May. 29th, 2013

maia_bob: OTW Logo with text "OTW Board 2013 (wtfpolarbear)" (OTW Board WTF)
Still bitter about my numbers being invalidated but I have worked around it with excessive use of automated tagging.

Sod knows how many emails in total this week of which 175 are labeled OTW - !General and 90 are labeled OTW – Board. My calendar says ~9 hour week.
  • We didn't have a Board meeting this week - Wiscon and me having people at the house meant attendance was very small so it was canceled.
  • Webmasters kindly put some of our completed minutes on the OTW website - more incoming (I have a checklist).
What I have been doing is reading the OTW Bylaws. I haven't discussed the below with the Board yet, this is my initial thought process developing, I need to think out loud to do that and this is far from 'done' - I invite feedback and suggestions.

This was inspired by having now been on the Board long enough to see how we do things, and how that works out. I'm also wondering what I would offer a newly elected Board member in terms of training and orientation and feeling like I don't have much to give... which is a problem.

After 21 weeks of Boarding I've now got a few data points and I'm starting to develop views (that should probably read 'Views") on how we do what we do. In my head said views can be divided into thoughts on Governance, Transparency and Accountability which are on the one hand dreadful buzzwords and on the other hand really important concepts.
  • Governance: the wikipedia entry is pretty good so here's the highlight: is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of decision-making or leadership processes.
  • What I'm experiencing is what we don't do this well or consistently. There are historical reasons for this, the most pressing being that the Board is exhausted trying to deal with day to day issues and introducing fundamental change is hard when you're trying not to drown.

    I feel that we need to have better defined processes around our attempts to define expectations, grant power, or verify performance and I would very much like to develop them.

       
  • Transparency*: I recently confirmed the OTW Bylaws are a lot more forgiving than the ones I'm used to as a West Australian in relation to communication and documentation. I'm now wondering if my quest to document, minute and communicate is partly driven by different cultural and political expectations.
  • This is so closely related to Governance for me that I find it hard to untangle. I'm not talking about the OTW being transparent to the World here (although that is super important). I'm talking about the OTW Board communicating openly with the OTW Organisation in order to define expectations, grant power, and verify performance.

    I see this as having easy to find, visible information about policies, procedures and plans plus regular updates on future expectations.
     

  • Accountability: Also a horrible buzzword, seems to come up a lot tied to 'authenticity' which makes my teeth ache. In the above context I see it as measuring and taking responsibility for making sure Governance and Transparency happens, and that it happens at a high enough level... except that's measuring again... which is important and not just because I adore spreadsheets and am fast becoming a fan of corporate dashboards.

Any and all thoughts, comments or feedback is welcome.
*LegalLeaks has some good commentary on Transparency

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