Governance Discussion on Linkedin PSIA Group

July 9, 2013 A member’s Response to Eric Sheckleton Posts on Linkedin

Governance and Credentialing

For more information and to comment on the discussion, please go to the Linkedin PSIA group

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=56609&trk=hb_side_g

GOVERNANCE

First, I want to thank you Eric for your time. I want to make sure that all of us, even though we

may disagree, do appreciate and thank you and the rest of the volunteers of PSIA-AASI for their

time. I also understand that all of our volunteers have been sincere in their efforts to do the best

job they can for the benefit of our organizations.

I will post governance comments here and credentialing comments on that thread.

In summary, here is what I hear you saying:

– You believe that ASEA is serving the divisions and can’t and won’t do anything unless the

divisions agree

– You believe that ASEA is responsive to the divisions

– You believe that ASEA has been communicating with the members appropriately regarding the

current issues

– You believe that the GTF was properly conducted and that everyone at the meeting agreed

– You believe that the Affiliation Agreement is appropriately crafted, in line with the purpose of

ASEA and the divisions, that protects the interests of the divisions and that all should sign it

First a general comments:

Regarding informing the members – Posting something on ASEA website pretty much assures

that not many members will see it. Publishing something in 32 Degrees means that many will

read it, but it might be dated and not relevant. Emailing it assures that more people will read it

and it will be timely. Publishing something any place that only represents one side of an issue, is

biased and not good reporting. This has unfortunately been the case in all the ‘informative’

emails that ASEA has sent out. The email sent out to RM members regarding their withdrawing

from the CRM was condescending and written to create questions in the minds of their members.

IMHO, it was inappropriately phrased. It seems that ASEA has room to improve regarding

communication if ASEA truly wants to be responsive to the needs of the divisions.

1. ASEA BOARD ACCOUNTABILITY: The underlying premise that the divisions are ultimately

in control and that ASEA is there to meet their needs is flawed. Our current system of governance

is in conflict with that premise.

Currently, ASEA is governed by a board that is not representative of the divisions, but which

claims to represent all the individual members. Therefore, the divisions actually have NO SAY in

the governance of ASEA. Originally, national was the partnership of the divisions. It no longer is.

National was originally created by the divisions to help them do together what is better done

together. Starting back in 2007, the divisions were eliminated from the governance of ASEA. The

ASEA board representatives do not represent the divisions, but rather the members at large.

Therefore, the divisions do not have any direct vote on what the ASEA board decides to do.

July 9, 2013 In Response to Eric Sheckleton Posts on Linkedin

Governance and Credentialing2. AFFILIATION AGREEMENT: I find it difficult to understand how you and others can still be

so supportive of it when the divisions, representing 74% of the membership of ASEA, had their

attorneys review it and on professional legal advice, they did not sign it. The simple fact that it

was not signed by all should be enough evidence, that it needs to be revisited instead of simply

hoping that some re-education will compel the rest of the divisions to sign it. Please do not

continue to quote parts of the Affiliation Agreement as if it is some wonderful, albeit

misunderstood document, that is enforceable. It is not. If it were, it would have been signed by all

the divisions.

Regardless of how many times, you or others repeat that it is the divisions, etc. who are

important and running the show, the only logical conclusion of this current stand-off is that

ASEA has not been responsive to the divisions. Had ASEA been responsive, we would not have

non-affiliated divisions, a Joint Resolution (representing 74% of the membership) or a GTF.

3. ASEA EMPOWERED: It is obvious that the divisions have not been the ones in control, but

rather that ASEA has evolved to be the 10th organization that is separate and apart from the

divisions. THIS is the an issue with governance and THIS was not the intent of the original

organization. ASEA is not PSIA-AASI (except in the d/b/a’s).

4. JOINT RESOLUTION: IN addition, look at the Joint Resolution and the GTF. If ASEA is truly

being run by the divisions and is responsive to them and they are making the decisions, why did

you have divisions representing about 74% of the members object? Why did they have to meet

and create the Joint Resolution in order to be heard by ASEA?

5. MEMBERSHIP: That ASEA doesn’t think there is an issue with the current concept of

membership is illogical. If ASEA were a membership organization, then someone could join it.

They can’t. One first has to join a divisions to be able to join ASEA. Certainly the concept of dual

membership is confusing and should be cleared up. Membership is at the heart of the Joint

Resolution Group which wants to see us move to a clear definition of ASEA having the 9

divisions as its members. This would make it more of a partnership. However, this was barely

given air time at the recent GTF. Why?

6. GTF: IN regards to the GTF, clearly we have a problem with our current system of

governance. If our governance did not need changing, then we would not have the GTF. Contrary

to what the Agenda of the GTF meeting implied, it is not a matter of simply “educating” the nonaffiliated divisions. That idea was insulting.

Meetings can be organized and run that do not give all the participants freedom to truly say what

they believe. Look at the agenda of the GTF, look at the recommendations and look at RM’s

report. Had the GTF meeting been run in a more appropriate manner, RM would not have been

compelled to issue the report that they did.

ASEA has a track record of organizing such meetings. Tony Brown lamented the fact that often at

meetings everyone is in agreement, but afterwards that seems to fall apart. If this happens, I

would suggest you look at how the meetings are run and organized. That is an earmark of what

some refer to as kool-aid meetings.

7. INFORMATIVE REPORTS VERSUS RECOMMENDATIONS: There is a big difference in a

meeting report that could be issued immediately following a meeting and conclusive

recommendations. The fact that the GTF issued recommendations that were not supported by all

is very sad indeed. The fact that you say that everyone agreed, (that you are trying to use that to

justify the resulting recommendations by the GTF), points to the conclusion that you do not

believe that RM’s report has much to do with the way the GTF was run. Should not the fact that

RM felt so strongly not make you go back and question your evaluation of the GTF meeting and

its recommendations?

(It is odd that a group would want to issue recommendations if it never took a vote after giving

the participants time to reflect over the suggestions with their constituents.)

It seems pretty obvious that since we have the results that we do, the GTF was not run in such a

way to allow everyone to speak their minds. I would look at the underlying ground rules,

premises and format of the meeting. There is no getting around the fact that this current GTF is

not working. You cannot disregard that fact.

8. INTERSKI COMMENTS: The comments we heard at Interski are not hearsay, PJ, myself and

others heard them made. I will let you know privately who said them, one person.

We have a long way to go right now regarding informing the membership about the issue of

governance. So far, the emails from ASEA have only portrayed what ASEA finds favorable. If

ASEA truly thinks it is responsive to all the divisions, this should be rectified.

I would hope that:

1. The fact that we have an unsigned Affiliation Agreement, a Joint Resolution and a crumbling

GTF;;

2. The fact that the divisions are not represented at all in the current structure of ASEA, not even

by the President’s Council;

that these lead to the conclusion that we do have a governance issue. More over, that to solve this

governance issue, the GTF is not the answer.

I would like to suggest that we to enter into a process of re-structuring, reconciliation and

growth such as Horst suggested – a process that would not be facilitated by ASEA, but rather by

the divisions, collectively. ASEA no longer is a partnership of the divisions. By its own creation,

ASEA is an independent organization separate from the divisions with a board that does not

represent the divisions. It is the #10, not a group of divisions. Therefore, ASEA cannot be the

unbiased organizer of any process to reform our structure of governance, especially if such

reorganization may well result in ASEA ceasing to exist in its present form.

Wouldn’t it be great if the executive director and ASEA board called the division leadership

together (presidents, staff and national board members) and ask, “What can we do to better help

you do your job of attracting, educating and serving our collective members?”

CREDENTIALING

First, I want to thank you Eric for your time. I want to make sure that all of us, even though we

may disagree, do appreciate and thank you and the rest of the volunteers of PSIA-AASI for their

time. I also understand that all of our volunteers have been sincere in their efforts to do the best

job they can for the benefit of our organizations.

I will post credentialing comments here and governance comments on that thread.

In summary, here is what I hear you saying:

– You believe that there is an issue with the consistency of the divisions regarding certs

– You believe that outside credentialing might improve the product for the members

– You believe that ASEA has been and has to be responsive to the needs and requests of the

divisions regarding accreditation and certification

– You truly believe that the standards are developed by the divisions under our current system of

governance

– You believe that SEP is working well and is the right program for us to follow

– Until more time is spent pursing the outside accreditations, you don’t know what implications

such accreditation will have on the divisions ability to certify if they don’t comply.

– Until more time is spent pursing the outside accreditations, you don’t know if national would be

in charge or not

– The 1986 agreement enables divisions to use the PSIA marks in conjunction with certification.

First a few general comments:

Regarding informing the members – Posting something on ASEA website pretty much assures

that not many members will see it. Publishing something in 32 Degrees means that many will

read it, but it might be dated and not relevant. Emailing it assures that more people will read it

and it will be timely. Publishing something any place that only represents one side of an issue, is

biased and not good reporting. This has unfortunately been the case in all the ‘informative’

emails that ASEA has sent out. The email sent out to RM members regarding their withdrawing

from the CRM was condescending and written to create questions in the minds of their members.

IMHO, it was inappropriately phrased. It seems that ASEA has room to improve regarding

communication if ASEA truly wants to be responsive to the needs of the divisions.

Discussion:

1. CONSISTENT STANDARDS AMONGST DIVISIONS: The underlying premise that the

divisions are ultimately in control and that ASEA is there to meet their needs is flawed. Our

current system of governance is in conflict with that premise.

Currently, ASEA is governed by a board that is not representative of the divisions, but which

claims to represent all the individual members. Therefore, the divisions actually have NO SAY in

the governance of ASEA. Originally, national was the partnership of the divisions. It no longer is.

National was originally created by the divisions to help them do together what is better done

together. Starting back in 2007, the divisions were eliminated from the governance of ASEA. The

ASEA board representatives do not represent the divisions, but rather the members at large.

Therefore, in regards to credentialing, the divisions do not have any direct vote on what the

ASEA board decides to do. This means that the creation and enforcement of standards is not in

the hands of the divisions, but rather ultimately in the hands of ASEA. We are fortunate that

ASEA has not yet exorcised this power, We are fortunate that there are “good” people involved

with our organizations.

One would assume, that like a good king, ASEA would listen to the divisions, but they don’t have

to. SEP, as it is designed, asks for further empowerment of the national office to carry out the

goals of SEP. SEP does not empower the divisions, but rather the national office.

The reason why the divisions are currently not on the same page is because ASEA stopped the

processes which had brought them together – the 2-3 times a year ed/cert meetings and examiner

exchanges. However, the tasks forces that the national office created to take the place of the ed/

cert meetings did not work. Without the divisions regularly meeting and having examiner

exchanges, they grew apart in their certifications. The fact that SEP was created to solve the

issue of consistency in education and certification is proof that the system set up by ASEA was

failing.

However, instead of going back to a system that had proven to work, SEP was developed to

enable ASEA and the national office to direct meetings by divisional reps as they saw fit. Of

course, those who attended those meetings welcomed them. However, the control of those

meetings was not as it had been, in the hands of the divisions, but rather now in the hands of the

national office. The current SEP only casually resembles the previous meetings of the ed/cert

managers.

2. CERTIFICATION OF THE CERTIFICATIONS: The argument that outside accreditation

would make our certifications more valuable is almost nonsensical. The Divisions and National

were originally established to certify instructors for the industry. It is and has been the industry

standard for years. All the resorts accept PSIA-AASI as the certifying agency and many grade

their pay scales on those certification. PSIA-AASI certifications have been accepted by an

international agency, ISIA. What more can you want? Having an outside accrediting agency enter

into the picture will not increase the pay of instructors or make the certifications more valuable.

There is no logical connection there.

Are we not already CERTIFIED ski instructors. Our certifications are already accepted as

industry standard. Becoming certified certified ski instructors will not improve this, but only will

cost us more and result in less control by the divisions.

IF and when there is accrediting by an outside organization, by definition, there will be set

standards that will have to be enforced. Even if you truly believe that ASEA is responsive to the

divisions; even if you truly believe that the divisions created the standards; it will still be ASEA

who will be responsible for enforcing those standards. By definition, that control will rest with

ASEA. The divisions will HAVE to comply or else their certifications will not be valid. Right

now, compliance is voluntary.

Why do you see the need to add that strong arm option of enforcement via an outside agency?

Don’t you believe that the divisions will comply if the standards are valuable? With valuable

standards, there would be no reason to not comply, so why do you see the need for an enforcer?

Don’t you think that there is another path to more consistency and excellence in our

certifications? We all agree that they could be improved and become more consistent amongst the

divisions.

I would rather see the divisions comply not by force via outside credentialing and enforcement

via ASEA, but rather by an ongoing mutually agreeable set of standards that are free to evolve

and that represent best practices and which are of value and work. This is a different route to

arrive at more consistency amongst the divisions. It is less rigid and more adaptable. We used to

be more consistent, so we know that it worked in the past. For a while, everyone even used the

same score sheet!

There is a big difference between facilitating, servicing, supporting and controlling. SEP is

designed and has been implemented to empower national, not to service and support the

divisions, but rather to service and support ASEA. While the underlying idea of getting the

divisions together is great, I believe we need to look revise the current mechanism, SEP, for

doing this.

Why is the board and executive director so opposed to allowing the divisions to once again

organize and work together? Financially, I am certain we could make this happen again.

We have a long way to go right now regarding informing the membership about the issue of

credentialing. So far, the communications have only portrayed what ASEA finds favorable. If

ASEA truly thinks it is responsive to all the divisions, this should be rectified.

Underlying this operational issue with credentialing is governance. The governance issue needs

to be rectified first. I would like to suggest that we to enter into a process of re-structuring,

reconciliation and growth such as Horst suggested – a process that would not be facilitated by

ASEA, but rather by the divisions, collectively. ASEA no longer is a partnership of the divisions.

By its own creation, ASEA is an independent organization separate from the divisions with a

board that does not represent the divisions. It is the #10, not a group of divisions. Therefore,

ASEA cannot be the unbiased organizer of any process to reform our structure of governance,

especially if such reorganization may well result in ASEA ceasing to exist in its present form.

Wouldn’t it be great if the executive director and ASEA board called the division leadership

together (presidents, staff and national board members) and ask, “What can we do to better help

you do your job of attracting, educating and serving our collective members?”