corruption. Once corruption enters this sort of closed environment, it is very difficult to eradicate.

To break the chain of corruption and unqualified personnel, I suggest that the Wing Commanders and Region Commanders be elected by the General Membership. Membership in Florida votes for the Florida Commander as an example. A Region Commander is elected by the members of that Region. This becomes the basis of the National Board who can then elect the National Commander.

The Why:

Research clearly identifies that customers and members have little to zero faith in the leaders above the most local level. There is no way in which this body can be easily replaced. Even though this group of personnel is largely unqualified to fill the positions that they are in, there is no one fully qualified to take over either. Since no one is fully qualified, and changes must be made to move the organization in the right direction, I suggest allowing the most qualified personnel run for these positions and that the General Membership elect them.

Conclusions (Section):

If nothing is to change, the organization is, frankly, circling the drain of complete failure. It is very late for the actions that I am recommending, however, no action is equal to total failure, so some action must be attempted.

Organizational trust, both internal and external, is lost. Faith in organizational capability is at its lowest point since it had been established in the 1940s. A closed system that has allowed corruption to overwhelm it has created a pool of unqualified personnel that do more harm than good, and this has taken place over a period greater than ten years.

Working from the bottom up, the largest "customer" base that the organization has is its very own membership. The fastest way to any stability at all will be in the satisfaction of current members. A strong membership will create the excitement necessary for growth in stability now, and long term success in the future. Getting the General Membership engaged in finding the local missions that are valid and worthwhile will gain immediate strength for the entire organization.

Getting local membership involved with the science and technology aspects of the aerospace education and cadet programs is precisely what the recent State of the Union Address was discussing, home grown jobs with a future that cannot be outsourced. Education and youth is a primary focus. Traditional missions are fading fast and will almost entirely vanish with only minor requirements in the future, new and exciting missions must be developed for the largest possible group.

Having the General Membership elect their representatives is in no way a guarantee for the elimination of distrust or corruption, but it will have the immediate effect of giving the person who is elected the knowledge that a majority of those who toil under them, support them - as opposed to despising the good ole boy network of the current command structure. The same is true of Region Commanders.

In order to move in that direction, as National Board members are not all "termed out" of office at the same time, the current National Board members should remain in place for their term, with elections to select their replacement. It will take almost four years to replace the currently appointed National Board with elected members.

The elimination of the National Executive Committee will eradicate that potential for abuse of power and authority in the "end run" politics that research discovered, and bring representation back to the full board.

Removing the National Commander and National Vice-Commander from the Board of Governors (the highest level of authority) will correct a conflict of interest in the current system whereby National and Vice-Commanders could have a vote in projects and decisions that they directly benefit from. By replacing these members with General Membership personnel who have never been, nor can ever be, Corporate Officers, should fully eradicate any conflict of interest.

These actions are just the baby steps required to regain trust, prestige and confidence in the organization, but they will dramatically improve things for the organization and the General Membership alike.

Measurement of Success:

The measurements of success will be in the nearly immediate up-tick in dormant members becoming active. Participation should begin to pick up almost immediately, and interest in the organization will be noticeable in less than seven days.

Memberships that are set to expire should immediately show signs of greater renewal rates. This will be evident over the first two months of change implementation. New memberships should increase within the first six months after changes are made. Trust in organization capability should result in no further loss of funding for the youth program and the strong possibility of regaining the $4.5 million dollar loss from this fiscal year (or some portion thereof).

Additional interest and inquiries from local schools, counties and states in regard to educational opportunities should increase in the six to twelve months following these changes, and the activity of members across the country should also increase interest. The more members are seen doing things, participating and taking action, the greater the interest will be over time.

Buy-In:

The buy in potential is bleak without an incentive, and difficult with one. No one who needs to vote (based on current corporate documents) would vote to make the required changes, which is part of why things are as bad as they are. In order to secure a buy in from policy makers, all of those National Board members who would be "termed out" of office and replaced will be allowed to run for the position they currently hold (which would give them the opportunity to serve an additional term in office, something not currently authorized). This would be a good faith effort to win their support for this change plan.

Implementation:

Members who are currently serving on the National Board have terms. These terms are at different times based on when they originally took office. As the current term is in its last twelve months, notification would be emailed to those eligible to cast a vote for these positions. It will take up to four years to fully complete this transformation.

Resistance:

Resistance will come from three fronts, those who are currently in positions who do not wish to be replaced, those who are in the current lines of succession (which would be eliminated due to elections ending appointments) and from those who don"t like any sort of change whatsoever.

All of this can be overcome by involving as many of the General Membership in the process as possible. While elections will be new to the organization, the dictatorships of the past have nearly destroyed the organization. This late in the game, while resistance will remain, it is understood that the situation as normal cannot continue.

Evaluation

Research into organizational membership identifies that long term members have gone into a dormant state more often during the past decade. The number of member retirements has increased. A lower percentage of existing members renew their membership. A smaller percentage of new members renew their memberships for a second year. A lower incidence of inquiry is made by potential new members. Numbers of attendees at National, Regional and State level conferences has been in decline for the past five years. The number and scope of emergency service missions has dropped tremendously with recent technological enhancements. Few, if any new projects have been brought online to replace the loss of missions available.

Finally, when the key special attribute of the organization is removed from the equation, there are a plethora of other organizations that can provide all of the services of this organization.

Evaluation of Changes:

These points are also the key indicators of how successful changes can be monitored. Retirement is a bothersome number. Members have belonged to this organization until the time of their natural demise. There is no age limit or mandatory retirement in the organization. Theoretically, members should be willing to remain a part of the organization until their natural death, yet retirements have increased over the past decade. The first signs of success will be a combination of fewer retirements, a greater number of existing members renewing their memberships and those long time members who have gone into hibernation becoming more active. This will have a near immediate effect on the organization in a jump in actual participating membership.

New inquiries into membership by potential members should increase as well. This measurement will have a slight lag time of about six months. As current members become more satisfied with proactive changes, and they are working, the internal excitement will naturally attract the interest of potential new members.

As membership is given, and takes, more responsibility for the overall success of the organization, and the age of full transparency is incorporated, the organization will find a greater number of opportunities to apply the organizations specific and unique skill sets.

I have identified five key ways in which the organization can determine how well these changes can be evaluated.
1. First and foremost, the General Membership is going to take notice that changes are developing. While many may be fearful of these changes initially, if they are included in the process, openness and transparency in the process will be an instant indication that the Board of Governors is working hard for them. A new excitement will begin to unfold.

2. With that new excitement, the next phase of success will be that "hibernating" members will come out and participation in the organizations programs will increase.

3. As the membership comes back to life, those who might not have continued their membership will renew, thus increasing "real" membership numbers.

4. With re-energized and renewed membership participating, morale will increase and an increase in new member applications should take place within six months of major changes being implemented.

5. Relationships with the host client will improve and the $4.5 million dollar lost funding may be recovered. If changes are implemented effectively and efficiently, as any funding becomes available, potential recovery of some of those funds become possible, even for this year.
Conclusions

Change is not easy; this organization has experienced some rather unfortunate changes in the past decade that have cost reputation, trust and opportunity. The problems that plague the organization today did not happen overnight and they did not take place in a vacuum.

As with all change, there will be resistance to the changes simply because some percentage of people will always resist the change. The best opportunity to be successful in initiating the changes suggested here are to begin at the top and work downward into the organizational management.

These changes are suggestions aimed at allowing the organization to survive and thrive. By continuing with behaviors, policies and procedures of the past, the organization has arrived at the "edge of the cliff" it stands at today, the obvious failure is just one step away. Change is not simply a nice idea, based on the evidence available, change, and rapid change at that, is required.

As the "buck stops here" level of upper management, it is incumbent upon the Board of Governors in their fiduciary duties to the organization to study these changes and realize the benefits they bring, then implement them as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Should the organization fail at this point forward, that responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the Board of Governors.

The contents of this page are not to be used in any way, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of Ray Hayden. Do not link directly to this report. Link to "CAP Insights" with instruction on how to navigate to this report (it is a link on CAP Insights).