Thoughts on the March 17, 2015 PASS Town Hall

I listened to most of the town hall today. The main topic was the just voted on changes to the NomCom selection process, with some related questions and conversation about why someone should serve, requirements, etc. I like the town halls – not as good as in person, but reasonable. Feels like the pattern is getting settled. A few notes on the proceedings:

  • The revised selection plan has been approved. I’ve already posted my thoughts/concerns on the changes and won’t repeat those here. I can live with the changes in the selection process, the overall design should insure that the members have a chance to influence things.
  • I can’t help wishing the town hall was held before the decision. I don’t know if that is fair, not every decision needs input from everyone, but at least from my own experience I’ve always found it useful to let other people try to find the holes in the plan (and to be fair, as hard as I tried back when I was on the Board, I could/should have done more of it too). Blog posts are good, but they don’t often drive discussion. Part of that is framing. One way is to propose a straw man and say “find the flaws and/or make it better”, another is to back up further and just describe the problem (which is how most of prefer to do things at work). To be fair, had there been a huge amount of concern the blog post would have surfaced it in time to have a good discussion. 
  • I think most people assume no comments/complaints = everyone is ok. Not unfair, but hard to know if accurate. I wish we could get more comments on the blog posts. Even +1’s.
  • Lori E asked a good what-if question; what if there no NomCom candidates with experience. The answer was fair, but not documented. Let’s write it down and plan for the rainy day.
  • Tom mentioned the NomCom was going to work on something around qualities of good board members. That’s been a NomCom topic (wish!) for years. I think it’s worth trying to see the patterns in what experiences led to success (or not so much). Will it help a potential Board candidate decide? As long as they are guidelines and not requirements, I think it’s worth doing. I still see this as a pipeline problem and to fix that we need both the indicators of success and meaningful training years in advance of someone becoming a candidate.
  • The only other topic I heard was a question about slow replies/low activity in some virtual chapters. Tough question, because it might be someone is dropping the ball, and it might be unfair expectations. It’s all about expectations, on both sides. I think those of us that have volunteered are more understanding that those that haven’t, we’ve walked in those multi-tasking shoes. The other part, hard to say well, is that sometimes volunteers fall down. I’ve done it. What I try to do, and ask others to do, is to give back tasks if things change. Better to do a formal hand off than keep hoping extra time will show up in our lives.

Thanks to Tom, Grant, Adam, and Denise for hosting the town hall.