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A Weekly 12 Concepts Study will be held at the Winston Salem Intergroup Office, 1020 Brookstown Ave, Room 11, Winston Salem, each Tuesday, 6-7 PM.

This week we will be studying Concept XI, led by Jennifer S.

Concept XI
How We Share Leadership

While the trustees hold final responsibility for A.A.’s world service administration, they should always have the assistance of the best possible standing committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs and consultants. Therefore, the composition of these underlying committees and service boards, the personal qualifications of their members, the manner of their induction into service, the systems of their rotation, the way in which they are related to each other, the special rights and duties of our executives, staffs and consultants, together with a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers, will always be matters for serious care and concern.

In Concept XI, Bill explains in great detail the inner workings of the daily operations of A.A. – as it was in 1962. As A.A. has grown and changed, many of the descriptions would be different today, and some of the issues that are addressed are no longer relevant. Still, the full text is valuable as an historical document, and many of the principles still apply.

Underlying our service structure, there is another, internal structure consisting of the non-trustee members of the trustees’ committees; the non-trustee directors of the two operating boards, and the executives and staff members.

“Members of this group,” declares Bill, “not only support the leadership of the trustees: they share leadership with them.”
Just how do we share leadership effectively? How are our other workers to interact with each other?

In Concept XI, Bill envisions both delegation and cooperation. He describes the composition, functions and relationships of 1.) the standing committees of the General Service Board, 2.) its subsidiary operating boards, 3.) the General Service Office and 4.) the A.A. Grapevine

Here are several principles that apply to A.A. World Services, Inc. and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.:

1.) The Status of Executives
Sustained and competent executive direction is necessary for active and functioning service. One person must always lead, supported by necessary assistants. The leader must have ample freedom and authority to do his/her job, and should not be interfered with so long as work is done well.

2.) How Paid Workers Are Compensated
AA must pay its staff in reasonable relation to the value of services in the commercial world. Each paid executive, staff member or consultant should be recompensed in this equitable way. Cheap help is likely to feel insecure and inefficient, and can be very costly in the long run. Underpaying staff is neither good spirituality, nor good business. Assuming service money is available, we should therefore compensate our workers well. According to the last reports, for example, GSO’s General Manager is paid approximately $250,000 per year. This would be in range of the salary paid to a top executive in a leadership position at a major corporation.

3.) Rotation Among Paid Staff Workers
At A.A.’s General Service Office, most staff members’ assignments are changed every two years. When engaged, each staff member is expected to possess the general ability to do, or to learn how to do, any job at GSO — excepting for office management.

4.) Full “Participation” of Paid Workers is Highly Important
In Concept IV, we discussed the necessity of giving key paid personnel a voting representation on our committees and corporate boards. They should enjoy a status suitable to their responsibility, just as our volunteers do.

Application Examples

1.) Greg M. has been the General Manager of A.A.’s General Service Office for eight years. The General Manager is also president of A.A. World Services. By all accounts, Greg is an outstanding general manager and has performed his job well. But some A.A. members call for Greg to “rotate” — and the hiring of a new General Manager. Does Concept XI apply? Should the General Manager job rotate after a set number of years?
Could any other concept apply and answer this question?

2.) Todd J. is the A.A.’s public information officer and has been for two years. He has vast contacts in the media world and has weathered several conflicts, including a rash of anonymity breaks online and a rogue A.A. group in Washington DC that was featured on the cover of major magazines. Now, it’s time for A.A.’s International Convention – the largest event for A.A. in years. But Todd must rotate out of his job before the event – as all A.A. workers do every two years. His replacement has no media experience. How does this rotation make sense?

Why is rotation important? What has been your experience with rotation in your own service life?