Captains and the Branch Presidency
Introduction – Organization Structure
A limited partner is the basic organized unit in a community. A limited partner is an individual who resides within, has a business in the community, and has invested at least US $20,000 of their net worth in the community. Limited partners are usually above 18 years old and are mentally, physically, financially, and legally responsible. Children under 18 and adults who have another limited partner or partners as their legal “guardians” are “dependents.” They are counted in the community’s overall population. Together, limited partners and dependents are referred to as participants.
Ten limited partners, who are from the same demographic group and live in the same apartment, form a group. A captain serves each group. An apartment has four groups representing the main demographic groups of the community. The four captains from each group form a branch presidency. A branch presidency serves a whole apartment of around 40 limited partners and their legal dependents. On average, each limited partner is responsible for 1.5 legal dependents. Therefore, a branch is composed of approximately 100 individuals.
Ten branches form a village comprising around 1000 individuals. The village is served by three village presidency seats. Each seat is occupied by four people from the four demographic groups. The three presidencies, consisting of 12 members, form a village board that collectively serves the village.
Four villages form a district. Each district is served by three district presidencies, each with four positions. The three presidencies, comprising 12 people, constitute the district board. Twenty-four districts form a NewVistas community, with a population of around 96,000 people. Going by this description, the community is served by 3,840 captains.
Who are the captains?
Captains are the first point of contact between limited partners and the community. Captains recruit, select, and integrate limited partners into the community so that they can be comfortable and productive. Besides this, captains serve as an interface between the community and participanmts. In this role, they help participants in most basic issues they have concerning any of the 24 agencies, and not just agency 1.
Each captain recruits limited partners from their demographic. For instance, a single women captain will recruit single women limited partners. In this arrangement, there is a risk that a captain may have unfettered powers to recruit limited partners, and in the process. This may result in a biased demographic towards ethnicity, age, or family connections.
To prevent this, the branch presidency vets the captain’s decisions to ensure diversity. This is further improved at the village level. Village presidencies and the village board advice on what needs to be done to ensure diversity. It is further enhanced at the district level and, finally, by the board of trustees in their oversight role. This way, the possibility of having certain groups heavily dominate some branches, villages, or districts is eliminated.
How captains work
The captain works for the community in the same way that the other public servants work. Their engagement is voluntary, part-time basis. Captains have offices on the main floor of their apartment block. They are easily accessible to limited partners, and create uniformity with other community public service positions.
Captains work every week from Monday to Thursday for 45 minutes. They are at their offices from 8:00 AM to 8:45 AM during these days. The branch presidency meets weekly. Branch meetings are conducted or facilitated by one of the four captains on a rotational basis. The first week is for the married men’s captain, then the married women’s captain. The single women’s captain then presides, and lastly, the single men’s captain.
How captains are chosen
A captain serves for 4 years. Each year, a member of the branch presidency is replaced. As their them comes to a close, the outgoing captain and each of their three coulegues in the presidency nominate a candidate. After they have approved each of the four names, they forward the list to their village’s human relations presidency.
The presidency examines the four names and settles on two. The presidency considers the candidate’s suitability as a model community member, demographic balance, and past service to the community village president who belongs to the same demographic as the outgoing captain then flips a coin to select the next captain.
Once a candidate has been ratified, they must receive the support of a majority of the limited partners they are to serve. The limited partners give their approval or rejection through an online voting app, making the process transparent and hassle-free.
Ultimately, captains are answerable to the limited partners that they serve. If, in the performance of their duties, the captain loses the confidence of the limited partners and dependents in their group. In that case, they can notify the village board, which deliberates on the merits of any accusations against the captain. If the allegations are substantive, they can replace the captain.
A captain serves for one year. Every quarter, a member of the branch presidency is replaced. The quarterly conference proceedings include the introduction of new captains and initial orientation.
Duties and responsibilities of the captain
Captains serve the community much more locally than any other community public servant. This makes them the best-suited to perform the duties that require direct and even personal interaction with limited partners.
Recruitment and selection of limited partners
In usual human resource practice, companies aim to get the best employees to work for them. Towards this, they put out criteria that can quickly determine the best fit and conduct regular assessments to see whether they got the best person for the job.
The community’s approach is rather different. Rather than going for the cream, captains look for specific qualities, as the dials in the community may suggest from time to time. The ultimate objective of the community is that every person should be a member. Inclusion of all people means that segregation based on ethnicity, personal character, social standing, talent and profession, and any other criteria used today to group people is absent.
The recruitment process involves identifying the sort of limited partners needed at a particular point in time. The criterion is informed by the need to replace some limited partners, to address a specific gap in the community, among other factors. The captain then advertises the need for limited partners through relevant channels. On receiving applications, the captain vets them before giving their opinion to the branch presidency and onwards to the village board for consideration and final approval.
Orientation and integration
Once the selected limited partners have joined the community formally, they need to be fully integrated into the system. For this, they need training. The training involves basic things such as the community’s physical layout, where the hubs, breezeways, and amenities are, for instance. It also includes practical knowledge of how the community system works, including the ecosystem, the physical campus layout, transport, and how to look for work, grow, and prosper. Training also involves learning about the community’s ethos, approach to community, and social organization, among other aspects of community life.
While the training is mostly automated, captains may need to involve themselves personally and engage other members of the community public service to make training effective. In addition, the innovation in training and wide-ranging interaction with other departments, agencies, and bureaus give the necessary platform for captains to conduct regular check-ins and appraisals to see how well the limited partners are getting on.
A captain needs to be a model limited partner so that, beyond training, they can also show the way by example. They need to be models of how to succeed and what not to do to thrive. They must also use their own experiences to measure expectations for existing and upcoming limited partners. While this is so, every adult community member can be called upon to work as a community public servant, including as a captain.
To enhance the chances of success, the captain liaises with limited partners to form and sustain an effective support system, which new entrants turn to as they navigate the initial days since joining. Captains can undertake this function with other captains within or beyond their branch.
Skills development, training, and mentorship
Upcoming limited partners, at the time dependent on limited partners, start the process of becoming limited partners when they turn 12. This means they have to start a business, find some gainful work, and enhance their skills. Captains are vital in helping dependents succeed in their quest in conjunction with guardians.
For a school-going teenager to work for money, the captain who serves their guardian will need to sit down with the child and guardians, explore options, and use the community system to find the most appropriate opportunity. The captain either handles this or facilitates and ensures that it has done so that a new limited partner at 18 can fully exploit the community’s facilities and opportunities to prosper.
Conflict resolution and arbitration
Once two parties have failed to resolve their conflict amicably, they turn to their captain to help resolve the dispute. The captain can make a few decisions to resolve the conflict based on their knowledge and experience handling such situations. In addition, their personal touch with the involved parties in conflict will help create the necessary trust and confidence.
Troubleshooting system issues and feedback
Captains interact with limited partners and their dependents at a personal level, often because the partners cannot navigate the system efficiently. This gives the captain a chance to train the limited partners and dependents on how to handle the system better. In other instances, the problem might be the system. The captain relays the issues they have observed to the relevant agencies for them to be fixed.
Duties and responsibilities of the branch presidency
The branch presidency has a few unique roles that it performs collectively. Many of the functions are based on the general oversight role the presidency has over individual captains.
Arbitration and conflict resolution
When a captain cannot resolve a conflict, the matter goes to the branch presidency. Sitting together virtually or in person, the branch presidency works with the parties to resolve the dispute. Where need be, they may ask for the input of the legal agency and the village board as need be. In many cases, this is expected to be the last stage of the arbitration process. In exceptional circumstances, the issue may go to the village board and, thereafter, be referred to law courts under whose jurisdiction a community geographically falls.
Advising the village board
The branch presidency forms a crucial link between the community system and limited partners. The presidency keeps the village presidency informed on the branch’s affairs. It also recommends actions only the village board or presidencies can sort out. Such matters may include training modules. For instance, some limited partners or dependents may lag and need additional help, interventions, and stewardship. The board may also assist the individual captains through training, mentorship, and integration during the entry process. The presidency collaborates with the village board to maintain social cohesion and foster a strong community spirit.
Review of branch performance
The branch presidency regularly appraises the branch’s performance in various aspects. It reviews the performance and progress of limited partners and their dependents as they work their way in the community and recommends any relevant action. The branch presidency is responsible for examining the apartment’s status, physically and otherwise, and advising agencies, bureaus, and presidencies where it feels improvements can be beneficial.
Captains are the primary physical contact between limited partners, dependents, and the system. Often, many of the duties that captains perform are automated, with their role being mainly to monitor the system and ensure that it is working well. Where the circumstances demand, they can get personally involved with the person involved, working them through the system, mentoring and coaching them, and identifying issues with the system that could improve it.
References and further reading
Von Der Heydt, Andreas. An In-House Coaching Model & Implementation Plan to Onboard and Integrate New Employees More Successfully with Managers as Coaches. Diss. Northeastern University, 2021.
- In modern organizations, immediate managers and supervisors are given the task of integrating new employees into organizations by teaching them the culture, specifics of their roles, and how to maneuver the organization. The community also appreciates the importance of having limited partners learn the ropes early from the person they will mostly be in contact with from then on. In this setting, however, the orientation is more thorough, covering everything from securing work, and improving qualifications, to mentoring them in their personal lives as well.↩