Commissioner Tools is our shortcut to analyzing unit health. It is so much more than a place to record a visit like we did in UVTS. All of the data is there for a commissioner to assess and address the health of the unit. We have a place for the unit commissioner to keep a journal of contacts with units and, most importantly, to link priority needs back to the district or council for further support. When coupled with the Unit Service Plan (the cycle of assessing a unit, creating a unit service plan, and working with the unit leaders and the district volunteers on a collaborative basis to provide guidance and resources), Commissioner Tools provides raw information that we did not have before. In order to realize the value of Commissioner Tools, the question is what are we going to do with the information that Tools provides to the commissioner corps.
The real value of Commissioner Tools should be that it helps us retain units and renew their charter. If a unit has a composite score of 2.5 or below, Tools is telling us that we have a unit in need of immediate attention. It is a red light telling us that we are in danger of losing those young people. This same red light presents a service challenge. Should we consider reallocating our unit commissioner resources to make sure that a unit with a 2.5 score or below gets the same type of one-on-one intensive commissioner service that we want to provide to our new units for their first two charter renewal cycles? Doesn’t every unit at 2.5 or below deserve intensive assistance from the district and council to improve that unit’s performance and likelihood of charter renewal? I submit the answer is yes, but that answer presents a management opportunity for the commissioner corps. The need for more intensive service for units at 2.5 or below may mean that we need to recruit and train more unit commissioners. It might also mean that we reallocate some of our unit commissioner time away from the mega-troop that has been around for 20 years and by all indications is doing well to the unit that our health indicator is telling us needs our help today. The allocation of limited resources, in this case our trained unit commissioners, is fundamentally a function of district and council administrative commissioner leadership. Each council’s needs and solutions may be different.
In the near term, we will be going through a ramp-up phase where the Tools fields are being populated with all kinds of information. If we focus on what that information is telling us about the health of each unit and design our own plan to serve the needs of that unit, we stand a much better chance of realizing the dream of using Commissioner Tools as a key means of improving unit retention. We invite you to think about how you and your district or council can best utilize the information provided by Tools, and hope that you will share your best practices with us in the coming months.