Boy Scouts, Branding and Bureaucracy
Back in June, I was nearing what I thought was the end of an 18-month branding project for the Boy Scouts of America, specifically its honor society, the Order of the Arrow.
We were in the final phases of approval for a brand guide and new set of logos. But then one evening, on a conference call I had the pleasure of missing, it felt like it all crumbled down. All the progress we were making was halted. Somewhere in the laundry list of comments, concerns and other roadblocks we received, I realized this project would be indefinitely delayed – again.
To be quite honest, that night I considered just leaving it all on the table – quitting my position and letting someone else handle it. Having been in a process of revision and illusory approval for more than a year, I thought I had reached the end of my rope (no Boy Scout pun intended).
But after a lot of venting (sorry friends) and reflection, I realized that giving up just wasn’t the solution. The situation was beyond frustrating, but I knew it would ultimately be rewarding. It served a purpose bigger than myself or my team.
Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that everyone I worked with in this process – yes, even those who kept giving us things to fix – was wonderful. Though I found it exasperating at times, the revisions always had the best interest of our organization in mind.
I’m writing this blog post today because last night we finally reached some semblance of consensus on the last obstacle – a logo that has been disagreed on, fought for and contested for nearly 6 months. The one piece of the project holding everything else up.
Looking back to that night in June when the urge to quit was overwhelming, I’m so glad I kept at it. And I’m so grateful I had a team of support the whole way through.
All organizations have bureaucracy. It’s an arguably unfortunate part of life. But going through this taught me how to deal with people I disagree with, how complaining doesn’t get you anywhere and how perseverance (what a buzzword) really does exist and pay off. It also helps that this isn’t just an organization – it’s one that I care deeply about and to which I owe a lot of fantastic life experiences.
It’s easy to sit in a design classroom and draft beautiful concepts that earn that coveted A grade. But there’s nothing quite like taking those designs and putting them to the test in an organization that has more than 100,000 members, countless committees and a lot of people who really care.
It may have been 2 years since we started this process, and it still may not be over, but it’s certainly been worth it.
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