Behind the Scenes

Written by Angela Baker

We are facing an AGM in less than a week. At the time of writing there have been no nominations for committee. None of the current committee is willing to stand again. And the committee (a majority 4 out of 5 decision), is putting forward a motion to close NZANLP down.

How did we, the Management Committee, as the kaitiaki of your organisation get to this point?

Not without a lot of agony and angst, that is for sure!

For some of you, our recent posts and newsletter articles about the possible dissolution of NZANLP may have come as a bit of a shock. It is possible that some of you may strongly disagree with our conclusion that NZANLP needs to close. For others of you, who have been on the committee in recent years, you will be well aware of the falling membership and the struggle to get members to engage with the opportunities that NZANLP offers in spite of putting your hearts and souls into trying to encourage and build a more dynamic organisation.

This decision has not been easy for us and has been something of a see-saw or leap frog process.

I was co-opted onto the committee in October 2021 as Treasurer, having committed only to remaining on the committee until the next AGM, and at that point undecided about further commitment. At that point there were 5 others on the committee. And at that point closing down or going into recess was very much an option being considered. We were already thinking about the next AGM and whether it was likely that a viable committee could be formed.

There were fears that we once again would struggle to elect a committee, and with only one of the current committee having expressed a willingness to continue, this meant at least 4 vacancies to fill. There were fears that we would not get enough nominations ahead of the meeting (in fact, there have been no nominations to date). We also had concerns that members at the AGM might feel they should put themselves forward in order to save NZANLP even though they may not have sufficient capacity time-wise to play a full part on the committee. While that intention is laudable, if the desire is to rebuild and maintain a dynamic and engaged membership approximately 8 – 10 hours of input per month from at least 5 committee members would be needed. Unfortunately, on the current committee because of the turnover of committee members and the nature of the skills and NZANLP systems knowledge required, the vast majority of the committee work for the past year has ended up being done by two of the current committee. This was not sustainable.

Hence, we have put forward a motion that NZANLP be closed down. Even as I write this, there is a little flurry of a wishful thought that some-one will ride in on a white charger and save the day. In spite of planning the logistics of what’s needed to be done to close down, that little flurry persists.

The ‘hardness’ of this decision was made worse by seeking legal advice about whether ‘going into recess’ was a legally available option, and finding that while it may have been possible in the past, it isn’t now. We can’t just put our dear friend into an induced coma until more life-giving resources are available.

I think I am correct in remembering that at every meeting since I joined the committee, at some point, up until the April meeting, one or the other of us would voice that wondering as to whether there was still some way out – I guess you could say this is akin to the ‘bargaining’ stage in the Elizabeth Kulbler-Ross’s stages of grief model. I admit to being that person a couple of times. “Maybe we could try this or try that (all things that have been tried in the past in some variation or another), or maybe this person or that person will be willing to rejoin the committee and somehow have the ability to enable a committee to succeed where others have failed.”

And when it wasn’t one of us questioning whether there was some way out, we’d again go over the reasons we’d come to this decision. As a task-oriented person, I’d sometimes find this repetition frustrating, but in retrospect, it was part of us coming to an acceptance of the situation.

Throughout this process we have had you, the members, sitting on our shoulders. We have not taken this decision lightly. We are open to your questions and challenges, but hope that you will accept the fact none of us want to see the end of NZANLP, that we haven’t taken this decision lightly but that to us it now feels like we’ve run out of viable options.

In moving towards the AGM I am acutely aware that the Management Committee has spent a lot of time ‘processing’ this decision whereas members may not have found ways of doing any processing since the topic was first raised at the last AGM. We’d encourage you to find an opportunity to talk about your thoughts on this with an NLP buddy prior to the AGM. And we also realise that the discussion on this issue at the AGM may require additional time, so please be prepared for a longer meeting, if needed.

And we’re also aware that if the AGM votes to close NZANLP down, that it would be fitting to have a hui to celebrate the achievements of the organisation, remember its history, hang out together, process some more of our feelings about the closure, and being NLP-ers, have an NLP facilitator who can take us through a process to support us letting go and moving on, that we might also be able to use with our clients.

This is not the end of NLP in New Zealand. We will still find ways to stay connected with an NLP community whether it’s through the new Facebook pages which will replace the NZANLP-branded ones, or through P.D. trainings with New Zealand trainers, or re-uniting with old mates if we find ourselves together in events with overseas trainers.