September 29, 2020, 06:18:31 am

Perfection versus progress

Started by JohhnyD, January 13, 2020, 01:54:33 am

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JohhnyD

The current state of the art in the CAP PAO world appears to be a "top down" perfection is the goal world. Your thoughts? Comments. Stories?

CAP9907

Ok, I'll bite.

I know nothing about the CAP PAO world.... care to elaborate for someone without any knowledge?
21 yrs of service

Our Members Code of Conduct can be found here:   http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=13.0

rltw2017

Quote from: CAP9907 on January 13, 2020, 02:19:34 am
Ok, I'll bite.

I know nothing about the CAP PAO world.... care to elaborate for someone without any knowledge?


Second
TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

Gunsotsu

No bite needed. CAP PAOs are woefully behind the times and the top down perfection approach highlights it.

rltw2017

Quote from: Gunsotsu on January 13, 2020, 03:11:40 am
No bite needed. CAP PAOs are woefully behind the times and the top down perfection approach highlights it.


Can you elaborate on what "top down perfection" means? I don't doubt that it's a bad thing, but it's not a term I'm familiar with.
TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

Holding Pattern

From my experience: My squadron burned through a half dozen PAOs because certain individuals at national would micromanage us whenever something wasn't perfect. The PAOs would throw in the towel because they aren't getting paid enough to deal with that level of micromanagement versus mentorship that should have happened instead when issues came up.

Then those same people would complain at the lack of PAOs and the quality of PAOs, not understanding that they are literally their own worst enemy when they jump on their pet peeve or correct issues in a management by exception style versus a positive mentorship style that takes individual circumstance into consideration.

By way of example:

One phrase certain high level PAOs seem to hate in this org is that we are "The best kept secret." You will see those people immediately lash out at other members for mentioning it rather than creating a better strategy for messaging with those people, or acknowledging that in some areas, that messaging strategy WORKS.

Another example:

Uniform violations. Everyone hates them. But don't lecture from a podium about how we need to watch for uniform violations unless you had three people check your uniform first. Because as I left that briefing literally everyone was talking about that PAO's uniform issues and nothing else rather than how to work to prevent those issues down at lower levels.

In accordance with the core value of Respect I won't go into further details on the incidents that I could where PAOs from above have caused problems far down below that have had outsized negative consequences on recruiting and retention at the lowest levels. Suffice to say that if high ranking PAOs have a problem with lower levels they need to come up with a unified respectful communications strategy for addressing these issues and codify their concerns in regulation, because in the last 8 years I haven't seen a shred of downward respect and I expect that is going to bite this org quite hard down the road later.

etodd

As a non-PAO ... but as a life long marketing/advertising guy ... I've noticed how some folks up top always seem to want everything written as AP Style "Press Release" ... and there isn't any wiggle room for "Ad Copy", that we desperately need at appropriate times.

We have Public Affairs Officers for press releases to the media and agencies. All good.

We need a separate position and strategy, for CAP marketing and advertising. Its a totally different specialty. And we have people trying to combine it with Public Affairs. But its just too different.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

rltw2017

January 13, 2020, 04:00:54 am #7 Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 04:05:36 am by rltw2017
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 03:41:09 am
Uniform violations. Everyone hates them. But don't lecture from a podium about how we need to watch for uniform violations unless you had three people check your uniform first. Because as I left that briefing literally everyone was talking about that PAO's uniform issues and nothing else rather than how to work to prevent those issues down at lower levels.


Maybe my NCO screwed up uniform hatred hasn't fully kicked in yet, but personally I've never understood judging people because of slight uniform issues. Either correct the individual like a responsible adult or move on. That being said, I've even less understood why people don't look in the mirror and square themselves away before correcting subordinates' deficiencies.

As to the rest of your post, these are issues that the government at large has with public affairs. Organizations get so large and spread out that it becomes exponentially more difficult, if not impossible, to properly implement policy and then enforce it after implementation. Couple this with the fact that oftentimes the people pushing the changes in policy are so far removed from the operational side of the house, both by distance and time, that they make laughable missteps even though they more than likely don't intend any malice. Personally I would just smile and wave during the booty chewing and move forward with common sense afterward. At the end of the day we're volunteers, and if certain full timers who have lost an appreciation for the diligent work of unpaid members can't make sense of that for what it is, then I'd recommend not sweating their opinion and working to improve and change what you're capable of improving and changing.
TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

Fester

I had a member draft a press release last summer when 25 of our cadets attended Summer Encampment.  Focused on our LOCAL media to highlight our LOCAL cadets.  Per directions, I forwarded it to the Wing PAO.  Wing PAO went through 3 iterations where it turned from a short, locally focused release to a very lengthy, state focused release before two things happened: the newsworthiness of the release died (timeliness matters in news) and the member threw their hands in the air and gave up.

We ARE America's Best Kept Secret.  I'm sorry that some of our leadership might not like that, but it's reality.  If you're in a position above the local unit, don't get pissed off when people say that.  And for sure, don't stand in the [darn] way when we are trying to change that.
1stLt, CAP
Squadron CC
Group CPO
Eaker - 1996

Eclipse

Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.



Holding Pattern

Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.

Happened in my squadron as well, we were given the same micromanagement order.

baronet68

January 13, 2020, 07:08:42 am #11 Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 07:12:28 am by baronet68
Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.


Probably a misinterpretation in the meaning/intent of this regulatory paragraph:

Quote from: CAPR 190-17.3.2. PAOs at all levels will regularly submit news advisories and releases, with
photographs whenever possible, to the next higher headquarters. PAOs shall be aware that
selected submissions may become part of higher headquarters' external PA activities.



and this one:

Quote from: CAPR 190-14. Duties and Responsibilities. The PAO is supervised by the commander. The commander and
the PAO, as the commander's delegate, are the official spokespersons for their unit. The higher
headquarters PAOs serve as advisors, mentors and resources for the development and
implementation of an effective PA program.
(emphasis added)
Michael Moore, Maj, CAP
National Recruiting & Retention Manager

Eclipse

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 06:49:12 am
Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.

Happened in my squadron as well, we were given the same micromanagement order.


Higher HQs folks say lots of things, that doesn't mean they have the authority to actually mandate them.



JohhnyD

Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 07:11:41 am
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 06:49:12 am
Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.

Happened in my squadron as well, we were given the same micromanagement order.


Higher HQs folks say lots of things, that doesn't mean they have the authority to actually mandate them.

The PAO pursuit of perfection is a truly "top-down" phenomenon. You are correct, a local PAO can and should operate based on his unit CCs command intent, that said, upper echelons can make a CCs life difficult, so most take the path of least resistance. I have been blessed to have leadership that supports me, but the damage being done by the NHQ coterie of perfectionists is real.

JohhnyD

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 13, 2020, 04:00:54 am
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 03:41:09 am
Uniform violations. Everyone hates them. But don't lecture from a podium about how we need to watch for uniform violations unless you had three people check your uniform first. Because as I left that briefing literally everyone was talking about that PAO's uniform issues and nothing else rather than how to work to prevent those issues down at lower levels.


Maybe my NCO screwed up uniform hatred hasn't fully kicked in yet, but personally I've never understood judging people because of slight uniform issues. Either correct the individual like a responsible adult or move on. That being said, I've even less understood why people don't look in the mirror and square themselves away before correcting subordinates' deficiencies.

As to the rest of your post, these are issues that the government at large has with public affairs. Organizations get so large and spread out that it becomes exponentially more difficult, if not impossible, to properly implement policy and then enforce it after implementation. Couple this with the fact that oftentimes the people pushing the changes in policy are so far removed from the operational side of the house, both by distance and time, that they make laughable missteps even though they more than likely don't intend any malice. Personally I would just smile and wave during the booty chewing and move forward with common sense afterward. At the end of the day we're volunteers, and if certain full timers who have lost an appreciation for the diligent work of unpaid members can't make sense of that for what it is, then I'd recommend not sweating their opinion and working to improve and change what you're capable of improving and changing.

Yes. It is a mindset issue, centralized, power-driven perfectionists, versus subsidiarity driven, decentralized volunteers. My UCC course emphasized the idea that "the squadron is the heart of CAP" and yet the NHQ PAO cadre belies that with everything they do and say.

JohhnyD

Quote from: etodd on January 13, 2020, 04:00:24 am
As a non-PAO ... but as a life long marketing/advertising guy ... I've noticed how some folks up top always seem to want everything written as AP Style "Press Release" ... and there isn't any wiggle room for "Ad Copy", that we desperately need at appropriate times.

We have Public Affairs Officers for press releases to the media and agencies. All good.

We need a separate position and strategy, for CAP marketing and advertising. Its a totally different specialty. And we have people trying to combine it with Public Affairs. But its just too different.

Oh boy is that right!

Fester

Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.


Because I, as the CC, was directed to send ALL press releases to the Higher HQ PAO.
1stLt, CAP
Squadron CC
Group CPO
Eaker - 1996

JohhnyD

Quote from: Fester on January 13, 2020, 06:15:36 am
We ARE America's Best Kept Secret.  I'm sorry that some of our leadership might not like that, but it's reality.  If you're in a position above the local unit, don't get pissed off when people say that.

And for sure, don't stand in the [darn] way when we are trying to change that.
And for sure, don't stand in the [darn] way when we are trying to change that.
And for sure, don't stand in the [darn] way when we are trying to change that.


Amen, brother!

etodd

Quote from: Fester on January 13, 2020, 08:54:14 am
Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.


Because I, as the CC, was directed to send ALL press releases to the Higher HQ PAO.


Which is why we need a separate "marketing and advertising" division and position as I mentioned above.  Let your Hdqs PAO edit the PRs for the newspaper, while marketing screams success stories all over social media.

I hope you put it on social media in a timely fashion, while waiting for the official PR to send later to the newspaper.
MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

Майор Хаткевич

I mean, nothing like having Region getting involved in an Obit release to just say "the hell with it".

Holding Pattern

Quote from: Майор Хаткевич on January 13, 2020, 04:14:18 pm
I mean, nothing like having Region NHQ getting involved in an Obit release to just say "the hell with it".


Fixed that for my experience. There was a near riot at my squadron for that one.

OldGuy

January 13, 2020, 10:48:35 pm #21 Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 11:07:38 pm by OldGuy
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 05:41:39 pm
Quote from: Майор Хаткевич on January 13, 2020, 04:14:18 pm
I mean, nothing like having Region NHQ getting involved in an Obit release to just say "the hell with it".


Fixed that for my experience. There was a near riot at my squadron for that one.

I remember. Multiple fatalities, very emotional and then upper higher HQ games, for no reason.

JohhnyD

Quote from: etodd on January 13, 2020, 04:04:51 pm
Quote from: Fester on January 13, 2020, 08:54:14 am
Quote from: Eclipse on January 13, 2020, 06:36:27 am
Why was the "local" story sent up to Wing?  They have no authority to vet stories per se.


Because I, as the CC, was directed to send ALL press releases to the Higher HQ PAO.


Which is why we need a separate "marketing and advertising" division and position as I mentioned above.  Let your Hdqs PAO edit the PRs for the newspaper, while marketing screams success stories all over social media.

I hope you put it on social media in a timely fashion, while waiting for the official PR to send later to the newspaper.

Some Wing PAO types are taking control of local social media. Not regulation, but it is happening. So much for local squadron control!

rltw2017

It'd be a cold day downstairs before our Sqd PAO allowed anyone except herself to post to our Facebook page. She guards that thing like a dragon's gold.

TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

OldGuy

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 14, 2020, 01:32:21 pm
It'd be a cold day downstairs before our Sqd PAO allowed anyone except herself to post to our Facebook page. She guards that thing like a dragon's gold.

Wing regularly deleted or edited my posts. Often they denied same when showed proof they then claimed obscure violations of non-existent regulations as the reason. I am told my old unit now only has posting privileges and not admin. This is why I left that wing.

OldGuy

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 13, 2020, 04:00:54 am
At the end of the day we're volunteers, and if certain full timers who have lost an appreciation for the diligent work of unpaid members can't make sense of that for what it is, then I'd recommend not sweating their opinion and working to improve and change what you're capable of improving and changing.

Imagine being the 7th PAO in a row after beatdowns from above, at some point volunteers for that job dry up and the unit CC becomes the "default" and simply does nothing, keeping us "the best kept secret" that they claim to hate. Very odd behavior. The lack of respect for the volunteer is amazing.

Майор Хаткевич

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 13, 2020, 05:41:39 pm
Quote from: Майор Хаткевич on January 13, 2020, 04:14:18 pm
I mean, nothing like having Region NHQ getting involved in an Obit release to just say "the hell with it".


Fixed that for my experience. There was a near riot at my squadron for that one.



Meh. I was simply threatened with a suspension. Was given under an hour to decide. Unfortunately let the squadron talk me out of it (we were at the meeting when I got that call). Ended up resigning a week or so later anyway.

Eclipse

January 14, 2020, 04:24:57 pm #27 Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 05:20:47 pm by Eclipse
Quote from: JohhnyD on January 14, 2020, 06:01:09 am
Some Wing PAO types are taking control of local social media. Not regulation, but it is happening. So much for local squadron control!


Those "Wing PAO types" are volunteers like everyone else, inconsistently trained, mixed experience,
possibly taking the role on as a 5th job when they originally joined to fly or GSAR or something.

I'm the first person to call out higher HQs, especially NHQ, for shenanigans, 1/2-baked "iders", and errors
of both omission and commission, but at some point it's on you and the local CC if people vertical or horizontal are
directing actions that cause you angst.

The first time it's an anomaly, and you take the actions to correct understanding.  The second time you
have to start making decisions as to whether it's you that needs correcting, and by the third time
you need to either draw the line or disengage, but just sitting back and wearing it as histrionics
isn't going to help or fix anything, and its especially unhealthy for the respective member.

I've had more then a few occasions where I realized that things would not change, so I needed to
bid the activity, unit, or the organization as a whole, adieu.  In some cases, reality set in and my
phone rang, in others, all parties moved on.  Angst was left (mostly) at the door.

It's both amusing and disappointing when people think that an organization like CAP is going to
be somehow immune to the same foibles, politics, and frailties that every other PTA, condo board,
local council, FD, LEA, the military, and corporate organizations are subject to.



etodd

Quote from: Eclipse on January 14, 2020, 04:24:57 pm

It's both amusing and disappointing when people think that an organization like CAP is going to
be somehow immune to the same foibles, politics, and frailties that every other PTA, condo board,
local council, FD, LEA, the military, and the corporate organization is subject to.


Love it.  Absolute truth right there. And had me rolling on the floor, thinking of how many members go ballistic when you try to compare CAP with a PTA or condo board, etc. LOL

MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO - ESO

sUAS MP - sUAS Instructor - sUAS Check Pilot

rltw2017

Quote from: Eclipse on January 14, 2020, 04:24:57 pm
Quote from: JohhnyD on January 14, 2020, 06:01:09 am
Some Wing PAO types are taking control of local social media. Not regulation, but it is happening. So much for local squadron control!


Those "Wing PAO types" are volunteers like everyone else, inconsistently trained, mixed experience,
possibly taking the role on as a 5th job when they originally joined to fly or GSAR or something.

I'm the first person to call out higher HQs, especially NHQ, for shenanigans, 1/2-baked "iders", and errors
of both omission and commission, but at some point it's on you and the local CC if people vertical or horizontal are
directing actions that cause you angst.

The first time it's an anomaly, and you take the actions to correct understanding.  The second time you
have to start making decisions as to whether it's you that needs correcting, and by the third time
you need to either draw the line or disengage, but just sitting back and wearing it as histrionics
isn't going to help or fix anything, and its especially unhealthy for the respective member.

I've had more then a few occasions where I realized that things would not change, so I needed to
bid the activity, unit, or the organization as a whole, adieu.  In some cases, reality set in and my
phone rang, in others, all parties moved on.  Angst was left (mostly) at the door.

It's both amusing and disappointing when people think that an organization like CAP is going to
be somehow immune to the same foibles, politics, and frailties that every other PTA, condo board,
local council, FD, LEA, the military, and corporate organizations are subject to.


A lot of problems, this one included, could be solved with a CC that is willing to put his/her tail on the line for their people. Leaders are supposed to serve their subordinates, not their superiors.
TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

Майор Хаткевич

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 14, 2020, 06:34:10 pm
Quote from: Eclipse on January 14, 2020, 04:24:57 pm
Quote from: JohhnyD on January 14, 2020, 06:01:09 am
Some Wing PAO types are taking control of local social media. Not regulation, but it is happening. So much for local squadron control!


Those "Wing PAO types" are volunteers like everyone else, inconsistently trained, mixed experience,
possibly taking the role on as a 5th job when they originally joined to fly or GSAR or something.

I'm the first person to call out higher HQs, especially NHQ, for shenanigans, 1/2-baked "iders", and errors
of both omission and commission, but at some point it's on you and the local CC if people vertical or horizontal are
directing actions that cause you angst.

The first time it's an anomaly, and you take the actions to correct understanding.  The second time you
have to start making decisions as to whether it's you that needs correcting, and by the third time
you need to either draw the line or disengage, but just sitting back and wearing it as histrionics
isn't going to help or fix anything, and its especially unhealthy for the respective member.

I've had more then a few occasions where I realized that things would not change, so I needed to
bid the activity, unit, or the organization as a whole, adieu.  In some cases, reality set in and my
phone rang, in others, all parties moved on.  Angst was left (mostly) at the door.

It's both amusing and disappointing when people think that an organization like CAP is going to
be somehow immune to the same foibles, politics, and frailties that every other PTA, condo board,
local council, FD, LEA, the military, and corporate organizations are subject to.


A lot of problems, this one included, could be solved with a CC that is willing to put his/her tail on the line for their people. Leaders are supposed to serve their subordinates, not their superiors.



It happens. I've seen it. What ends up happening is a la Saturday Night Massacre, until someone is happy to carry out the orders.

Eclipse

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 14, 2020, 06:34:10 pm
A lot of problems, this one included, could be solved with a CC that is willing to put his/her tail on the line for their people. Leaders are supposed to serve their subordinates, not their superiors.


Yes, exactly.  Too many CC's just understandably take the path of least resistance.

Which is fair, because who wants to deal with office politics during their volunteer time?
But it's a big part of the gig.  Without that, all you have is status quo and station keeping.



rltw2017

January 14, 2020, 09:37:38 pm #32 Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 10:34:45 pm by NIN
Yeah we should swing this back to the PAO topic instead of a heated discussion about the role of NCOs in CAP

(NOTE: Thread drift on NCO topic split out into its own topic here:  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=24813.0 -NIN)
TSgt, CAP
SSG, INARNG
Former 3/75 Ranger Battalion
Why won't my back stop hurting.

Eclipse

Quote from: rltw2017 on January 14, 2020, 09:37:38 pm
Yeah we should swing this back to the PAO topic instead of a heated discussion about the role of NCOs in CAP


With that said, the OP never provided any followup as to what it actually means in a context.



CAP9907

21 yrs of service

Our Members Code of Conduct can be found here:   http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=13.0

NIN

(NOTE: Thread drift on NCO topic split out into its own topic here:  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=24813.0 -NIN)
Darin Ninness, Col, CAP
Wing Dude
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