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Lee Pitts: Turning Minutes Into Hours

Realizing that I have had vast experience in organizational work (I was once appointed Keeper of the Cards in the Nipomo Men's Club and Poker Society), several people have inquired as to how they too could be as successful in organizational work as I have been. As a public service I will now answer some of your questions.

Q. I have recently been urged by mail to become a "stakeholder?" What is that?

A. Generally, if the dues of an organization are less than $50 a year such people are known as "members." Once over that threshold mere members become "stakeholders." See how much more important and impressive that sounds? Henceforth when people see you at the auction barn they'll point to you and say, "See that guy over there, the guy with his shirt tucked in, he's a stakeholder!"

Q. What is required of a stakeholder?

A. Let me put it in terms you might understand. For there to be leaders we must have followers. Have you ever seen a cow in heat followed by several steers? The steers have no idea why they are following the cow and if they caught her they wouldn't know what to do with her. Even if they did know what to do, they wouldn't be very effective because they are, well, they're steers now aren't they? But they do serve a purpose. The rancher will know which cows are in heat and can then inseminate them. That's why we need people like you as stakeholders. Got it?

Q. I think so. Does that mean I should aspire to become a leader or officer of a club or organization?

A. Meetings are a male dominated ritual much like musical chairs… and when the music stops you definitely want to be sitting in one. This is known as "going through the chairs." The primary benefit of going through the chairs is that when you attend your annual convention several gaily colored ribbons will dangle from your name badge, thereby setting you apart as someone who has enough working knowledge of parliamentary procedure to bring the cocktail hour to a close.

Q. How does one rise to ascendancy in organizational work?

A. I can best answer that question by comparing it to the life of a cattle grub, and I mean that in a flattering way. After you get bitten by the bug to be a politician you begin your organizational life in its lowest form, on the membership committee in charge of recruiting new members. This is tough duty. You'll soon learn what a heel fly feels like walking around in manure 24 hours a day. But soon you will begin your upward ascendancy through the body of the organization. If you only speak when spoken to and use the proper fork when eating your hearts of palm at the annual banquet, eventually your time will come and you'll one day pop out the top.

Q. Are there any short cuts to the top?

A. It's imperative that you feel obligated to speak in a solemn voice whenever a crowd of three is gathered. Preferred topics include estate tax relief, ancestor worship and where the next vacation, I mean meeting, will be held. You must sprinkle these impromptu speeches liberally with key words such as paradigm, unity, empowerment, strategize, Power Point, human resources, synergy, cloud-centric, actualize and empower. Talk a lot about your "vision", even if it is somewhat impaired from the previous night's executive session in the hotel bar.

Q. How does one get elected The Big Banana?

A. Silly boy. You do not get "elected" to be President in the purest sense of the word. You are chosen by a nominating committee. This is a mysterious body of Frequent Flyers and old moss-backs whose sole purpose is to keep riff-raff like you from ever assuming a position of leadership within the organization.

Q. Would it help any if I brought my lovely and intelligent wife to meetings and the annual convention?

A. Are you serious? Why would you want to do that? Do you bring the game warden along on a fishing trip?