Phase 1 - Gain Support for BLT Initiative
To confirm, you have reviewed the content of the BLT wiki site, have read through the "BLT Background & Context" and "Planning for BLT" pages, are ready and determined to take on and lead a 3 year BLT implementation effort or culture change effort for your troop. Excellent! So where do we begin?
The first phase of starting up BLT is to ensure your sponsoring organization, district and council leaders are aware of your intentions and will support or back your intentions. However, before you can start talking to your sponsoring organization, district and council, you need to have a basic definition of BLT with some idea or vision for end state, what the troop's program has to offer once BLT has been implemented.
Going to the "Planning for BLT" section on the wiki, there is a wiki page titled "Getting Started". Read this page carefully. Realize that phase 2 of the startup, the nuts and bolts plan will be a detailed breakdown of what is summarized as "Define BLT, Gain Buy In and Roll Out" on the "Getting Started" page.
The first thing you have to do is to roughly or informally define BLT by reaching out to the scouts, adults and parents of the troop. Informally solicit people for their definition and thoughts on "What is BLT". Ask people for clear examples of behaviors or expectations they have if the troop were led by the boys/scouts. From this feedback, create a basic or starting definition for BLT and use this definition. By informal or casual we mean for you to have casual conversations not a formal meeting. The formal meetings will come later on in the process. The objective is for you the leader to get enough insight and information to understand how your thinking and vision for BLT aligns to others, how much evolution or work is ahead of you for culture change and to get a feel for who will be your strong supporters, who will resist the evolution to BLT.
Presenting (Presentation Included) - With a BLT definition in hand, you can now gain support or buy in for your BLT initiative. We recommend you meet with your sponsoring organization, district and council representatives, sharing with them your intentions for implementing the BLT culture in your troop. To assist you, here is a link to a presentation for you to use. Modify as you see fit. Experience has shown that when you are presenting your initiative, focus on the benefits of the culture change. Be prepared to answer the question; "What value does evolving the Troop's culture to be BLT do for the program?" The slides answer this question in detail but simply put, no publicly available educational system, sports program or other institution can compete with the BSA’s Scouting Program when the scouts are the active leaders for hands on leadership, communication, team building and ethical decision making skills.
The objective of your meetings is to gain support from these organizations for your initiative. So why is this so important?
Following the common saying "you can't make everyone happy", the evolution to a BLT culture in your troop may conflict with some scouts and leaders who do not want to evolve their own values and behaviors to align to the BLT values and behaviors. As stated before, we are dealing with culture change. As people we do not like change, change is stressful. People may react differently to the stress associated with the culture change. A good question to ask is "Why do we need to evolve to a BLT culture?" One primary reason is to change or improve upon existing behaviors, attitudes or values that presently exist. There are some people involved in the troop that may like to continue behaving in the manner they are today. Experience has shown that in most cases, when you evolve the Troop's culture to be BLT, the people who are the root cause of the existing non-desired behaviors will challenge the evolution to BLT. As part of their challenge, these people will go directly to the sponsoring organization, district and council to complain about the change. Hopefully, your preparation will allow the sponsoring organization, district and council to inform the people in disagreement that they should support the culture change and encourage the people in disagreement to get on board with the improvements to the program. Unfortunately, some of the people in disagreement decide they do not want to change and choose to move to another troop.
Once you gain the support and buy in, you are ready for phase 2.