Where is AIDA heading - lead by who?
June 2009 by Aida member Sebastian Näslund
Aida was started 1994 partly due to the fact that CMAS did not want to administer records or develop the sport. A group of pioneers set of builiding an organization and still after 15 years there is a pioneer feeling.
Hundreds of records, hundreds of competition, thousands of dives. Bigger and better events aswell as small ones all over the world. In the center a set of rules that has developed under the influence of many opinions and after grave disagreements. All in all Aida sums down to the ONLY serious organization that administers competetive freediving.
Behind the scenes there has been lots of arguments, lots of personal friction and also fractions fighting for dominance. A struggle for influence is a natural part of an organization. In a perfect world this will lead to finding and producing competence. The best man for the job.
Unfortunaltely this is not the case in AIDA.
The assembly has been proposed to dissolve the board and re-elect a new one, aswell as changing the statutes. All because of a board paralyzed by quarells. The whole technical commisson has resigned, two hard working board members has resigned, other board members are more or less inactive.
We still lack professionality in the leadership of Aida and the structures of decisions.
Why? Because we rarely see more than one person applying for a position (even though we can see this change slowly).
Why? Because we are working with an idealistic approach, some claim. We must commercialize competetive freediving. Pay people (on the board/commissions) - so we can demand a good job.
So far this only means the athletes must pay more. There is hardly any money in the sport (sponsorship/grants).
Lets aknowledge the fact that idealistic organizations does work. CMAS is built on that principle. Right now there is a lack of money in Aida and there is no real good arguments for having the athletes pay more to compete, or have nationals pay more.
That leaves us relying on idealistic work.
The assembly has choosen a board with some inactive members, but also some enthusiastic people. People like Pim V and Bill S, Lotta E (and others). There are people with clear opinions and whom are ready to argue for their opinions, like Grant G. In the middle we see the hardest working person on the board: The president Bill Stromberg. Unfortunately he is the reason for the resignations.
Whats wrong with the Aida board - why has it collapsed?
We see power-politician behaviour, looking after ones own friends, hanging on to control, stealing ideas or blocking them, making decisions based on if you "like" someone or not, or just hanging onto a seat on the board without working.
The four biggest signs of AIDAs unproffesionalism that has been going on for years:
1) RULES. The leadership in AIDA does not support their own judges:
The board does not solve the parts of the rules that are open to interpretation.
There is no decisive, yet democratic, commission that answers the frequent questions asked about rules. Judges still judge differently.
The Technical commission that should be in charge - has been dissolved due to bad management/ abuse of power.
2) JUDGES. Aidas main task is the records/competitions and the keyfigures are the judges. We have a judge system with many apparant flaws:
-> The A-E system does not reflect experience/competence.
-> The current system is not even updated for all judges, only for those with the right connections with the people in charge.
-> Many of the A judges in charge of "making" judges, got their position for free and there is no sign of them wanting to share that power/responsability.
-> The selection of judges for record attampts are done by only two persons and seem to be based on
1) using the same persons. 2) using "friends"
-> Most judge issues are controlled by one person that does not see himself as accountable before the elected board.
3) DEMOCRACY. It is proven that democratic organizations (nations) only work if the leaders are held accountable and that the "citizens" are informed by an unbiased source.
We have for years seen a lack of transparency regarding what the board and commsissions does (or does NOT do).
4) THE LEADERSHIP. The assembly voted for a willfully strong enthusiastic leaders whith a clear sense of direction.
Unfortunatley that leader does not feel he is acountable to the rest of the elected board. And has a leaderstrategy that is based on the thorough belief that his ideas are the best. It seems to be a lack of ability to compromise and listening to the opinion of the community. Seems like some board members spend more time: looking after their own intrests, supporting friends, bulding powerbases, Killing/blocking ideas, not giving others credit for the ideas, not apologizing for mistakes.
Who is responsible for this long mismanagement?
The assembly! They have the ultimate power in AIDA. They cast the votes, select the board.
My suggestions to solve three of the four problems:
1) THE RULES. Any question on the judgelist should be discussed among the judges and then a interpretation of the rule in questions should be done by the TC.
This should be printed on a public document. Videoexamples should be uploaded on the Aida website. This has high priority, and other work could be sacrificed to have this done. Our rules are our bible.
|2) JUDGE EXPERIENCE.
Measure experience in a unit called Experience points (EP).
AWARD EP ACCORDING TO NUMBER OF PERFOMANCES JUDGED.
(Ex. 1P per performance)
Award more EP for:
|- Depth competitions
|- Big complicated competitions (international standard)
|- Protests dealt with
|- For judges that are present as observers/assistants
(maybe having organizational tasks in the comp zone).
|- Judge assistant/mentoring
| - Award points for judges that competetes (very rewarding experience)
| - Award points for extra attendance at judge courses
| - Award more points for world record attempts
Only judges with a certain amount of EP points can judge: national records, world records e t c
National records: >200P (suggested guideline)
World championships: >400P + assembly vote
World record attempts: >500P (selection by a commission of 3-5 people of non active judges).
Judge instructor: >700P + NR EP + WR EP + WC EP + assembly vote
Pre requisites for judges: Compeeted in all disciplines + been safety freediver at pool and depth competition, certain age + awareness and decisiveness.
3) DEMOCRACY. Select a board member with only one task: internal and external relations.
Accountable only before the assembly. An "information officer". The only task is to summarize a letter every 14 days on what is going on in the commissions and on the board.
One public and one for the assembly.
Apart from that: every vote (by every board member) is transparent = accountability.
4) THE LEADERSHIP. We need boardmembers that can create a TEAM feeling, give credit to others, involve as many as possible, share control and responsability, build an organisation and not a powerbase, take decisions based on compromises, admit faults, give public apologies, let ideas through to discussions/votations (even if he/she does not agree). The primary task of a leader is to look for his successor.
If you apply for the board you show that you believe in the idea of idealistic work.
By: Sebastian Naslund (Aidasweden member).