Concept 11

Short Form:

“The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.”

Long Form:

While the Trustees hold final responsibility for A.A.’s world service administration, they should always have the assistance of the best possible standing committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Therefore the composition of these underlying committees and service boards, the personal qualifications of their members, the manner of their induction into service, the systems of their rotation, the way in which they are related to each other, the special rights and duties of our executives, staffs, and consultants, together with a proper basis for the financial compensation of these special workers, will always be matters for serious care and concern.

Principle of the Concept:


One Thing You Need To Know:

The Trustees Cannot Do It Alone

The Trustees Cannot Do It Alone

The success of our Trustees relies heavily on those they work with to get the job done.

Whether it is:

  • Non-Trustee Committee Members,
  • Our Corporation’s Directors (A.A. World Services, Inc. / A.A. Grapevine, Inc.),
  • Executives or Staff Members at the General Service Office (GSO)…

Our Board of Trustees needs a strong dedication and quality of work to fulfill the actions given them by A.A. Groups (via the General Service Conference) in the U.S. and Canada.

from Twelve Concepts of World Service Illustrated

In this, the second longest of the Concepts, Bill explains in great detail the composition, functions and relationships of the standing committees of the General Service Board, its subsidiary operating boards, the General Service Office and the A.A. Grapevine — as they existed in 1962. As A.A. has grown and changed, many of the descriptions would be different today, and some of the issues that are addressed are no longer relevant. Nevertheless, the full text is valuable as an historical document, and many of the principles still apply, as summarized below.

Underlying the service structure we have been discussing, there is another, internal structure of service consisting of the nontrustee members of the trustees’ committees; the nontrustee directors of the two operating boards, and the executives and staff members. “Members of this group,” declares Bill, “not only support the leadership of the trustees: they share leadership with them.” The following are “several principles . . . which” apply to A.A. World Services, Inc. and the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.:

1. The status of executives
No active service can function well unless it has sustained and competent executive direction. This must always head up in one person, supported by such assistants as he needs. That person has to have ample freedom and authority to do his job, and he should not be interfered with so long as his work is done well.

2. Paid workers, how compensated
Each paid executive, staff member or consultant should be recompensed in reasonable relation to the value of his or her similar services or abilities in the commercial world . . . . Cheap help is apt to feel insecure and inefficient. it is very costly in the long run. This is neither good spirituality nor good business. Assuming service money is available, we should therefore compensate our workers well.

3. Rotation among paid staff workers
At A.A.’s General Service Office, most staff members’ assignments are changed every two years. When engaged, each staff member is expected to possess the general ability to do, or to learn how to do, any job in the place — excepting for office management.

4. Full “Participation” of paid workers is highly important
We have already discussed the necessity of giving key paid personnel a voting representation on our committees and corporate boards. They should enjoy a status suitable to their responsibility, just as our volunteers do.

The text above is an excerpt from the A.A. conference approved pamphlet (P8) The Twelve Concepts for World Service Illustrated. Download your own copy of the full pamphlet.


  1. Do we understand how the roles of nontrustee directors and nontrustee appointed committee members help serve and strengthen the committee system?
  2. How do we encourage our special paid workers to exercise their traditional “Right of Participation”?
  3. Do we practice rotation in all our service positions?

This checklist offered as part of Service Material from the General Service Office (SMF-91).  Download your copy of the complete checklist.