UUA Customers, Sources and Linkage Oh My!


You will need a strong cup of coffee to process this post….

Continuing with review of the October UUA Board meeting,  our district trustee’s report talks at length about some new terms, at least for me in a UU context. Ready?

The UUA board has “begun to tackle more deeply the issues around connecting and listening to those entities on whose behalf we govern and to whom we are accountable.” The board refers to them as “Sources of Authority and Accountability.”

These SOURCES OF ACCOUNTABILITY have been identified as follows:

  • Our member congregations
  • Current and future generations of Unitarian Universalists
  • The heritage, traditions, and ideals of Unitarian Universalism
  • The vision of Beloved Community
  • The Spirit of life, love, and the holy

I know some of you will want to read up on how these were identified.  The report I’m reading – I’ll link to it when it is on our district site –  states that they were developed in consultation with professional and lay congregational and district leaders including discussions at the regional conference held in Worcester, MA in 2008.

So there are SOURCES OF ACCOUNTABILITY and then there are CUSTOMERS.
They are different concepts, and require different terms.  What’s are the member congregations of the UUA?  According to the report they are BOTH sources of accountability and customers.

Customers are users of services, have concerns about receiving quality services that meet their needs, and, consequently, communicate with the UUA President and staff about those services. Sources are concerned about the long-term health of the Association’s mission and values, have a long-term view of that mission, and link with the Board. To govern accountably, the Board must maintain meaningful connections, or what we call “linkage,” with our Sources, including constructive dialogues concerning the Sources’ values and the UUA’s Ends.

Are you with me so far?  I think I get this…  The UUA Board is identifying what its sources of power and accountability are and separate from this, who the customers or direct recipients of UUA services are.  Your congregation is a source and a customer.  There are other sources listed.   I wonder, are there other customers besides member congregations or is that it?

As part of this new governance model the UUA Board, to have better “linkage” will be creating more opportunities for board members to be in relationship with and connected to its sources, starting with congregations.  I hope you will look for these opportunities and enjoy some good linkage with members of the UUA Board.

I on the other hand am not on the UUA Board, nor am I a staff member of a the UUA, a  UUA District or UUA member congregation.  I am a hired freerange UU growth, outreach and media consultant.  As for my district work, I have recently been “engaged” by the Ballou Channing district as a consultant. Beyond that I am hired to work with congregations, organizations and other UU entities and agents appreciating my expertise, energy and ideas at their request.   My primary sources of feedback are direct feedback from those I work with.

Besides commenting on this blog, I invite you to share feedback or ideas of an kind with me.  You may leave a voice message 24/7 on the UU PLANET office line at (617) 744-9784. This # goes directly to voicemail so call any time.  You may also email me at peter@uuplanet.com or send short messages via Twitter @uuplanet.

It is interesting thinking about customers, sources and linkage as I prepare to meet with my District Executive Monday to discuss specific plans for my new role as BCD growth consultant (part time).  What should the priorities be?   If you are a member of my district, feel free to share thoughts.  From another district? Comment as well, just note your district.

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