Jul. 8th, 2012

the tl;dr version )

I am far from caught up yet! But I figured I could do an update on 2012 goals even without that, and then, if necessary, do another update once I'm caught up. But first!

Types and Visibility of Board Work

There's been a lot of talk in the wake of [personal profile] jennyst's post about the frustration of Board member absenteeism. It was a good post and a good thing to be open about, so please do read it. I also want to draw attention to a clarification she made later:
Obviously, it's a problem if someone can hardly ever attend, misses a lot of meetings in a row, etc. But if someone misses one meeting, reads the transcript shortly afterwards, participates in discussion via email and votes via email a few days afterwards, it's not a big deal. So long as people are still doing the work, still contactable, still have time for discussion, it can work. The problems come when someone is too busy to do the work. Attendance figures are a symptom, not the root cause and not the whole story. Statutory holidays and illness can easily mean missing 20% of meetings or more. So yes, I was frustrated by the difficulties in getting quora for votes and particular discussions, and I still am. But that's more about responses to emails and participation in discussions than just numbers of meetings.
This is true! And I wanted to kind of break that down a bit further and talk about the ways Board members participate and do their work. I definitely do not want to minimize [personal profile] jennyst's frustration or concerns, because those are on-point and valid (and I am assuredly included there). However, from what I've seen it looks like it's not very clear what Board does (okay, that's old news), and where, and how. I think breaking that down a little bit may help everyone understand both where [personal profile] jennyst is coming from — though she generally does an excellent job communicating that herself, but I'm hoping a multiplicity of viewpoints can help — and how the Board functions overall.

(Quick disclaimer: This is my interpretation of our roles and work. I'm only an authority in this insofar as I happen to be one of the seven people doing this. Other Board members may have different ways in which they think about our work!)

There are three major things we all currently do as Board members: we hold meetings to talk to each other and make decisions, we hold discussions and make decisions over email, and we liaise with committees/committee chairs and workgroups/leads. Various Board members also perform other tasks specific to their skills and duties: some of these are the positions mandated in our bylaws (chair, secretary, treasurer), and some are less well defined but involve networking, seeking out opportunities to connect with other causes, etc. We also give each other assignments as a product of email or meeting decisions, such as putting together writeboards or emails about something we want to discuss or propose, or contacting person A about topic X, or hosting org-wide meetings. However, the core of our work involves coming together with each other and with people inside the org to make plans and decisions about the overall direction of the org.

So here's how it shakes out: break it down! )

But okay, enough explication. What got done during my alleged quiet presence earlier this year?

Goals Update!

As always: While I do serve on the Board, this doesn't mean I have a magic wand or anything — the OTW's very strength is that it's the work of many people with many different skills, backgrounds, and opinions, so no one should have a magic wand and that's good. A lot of work is done by people who are not me, and I'll do my best to acknowledge that and give credit. Corrections, questions, and updates welcome!

This time, also an additional caveat: I'm definitely not caught up, so this is mostly meant to cover in broad strokes my period of radio silence before about mid-May. I may be missing things still — scratch that, I definitely am — but I'm operating on the principle that a partial update is better than no update.

See the master post of 2012 OTW Goals

See my general approach to being on Board here!

[Caption: A small cheerfully-yellow booklet depicts, in an ink sketch, a house massively on fire. Along the top, handwritten imperfect block lettering reads "SHIT'S FUCKED". Along the bottom, "a positivity guide" in peppy cursive.]

Principles Update

This is of necessity pretty general this time around, but in the future I hope to focus on specific developments as they go down.

let's go! )

General Goals Update

This is, unfortunately, the section I feel least able to comment on right now until I've taken better stock: this is the middle ground between overall principles (which I feel a pretty good grasp on in terms of where we are/overall progress) and specific action items (which are small enough to easily catch up and comment on) where I feel I could too easily miss or mischaracterize something. So I'm going to work on checking in with my projects and people and see if I can put a good focus on this soon. Apologies!

Concrete Goals and Action Items

The fun bit! I'm only pulling out goals/items where I have relevant comments/updates here.

8 items below! )

So that's updates for now. Next time, I hope to be ready to look at adding new goals and possibly revising old ones. We'll see!

Thanks for listening, and as always, questions and feedback welcome and I will try to respond =)



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