NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

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Janet Rossini
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NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Janet Rossini » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:16 am

I thought I'd put this in a separate thread. Punish me if I deserve it. And if you dare. :)

I have heard a number of our members suggesting that NCI should be a democracy. I suppose that they mean our Directors should be elected, that all important issues should be voted on, and so on. I am not sure I have an opinion on whether that would be better or not. I'm going to comment here to the effect that democracy is not a requirement for an organization to be effective, and a good one to be in.

Most enterprises in RL are not democracies. Most corporations are run by officers who are hired or installed by the board of directors, and the board is made up of major stockholders and invited bigwigs. And RL enterprises like that can be quiet effective and wonderful places to work. My purpose here is to talk about how that is accomplished.

It is not accomplished by the top people telling everyone what's what and what to do. That way of management is over. It is very last century.

What top management teams do today are these things:

First, the top management create a vision of the organization, and they speak that vision every time they speak at all. This is not a one-way push, however. They are also skilled at listening to the people in the organization, who often have ideas and capabilities that can add profoundly to that vision. One well known example is 3M, which in its best days created outstanding products almost solely thought up by their people.

Second, top management authorize projects and delegate essentially full responsibility to the people chosen to do them (who are usually the people who propose the project). Top management do not do the projects, they cause them to be done.

Third, top management sets guidelines for success of the projects, puts someone in charge of them, and, usually, asks for frequent concrete observable demonstration of progress. The more frequent, and the more concrete, the better things go.

NCI is full of people who care, and who want to help get things done. I'm hoping that our top management will help us help NCI.
I don't work here: I volunteer here. I don't have duties: I have small gifts which I offer.

Janet Rossini
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http://valkyriejanet.wordpress.com

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Lethe
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Lethe » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:56 am

BANNE...uh, I mean MOVED to the new proper forum for these (very worthwhile) kinds of threads.

Quite Oh
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Quite Oh » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:34 am

Based on my current sense of things, that is the general direction it's going to go in. But there's still sooo much to do in such a short time!

Nardok
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Nardok » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:51 am

Fair enough .. currently all NCI Officers and "staff" are hand-picked by the management. I'd hate to see random members having a say in any of that though, since people are picked based on their demonstrated abilities/sensibilities. I think that it's OK for members to give their opinions, but I do not think the general NCI membership needs to be able to "vote" on decisions. Correct me if I'm wrong, but is this not the exact reason FOR the BoD? Making this too public could have a negative impact on NCI if people start being "elected" to positions based on social standing within the groups. *cough* US Government *cough*

However, I would like to see more "democracy" on the actual board itself. We have already seen the debacle that comes on the heels of management trying to act unilaterally. Instead of getting anywhere the whole thing devolved into "Either I let them all quit or I quit myself". Also, it's very frustrating when trying to get things done and there is someone "above" you saying no. This essentially crippled the entire Board (while I was on it, hopefully it has improved since then) relegating the Directors to "Advisors to the King" type roles.

Summary:
Democracy for NCI: BAD.
Democracy for BoD: GOOD.
Let the Directors .. Direct.

Afon
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Afon » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:14 pm

Just an update for Nardok's post. The BoD is surrently meeting once a week to discus things, and we act on consensus. We are also using the forums to consider ideas, issues, etc. There is no one person making the decisions.
Any sufficiently advanced information is indistinguishable from noise.

Nardok
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Nardok » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:55 am

Afon wrote:Just an update for Nardok's post. The BoD is surrently meeting once a week to discus things, and we act on consensus. We are also using the forums to consider ideas, issues, etc. There is no one person making the decisions.
Excellent. Nice to know things improved since then.

Trinity Coulter
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Trinity Coulter » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:47 am

I'm not seeing anyone suggest that every person in NCI or in the NCI Land Holdings group vote on every single issue.

In looking at Janet's original post, I'm not sure that I have seen anyone actually focusing on the points in the post. The comments seem to have been more generalized or on the overall idea of democracy or on people acting in an executive capacity without letting the board override it.

To me, it looks like Janet was suggesting that the Board/Leaders:

Set vision for the organization, and speak it.

Listen to the people, not just order them.

Authorize projects and delegate fully (Top management do not do the projects, they cause them to be done.)

Set guidelines for success, help pick leaders for projects, and get feedback and progress.


These all sound like reasonable and useful suggestions, and probably would help the Board avoid the "we're all working a zillion hours a week, we don't have any more time" justification as well as burnout.

Janet Rossini
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Re: NCI Organization and Style - Democracy

Post by Janet Rossini » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:48 pm

I would add to this that I'm not saying ... I think no one is saying ... that these things will not be done. What I have seen from the commentators so far, though, does not sound like a ringing endorsement of this kind of idea. Something to think about, perhaps.
I don't work here: I volunteer here. I don't have duties: I have small gifts which I offer.

Janet Rossini
NCI Supporter
http://valkyriejanet.wordpress.com

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