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What Can We Learn From Boy Scouts? — Part 1

This weekend on Saturday, I attended the Eagle Court of Honor of a scout from a Boy Scout Troop that I am commissioned. An Eagle Court of Honor is an official ceremony to recognize a boy scout who has earned the ultimate Eagle Scout rank. It was great to see a fine young man grows up to be a responsible and productive citizen. It makes us, the adult leaders/volunteers, think that all the work we have put in and all the time that we have spent in the scouting program are all worthwhile.

It also makes me think that: what can we learn from Boy Scouts to better serve our SAP user community?

Two years ago, I took a 6-day Boy Scout leadership training course called Wood Badge at Camp James Ray, which is near the Lake Texoma in Texas. While the course is tailored for Boy Scout, the skills and knowledge that I have learned can be applied to every day’s life, and definitely to our user community.

Wood Badge is highly recognized in Corporate America. It is because the course materials are based on the courses and workshops of Dr Ken Blanchard. They taught us about leadership skills like coaching and mentoring, lead by example, communication skill, team building, problem solving, managing conflict, how to leverage diversity, and all the good stuffs.

1. Coaching and Mentoring:

A great leader knows how to coach and mentor people. A coach develops skills and capabilities in another person or in a team. It is a leadership behavior and skill. It can take the form of discussion, lecture, critique, or guided practice.

A coach provides task direction and vision, builds individual and team capabilities, provides resources, facilitates external relationships for individual and teams. A coach is good at listening, supplying energy, providing focus, providing information, and exerting influence but NOT control.

The key concept is “letting go and enabling success”. A coach can transfer responsibility for success to the team. As his or her capabilities grow, a coach may become a mentor.

A mentor is an experienced member of a community who becomes a trusted guide and counselor of a less experienced person. A mentor advises, supports, and provides guidance to other people. A mentor instills positive attitude, aids in retention of members in the organization/community, and provides trusted counsel and a broader perspective on issues in the organization/community.

A mentor MUST be an effective listener. He or she uses trust and loyalty to build a relationship. Mentoring is about effective listening, careful restarting, and wise observation. It is NOT about telling and selling.

Avoid becoming a “Sage on the Stage“, a “Know-It-All” (KIA) who already has all the answers. Such a person is rarely seen as a good coach or mentor, and is rarely an effective leader.

There is always something that you do not know. You must listen to understand, and you must understand to be a good coach and an effective mentor.

2. Lead by Example:

The most effective way to lead is to “Lead by Example“. When we accept positions in leadership, people will look to us as an example. We have a responsibility to convey our values and visions through our actions. We MUST be willing to live by the standards that we are expecting others to uphold.

…to be continued in “What can we learn from Boy Scouts? — Part 2”.

Simon To

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  1. Former Member

    I totally enjoyed reading your weblog. Publishing your ideas and experience on SCN provides encouragement to several other like minded people and companies.

    Best regards, Tony.

  2. Former Member
    Hi Simon,
    Don’t know when exactly when I first heard those expressions (2002?) but they are from Allison King in a 1993 excellent document around active-learning techniques (which I read in my Masters in Adult Learning Theory)
    The reason this is so important is the following:
    “In studies of human brain growth and development, researchers discovered that we
    humans remember
    15% of what we read
    50% of what we see and hear
    75% of what we say when we talk
    90% of what we do when we are actively engaged in a task
    This means, of course, that we simply learn better by doing than by hearing about what
    someone else has learned.”
    Waiting for your next chapter with anticipation!

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