Rover of the Month: Dylan Book

Welcome back to our new series in introducing our Rover of the month. For October, we chose to introduce one of our vice-presidents, Dylan Book.

1. What are your main duties as vice president?

I like to think of my role in terms of purpose, not so much as duties.  My role is to make the Crew successful by doing my best to achieve our business plan.  I also belong to a team – the Executive Team, and need to ensure that my strengths complement successful as possible.  More specifically, I support our Operations, Information Technology, External Communications, and Scout Group Support departments. This means I ensure that those department heads and their teams are committed to and capable of achieving our goals.  But ad-hoc executive work such as preparing internal and external messaging, scheduling meetings, and coaching project managers, form a big part of my day to day as vice-president.

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2. What makes this role difficult?

This role is difficult because I’ve never tried to do anything on this level before.  I’ve never been a vice-president or had a role where I manage department heads or project managers.  That’s going to be challenging just operationally.  How can I ensure that the departments I’m supporting are functioning well and also keep an eye on the Crew as a whole?  I don’t know quite how to do that yet, but I hope that by the end of the year I will at least know what not to do.

There are also some personal challenges that come along with the role.  The Crew has an infinite demand for any Rovers’ time and as a vice-president I feel that I should spend as much time as I can helping to move the Crew along.  But even if I spent every waking hour supporting the Crew, there would still be more I can do.  Instead, I hope to learn what the highest leverage activities are so that I can make the biggest impact I can and not burn myself out by trying to do it all.

At my first mentoring session in the Crew, my mentor, Brandon Ma, now Pacific Coast Council Commissioner, explained to me that Scouting is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you work like it’s a sprint you will tire yourself out and won’t be able to contribute as much over a lifetime of Scouting.  As vice-president, that fact has become painfully clear.  We live in the day to day, but need to simultaneously keep an eye on our lifetimes.  That’s not something I’m good at yet, and it makes the role of vice-president difficult.

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3. Why did you want this role? Who supported/encouraged you to take this role?

I was asked by Eli to be one of her vice-president and was encouraged by our Head Advisor, John Chow.  I wanted to learn to be supportive leader, and John and I agreed that trying to do my best as a vice-president would be a good way to learn.

4. What have you done in your previous scouting years that has best prepared you for this role?

The former head of the Joint Special Operations Command, Stanley McChrystal, when asked what the two most important qualities of leader are answered “discipline and empathy.” The Scouting role that best helps me develop discipline and empathy is definitely being an Assistant Troop Scouter for the 15th Capilano.

Despite what many in our organization think, it isn’t the large events like area camps or  national jamborees that make a good Scouting program.  Instead it’s the week-to-week meetings that will make or break a good Scout Troop.  It requires discipline to continually plan solid weekly meetings and you never get to rest on your laurels.

As a Troop Scouter you must also be able to empathize with your Scouts and see things from their perspective. By empathizing with the youth, you can help them grow and develop by learning where they are and where they want to go.

I am not as disciplined or empathetic as I hope to be and spending time with Eli and Karen on the Executive Team will no doubt help me become more disciplined and empathetic.

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5. What do you bring to the table that will help make this year’s Executive team successful?

Eli has much better understanding of business management and professional HR best practices that are both critical to strengthening our engagement and our long-term success.  Karen is much better at building the soft relationships that hold our Crew together and has a clear sense of how best to recruit and retain our Rovers.

John likes to call me a “tank commander”, by which he means that I have the grit and determination to achieve clear targets and ensure that things keep moving forward, no matter how slow.  If something is in a logjam I enjoy clearing it and getting things going again.  This year my goal is to develop the indirect leadership that comes from kindling a shared vision in the hearts of others that will motivate them to act out of passion. Eli and Karen are much better at that than I am, so I hope to watch them and learn.

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6. Other than engagement levels and membership, what would you like to change?

I’d like to see an evolution to our mentorship program.  Our mentorship program began as a way to increase the growth and learning our Rovers received through participating in Crew projects.  The idea was that by doing some goal setting and having a few conversations with a mentor a Rover could quickly realize and then focus on their key areas for improvement.

Our major challenge is no longer the rate at which our Rovers develop but the fact that  our poor engagement rate means too many of our Rovers are not participating in Crew projects and not developing at all.  I hope our mentorship program will evolve to not only accelerate development but instead focus on engagement to ensure that development happens at all.  The challenge the mentorship program was originally designed to address has been surpassed by our engagement challenge and I hope all parts of our Crew can evolve to address that.

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7. Describe your sweet spot.

The sweet spot is what we call the intersection of our career goals, personal interests, and the needs of the Crew.  My sweet spot is fairly straightforward:

– Personal: Scouting is my passion, nothing warms my heart more than seeing youth benefiting from quality Scouting programs.

– Career wise: I’d like to be in a management position at some point, so working in teams, managing people, and communicating effectively are all essential skills I need to practice.

– Crew needs: Our crew is in need of reasonably effective managers with a passion for and commitment to the Scouting movement.

So, on the Crew my sweet spot is actually being vice-president. As vice president I’m learning to be a better manager, which will help my career, while I get to contribute more to the Scouting movement, which is my passion.

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8. What does your ideal 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group look like?

The ideal 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group has the same key characteristics of any ideal Troop, Company or Crew.  This is my view from 10 000 feet above, sitting very far back and reflecting in an almost philosophical view.  The view when you’re in the day to day may not look like it does from the philosophical view.

  • The Crew has a culture that values membership growth – growth must be in our blood
  • Running the Crew must be challenging, but just manageable enough – this is how the learning happens
  • Our members are engaged on projects in the Crew; they are learning and having fun

These are dynamic characteristics, it is a moving ideal: we are growing, we are challenged and our members are participating.  The target changes but the characteristics are the same.  If we maintain those characteristics we will continue to fulfill Scouts Canada’s mission of developing well rounded youth, better prepared for success in the world.

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9. If you could only keep 3 possessions, what would they be and why?

The hatchet given to me by the Troop Scouter who helped me earn my Chief Scout’s Award.  This Scouter was a little bit abrasive and rough around the edges, but he was committed and passionate about Scouting.  The hatchet has served me for over a decade now and reminds me of the impact that I can I have in my role as a Troop Scouter.

Full grain leather hiking boots.  I love hiking and my favorite Latin phrase is Solvitur ambulando, which literally means “it is solved by walking”.  More figuratively it means problems are solved by trying different solutions to see what might work.

My teddy bear.  I do have a soft spot.

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Mostafa Nejati

One Response to “Rover of the Month: Dylan Book

  • Mostafa Nejati
    2 years ago

    Good luck Dylan! The crew can certainly reach new heights with an empathetic and disciplined leader like you. We believe in our “tank commander” 🙂
    Thanks to Carol and Sandra for this great interview.

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