Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AKSE's Peter Principle

AKSE's Nominating Committee issued its recommendations which become the coming year's reality.  Bylaws require the President to turn over every three years but now somehow it is no longer orthodox bylaws with the president returning as Executive VP and the president elect serving as head of the nominating committee. Maybe not even kosher bylaws, as my recollection is that the nominating committee members cannot themselves become officers. Each officer is a continuation from before, irrespective of achievements attained during their tenures.  A form of institutional incest which can be counted upon to beget recessive genes.  So for a number of years now the number of people advanced to the executive committee hovers at about zero.  Having been on the board during some of this time, I can attest to being very much underwhelmed by things like creativity and a marketplace for ideas upon which successful institutions like a synagogue depend.  The role of the religious VP seems to be to assign Torah readings when the Cantor is away.  I am hard pressed for anything that I might regard as a lasting achievement or innovation since the Rabbi's first year aboard.   Education has also become a recycling center with no innovations other than my AKSE Academy which is probably down to its final year.  We have no ways and means.  Membership reports are accountings of who has come and gone, truly devoid of anything innovative that might make the congregation attractive to anyone who is not already here.  The building people do not even have sensitivity for what the building is used for to have the right books in the pews in the right numbers before the worshippers arrive.  Our publicity has become more consistent. I cannot honestly conclude that it has been more purposeful.

Several decades back, a fellow named Lawrence Peter issued a best seller called The Peter Principle.  He observed that in many institutions people would get promoted through the ranks until they could no longer add to their own functions in a meaningful way and would then spend the rest of their time doing nothing particularly important, though becoming sufficiently entrenched in position to make it difficult to replace them with fresher minds.

As AKSE goes into what appears to be its twilight years, failure to refresh membership has its mirror in failure to refresh its leadership pool or to expand beyond comfort zones.  And Rabbi's, no matter how personable, do not alter the destiny of leadership generated attrition.

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