Saturday, May 14, 2011


As one insightful Commentator wrote:

"Perhaps Richard there is some room for pushback on the full barrel assault of GPT. The combined budget of our two partner agencies exceeds 600 million. The size of this sum alone calls for due diligence and input on our part and greater transparency on their part. Reviewing the programs in the 10 percent buckets and the slick and not so slick PR narratives I a non planner and aging neophyte can fill pages with questions and concerns for both agencies. Does either agency have Planning departments that rival the expertise of a NY or Chicago? (Out of fairness neither does JFNA). Do results oriented foundation find their proposals credible? Both agencies spend fortunes on resource development. Some joint expenditure and collaboration on planning wouldn't hurt."

I, with many of you, listened to and/or participated in the dictation and discussion around the Global Planning Table at the JFNA Board/Delegate Assembly meeting. After listening to the Board Chair's passionate endorsement of the GPT (which she has made up out of whole cloth) and the CEO's jargon-filled suggestion that the GPT will get us "...from where we were to where we have never been," the GPT shall going forward become the GFT -- the Global Fantasy Table.

The GFT began in February 2009 -- at a closing session of a JFNA Board Retreat where less than 100 were in attendance and from which the GFT has just grown as if a consensus supported it. In her impassioned address the Board Chair created a fantasy world -- one in which JFNA has engaged in advocacy for JAFI and JDC core allocations (it hasn't -- and never did) and one in which a $100,000,000 (++) drop in JAFI/Joint core allocations (a figure never mentioned) over the last six years was a function of nothing more than "the economy." Trust me, the only advocacy in which JFNA has engaged over the last six years has been advocacy for the GFT.

Add to this a "small framing Committee" for the GFT of representatives of 8 federations (not counting the home communities of the Chairs), the average core allocation from five of which is 4%...4%. And, no, I am not making this up. In their "imperative presentations," neither Chair nor CEO mentioned the negative feedback at the "Regional" sessions held on the GFT, nor did they comment upon or reference the unanimity of negative feedback from their own Executive Committee. Of course not; that would destroy their narrative and damage the fantasy of the GFT.

Sadly, for these leaders own ends, they continue to misinterpret the JFNA/JAFI/JDC Agreement suggesting that our two partners agreed to a GFT of JFNA's design. This is all part of the Fantasy World that the Chair and CEO have created. And, of course, there is the core fantasy -- that the GFT is not ONAD, that it will be the place to inspire and rebuild the federation system's commitment to the partners and to collective responsibility. Question: how can leaders who neither understand nor have demonstrated support for collective responsibility possibly lead let alone inspire us to these ends?

As I sat and listened to the two (and that's all there were) presentations all I can conclude is that JFNA's Chair and CEO are committed to the GFT as an end, but have no clue as to the means and, worse, not surprising to this writer, they have not listened to any feedback whatsoever that gets in the way of the Chair's demand for a GFT. This is not is failureship. These "leaders" believe that their own "BS" -- always a dangerous thing. They can't bring themselves to think of what then end result of a GFT in their image for it will mean -- the same thing that ONAD meant. The past is prologue; and the past is ignored. Bottom line, the GFT is about nothing more than the need on the Chair's part to control all things when she and JFNA have proved that they can control nothing.

Our Commentator's conclusions are correct -- our global system could do with a greater, professional planning effort in a spirit of collaboration. The GFT will as envisioned merely drive our system further from those goals.



Anonymous said...

A spirit of collaboration always begins in a process design phase based on shared desired goals and outcomes. An "A" team of 4 or 5, representative of all partners, can hash out a new model for consideration in a matter of days. And it starts with a clean slate because as we are often told..."what got us here won't get us there". :-)

Anonymous said...

"Spirit of collaboration," "shared goals," "representatives of all partners?" What organization are you referencing? Because it certainly isn't JFNA.

Anonymous said...

Why must an alternative be developed under JFNA auspices. If JAFI and JDC agree that a new collaborative planning AND advocacy process is needed, and I could imagine an integrated process that does both, then they can initiate a discussion. My fear is that while JFNA seeks control our partners for their own reasons are comfortable with the anarchy we now have.

Anonymous said...

I am a very concerned Federation Officer and JFNA Board member. I attended the Board meeting last Wednesday...but never again until we have cleaned out the current leaders. I, and my fellow Board members are treated like we have no intelligemnce whatsoever, we are dictated to and treated like children. Our CEO seems like a nice guy but totally lacking substance.

My federation CEO has asked me to hang in there; I have asked him to bring together his fellow head pros and demand change. We can tolerate this no longer