Back in July there was a posting from Box 459 about how the General Service Conference was taking its inventory. Below are some selected abridged results. For all of them, see this link.
Summary of 2013 Inventory
Reflecting on Concept I, how well does the Conference ensure that it is the conscience of A.A. as a whole?
The Conference, as designed, is highly effective in ensuring the conscience of A.A. as a whole.
- Encourage groups to participate more fully in the Conference process.
- Feedback from the areas is very important to delegates and the current schedule for distributing background material and the agenda makes it difficult to have area membership discussions.
How well is the use of floor actions serving us?
Floor actions emphasize that everyone has a place to express their opinion…the Conference has the power to decide whether or not to hear a floor action.
• Provide background information to delegates on floor actions and the process by which they are handled at the Conference.
Reflecting on Concept X, how well is the authority of the Conference defined?
The Conference is the place where business and spirituality mix.
- Delegates should stay better plugged into board activities throughout the year.
How well does the Conference fulfill the General Warranties of Concept XII?
The Conference is excellent at encompassing a wide variety of abilities… the Conference structure itself provides an adequate safeguard to protect A.A. from any misuse of authority.
• In response to an expressed concern about the disenfranchisement of groups and A.A. as a whole from the general service structure, consider holding the Conference at a less expensive location, perhaps rotating it around the US and Canada to reduce costs and increase participation.
Should delegate areas be more consistently based on actual membership numbers?
Conference composition should not rely on rigid proportional representation by population alone.
- Further discussion is needed on the question of whether or not our largest member centers should consider resizing.
What improvements could be considered to make sure the agenda selection is more effective?
Agenda selection “goes on all year long.”
- Increased communication throughout the Fellowship is necessary for an informed Conference.
- Agenda selection should be emphasized as a year-long process, with more involvement from the Conference Agenda Committee.
How well do all Conference members communicate to the Fellowship about why we have a Conference and how the committee system works? How could we improve in this communication?
Increasing participation in the Conference process throughout the Fellowship is a primary concern.
- Perhaps agenda items that don’t make it to the Conference should go to the appropriate Conference Committee anyway, for discussion at a time outside the week-long duration of the Conference.
- Make Conference agenda information and background material available to the Fellowship and continually update throughout the year.
How well do the delegates balance their preparation for the Conference, especially in keeping with Concept III and Article Three of the Conference Charter? How could we improve in the practice of our rights and responsibilities under Concept III and Article Three of the Conference Charter?
Right of Decision is a great responsibility, carrying with it the importance of providing reasons why a decision was made; explaining the “reasoning” behind conclusions reached at the Conference is helpful throughout the Fellowship.
- Use technology to develop a secure electronic location where delegates could share and store pertinent Conference information online.
How can we improve the way time is allotted during the Conference for reports, presentation/discussion/workshop topics, and thorough discussion of agenda items?
Committee time is precious.
- Consider distributing minutes of all trustee meetings to all delegates.
- Regional trustees might consider … holding more Q&A sessions at the regional level throughout the year.
How are leadership and participation affected by late night work sessions?
Conference members are here to conduct A.A.’s business.
• Implement a time limit for different sessions and close them when the time is up.
Could the committee process be improved to more effectively introduce change in the Fellowship, and if so, how?
Flexibility is a key ingredient in change, and not everything has to be in black and white.
- Sharing between committees throughout the year can help facilitate better understanding of the issues and help introduce change; cross-pollination between committees could ease workloads.
Is the current makeup of the board (numbers and proportions) still the most effective? If not, what changes should we consider?
The current ratio of board members (Class A/Class B) is adequate..
- Trustees need to focus on bigger issues and concerns for the Fellowship and not get caught up in administrative details better handled by staff.
How could we improve the methods used to solicit trustees and directors to get the most appropriate people interested in the positions?
Broadly advertising board openings is necessary to cast a wide net..
- Focus on the social sciences, technology, finance, publishing, journalism and media worlds for new Class A candidates, with lesser emphasis on the medical and religious fields.
What more could be done to insure the General Service Board remains transparent and thorough in their reporting to the Fellowship?
Communication needs to flow both ways and members need to recognize that all information cannot always be made available.
- More articles by trustees in the Grapevine to help familiarize the Fellowship with the board’s vision.
- Consider regional teleconferences with delegates/regional trustees after board meetings to increase communication and help with transparency issues.
- Utilize technology to disseminate information through the G.S.O. Web site or perhaps provide an interactive live webinar to connect members with G.S.O. staff or trustees.
Reflecting on Concept IX, are the qualities of leadership, as identified in the leadership essay in The A.A. Service Manual, still the qualities that we should try to encourage in Conference members? If so, how successful are we in encouraging those qualities? If not, what changes should we consider?
Leadership, integrity, conviction — we need these qualities now more than ever. “Leadership” is not a bad word in A.A.
- To avoid “reading between the lines” by members, it would be helpful for trustees’ committees to include more of the motivation behind their proposals, the reasons why they might make a particular suggestion or recommendation.