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Friday, September 6, 2013

PostScript -- Counciling and Counselors

by Bradly Baird (bio)

The same day Casey Petersen published his post on counseling and counselors, I happened to be reading a book called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't by Jim Collins. The book is a well-researched and thoughtful book that sets forth the principles upon which many companies build their business and become very successful. One of the commonalities of these great companies is that their leadership makes use of a council (not to be mistaken for the board of directors whose only motive is profit), often with membership between six and twelve in number. I wanted to share a few of Jim's points regarding this principle:

1. The council exists as a device to gain understanding about important issues facing the organization.
2. The council is assembled and used by the leading executive and usually consists of five to twelve  
3. Each council member has the ability to argue and debate in search of understanding, not from
    the egoistic need to win a point or protect a parochial interest.
4. Each council member retains the respect of every other council member, without exception.
5. Council members come from a range of perspectives, but each member has deep knowledge about
    some aspect of the organization and/or the environment in which it operates.
6. The council is a standing body, not an ad hoc committee assembled for a specific project.

I am not trying to draw any sort of correlation between these characteristics and the way we use councils inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I just thought it was very interesting that some of the best companies in America are successful because they make use of councils as a core organizing principle.

Obviously, the principle of a council is something that we - inside the faith - live as a fundamental way of life (which is why the Church is so successful). All of our quorums, auxiliaries, groups, etc. are driven by this principle; and, indeed, the great Plan of Happiness was selected at the great Councils in Heaven before the world was. Consequently, the principle has enormous eternal significance for every single human who is presently mapping his or her journey on earth.

Funny enough, I recently received an opportunity to teach this principle to my children. My daughter was called yesterday morning to be Second Counselor in the Beehive presidency and my son was called to be Second Counselor in the Teacher's Quorum presidency a couple of weeks ago. We were discussing my daughter's calling and they both asked what value a counselor brings to a presidency, and who actually has "power" in a quorum.

We spent about 15 minutes discussing the reasons why "leadership" in the church is so important and what value councils and counselors bring to the whole organization. We discussed everything from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to the Ward Council and the Council in Heaven, and even how we council together to make major decisions in our family. I also discussed many of the things that Casey mentioned in his post.

This turned out to be a great teaching moment for me and a great learning moment for my children, and it is my hope they gained some understanding that their new roles in the Church have nothing whatsoever to do with "power," but are an opportunity for them to give service and expand their spiritual knowledge of the gospel.

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