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Most users ever online was 16 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:17 am

A "Crazy" Idea

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A "Crazy" Idea




There are many hard-working, talented, passionate people involved in day-to-day, Second Pride operations. Many of these people are on the current elected Committee. I deeply admire these people, so much so that I believe it is a shame that they often suffer needless distractions, mostly political in nature, that force them to spend time away from their activities related to raising funds for Second Pride.

With that in mind, I had a brainstorm, an idea that Second Pride members might want to consider. I propose that the Second Pride Committee develop a plan to back away from the day-to-day operations of Second Pride and concentrate efforts on providing general direction and/or governance. To accomplish this, they would need to create permanent staff positions to manage the various operations related to Treasury, Marketing, Membership, Event Management, Building, Information Services, and Security. These managers would report to a Director of Staff. The Director, while not on the Committee, would report directly to the Committee and at its pleasure.

Of course, the new, permanent positions would be unpaid, but it is a non-profit after all. As far as who should be in the permanent positions, I see no reason why current Committee members could not be given the option of continuing their current term or taking a permanent, staff position, but not both. Should a Committee member take a permanent position, a replacement could be appointed, perhaps from the Ambassadors group, to serve out the remainder of their Committee term.

I want to make it clear that by no means am I suggesting the dissolution of the Committee. Nor am I suggesting that the Committee isn't doing a superb job. In fact, quite the opposite. I believe this move would free up the huge amount of talent and passion we see every day from members of the Committee. It would also allow the Committee to think in bigger terms (of course with direction from voting Second Pride members) without having to worry so much about the day-to-day, front-line operations.

There are lots of details that would have to be ironed out. Or, people may say "What a bad idea!" I present this as an idea for change, something this Committee seems to champion.


Last edited by Gordon Nadezda on Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gordon Nadezda


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A "Crazy" Idea :: Comments

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Post on Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:07 pm  Keokipele Ansar

Gordon . . .

The Committee then becomes more of a Board of Directors as in the organizational structure of many a non-profit theatre I've worked with . . . Staff lead by an Executive Director and/or Managing Director with departmental staff managers.

Certainly something we can be looking at in the AHCC if we indeed end up moving toward a broader "mission" (beyond just producing the annual Festival) and developing a Charter along with by-laws.

Good idea from my seat . . . definitely worth exploring and developing!

Peace,
Keo

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:37 am  Marcus Steeplechase

Gordon Nadezda wrote:I propose that the Second Pride Committee develop a plan to back away from the day-to-day operations of Second Pride and concentrate efforts on providing general direction and/or governance. To accomplish this, they would need to create permanent staff positions to manage the various operations related to Treasury, Marketing, Membership, Event Management, Building, Information Services, and Security. These managers would report to a Director of Staff. The Director, while not on the Committee, would report directly to the Committee and at its pleasure.

Keokipele Ansar wrote:The Committee then becomes more of a Board of Directors as in the organizational structure of many a non-profit theatre I've worked with . . . Staff lead by an Executive Director and/or Managing Director with departmental staff managers.

What you are proposing also translates as another layer of bureaucracy, which then becomes another level of detachment from the grassroots of the organization. There is no guarantee that the Board of Directors becomes less political --in fact, RL experience teaches me that the opposite tends to happen with supernumerary positions. I like the idea of permanence of staff more than I do the overweighting of the armchairs in the organization. We are already seeing different positions evolve in Pride (Media Director, Club/Group Contacts) and I would argue that these positions are more purposeful, because they grow from the fabric of the organization, and are not imposed by a top-down hierarchy. The net result might surprisingly look the same but, until the committees have a chance to explore their own purpose in Second Pride, my instinct would be to back away from an approach that brings in additional management.

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:14 pm  Gordon Nadezda

Marcus Steeplechase wrote:What you are proposing also translates as another layer of bureaucracy, which then becomes another level of detachment from the grassroots of the organization. There is no guarantee that the Board of Directors becomes less political --in fact, RL experience teaches me that the opposite tends to happen with supernumerary positions. I like the idea of permanence of staff more than I do the overweighting of the armchairs in the organization. We are already seeing different positions evolve in Pride (Media Director, Club/Group Contacts) and I would argue that these positions are more purposeful, because they grow from the fabric of the organization, and are not imposed by a top-down hierarchy. The net result might surprisingly look the same but, until the committees have a chance to explore their own purpose in Second Pride, my instinct would be to back away from an approach that brings in additional management.
I can see your point. Still, I maintain that the proposal is aimed at making it so that permanent staff can do the work of Second Pride without having to worry so much about bureaucracy and politics, like making sure donation kiosks are ready to go, without having to go through months of haggling. I also believe it would go a long way toward promoting continuity.

Having a Board of Directors doesn't make things less political for them. But, it might make it less so for permanent staff. Granted, the Board's appointed staff director might feel a bit more of the politics, but hopefully she or he would serve as a buffer between the Board and staff.

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:37 pm  Eaglewoman Lightfoot

While I can see what you are getting at, I am not so inclined to think adding those kinds of positions would really be helpful at this time. Each department already has a chair who "directs", if you will, what needs to be done. Any Chair is free to take on staff if and when needed. To me, simpler is better.

I think tightening up the charter would be, at this time, more helpful than adding another layer of "detachment"/bureaucracy. As SP grows and changes, as those changes occur, the "layout" of positions may need to change. As and if that occurs, changes can and should then be made as needed.

For now....we are a non-prof, non-paid group of people doing really great things!

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:43 pm  Marcus Steeplechase

There is an assumption in this thread that politics is a bad thing --but politics is only a way to apply policy. So the issue isn't so much escaping from politics or political pressure as learning what are the best and most mature ways to manage: how should the committee run the joint.

I am afraid the track record has not always been good for Second Pride.

When Keo put out a call for group contacts in early September, there were only about half a dozen takers --and he sent the info to over 90 groups/clubs. This tells me that the LGBT world has either dismissed us, or barely has us on their radar. I understand how important it is that we fix our Charter and rearrange our deck chairs, but these are internal issues that do not move us one iota closer to attracting support from the LGBT community. I applaud our efforts, but fully realize we need to grow Second Pride from the roots. I suggest we spend more time looking at ways to attract people to the organization and providing them with meaningful and exciting opportunities for participation.

I'm all about organic growth, although I do enjoy a coke slurpy.

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:45 pm  Gordon Nadezda

Eaglewoman Lightfoot wrote:I think tightening up the charter would be, at this time, more helpful than adding another layer of "detachment"/bureaucracy.
Marcus Steeplechase wrote:What you are proposing also translates as another layer of bureaucracy, which then becomes another level of detachment from the grassroots of the organization.

Marcus and Eaglewoman, you seem united in the belief that my proposal would add a layer of detachment and bureaucracy to the Second Pride organization. What is the basis of your belief? How do you see that happening?

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:20 pm  Rimpoche Kiama

Gordon, it's a great idea! However, having spent almost 4 years in Second Life, I can assure you that there is almost nothing here that is permanent. Very Happy

Let me give you an idea of how informal can work, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated.

I belonged to a local Saskatchewan LBGT Pride Committee for 3 years We were not organized legally, we were just a group of people about 14 in number that believed that we wanted a Pride festival here. We organized events, raised funds (to keep our group going, rent venues for dances, honourariums, etc), held a bank account through one individual who acted as an impromptu treasurer, and it worked. It worked so well that we organized the very first flag raising at city hall, and the very first pride parade...in a city of less than 200,000, to have over 500 people turn out and only one car accident (the boy driving the car was a closet case staring, you do the math Razz ).

It worked so well that when the provincial government failed to recognize LGBT Pride Week, we took them as an adhoc group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered peoples to the human rights tribunal and legally forced the government to renege and declare Pride Week. Granted, the group has changed and is now organized and run by the longest running volunteer non-profit LGBT Community Network in North America, which successfully runs a health services branch, a night club, and various social and political organizations.

All non-officially except for paid managers and serving staff at the night club.

It also works effectually in the drag community here. Each year, the "court" raises funds for charity without having any payed or permanent staff.

I think what Eagle and Marcus are perhaps saying is that in the long term, more positions and more responsibilities beyond the scope of a volunteer level tend to play to human nature, meaning that people tend to flow towards those less than lovely sentiments of wanting power and glory...even in a virtual world. The focus needs to be on providing community service, gaining community confidence, and eventually providing a portal slash platform slash health services location for any LGBT peoples that may be coming into the SL platform for the first time...but before we do any of that, we need to get our own house in order. That's where the adhoc comes into play.

As the advertisment for toilet paper suggests, less is more.
As my sponsor suggests, keep it simple.
As I've suggested to my team, it's ok in the course of brainstorming to play "what if".

So let's treat this as a "what if" and see what happens in the adhoc!

(It's exciting, isn't it? hehehe!)

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:06 pm  Marcus Steeplechase

Gordon Nadezda wrote:I maintain that the proposal is aimed at making it so that permanent staff can do the work of Second Pride without having to worry so much about bureaucracy and politics, like making sure donation kiosks are ready to go, without having to go through months of haggling.

Oh? Then, in your scenario, whose job is it to make sure the kiosks are in place? It can't be the №ber Committee, because your entire argument is based on freeing them from the annoying distractions of Second Pride. That leaves one person to deal with all the banalities, so that everyone else can get down to the serious work at hand: the Director of Staff.

Gordon Nadezda wrote:Marcus and Eaglewoman, you seem united in the belief that my proposal would add a layer of detachment and bureaucracy to the Second Pride organization. What is the basis of your belief? How do you see that happening?

How can there NOT be an extra layer of bureaucracy. Take my current job, for example. Right now I manage Events but I also sit on the SP Committee, and can interact with my boss Rimpoche. In your scenario, the Events manager would report to a Director of Staff (who is busy designing kiosks), who them goes to the SP Committee. And if the SP Committee has a Chair, then there's a further layer. In your scenario, if I want to talk to Rim I'd first have to knock down 2 other doors.

There is no reason for setting up a new hierarchy without first defining the roles within it. What exactly would the sages on the №ber Committee be doing if diverted from the trifles of everyday SP management. Are they thinking deep thoughts? Are they kissing babies? It sounds like a lot of extra cooks, when we don't even have an organization plan for the kitchen.

I know: that was a little facetious. But my point is, let's put our energy into developing a plan that grows the organization without introducing more levels of management, and more opportunities to internalize. At this point, our focus should be outward, not inward. The charter should be a living document; if it needs to change further down the road to reflect a different power structure then so be it. But I feel we should deal with the existing structure first and try to make that more workable.

Cheers,

Marcus

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Post on Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:39 pm  Gordon Nadezda

Rimpoche Kiama wrote:Gordon, it's a great idea! However, having spent almost 4 years in Second Life, I can assure you that there is almost nothing here that is permanent. Very Happy

Let me give you an idea of how informal can work, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated.

Maybe I don't fully understand, but it seems like you're saying you'd prefer Second Pride to stay informal. Is that the case? This is a familiar theme, one you've shared with me before. I've been in Second Life for almost 2 years (birthdate 11/17/09) and have seen people come and go, but, I've also seen many of the same "faces" that entire time. So, what are you trying to say? Is it that there are not enough "permanent" residents?

Rimpoche Kiama wrote:It worked so well that when the provincial government failed to recognize LGBT Pride Week, we took them as an adhoc group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered peoples to the human rights tribunal and legally forced the government to renege and declare Pride Week. Granted, the group has changed and is now organized and run by the longest running volunteer non-profit LGBT Community Network in North America, which successfully runs a health services branch, a night club, and various social and political organizations.

All non-officially except for paid managers and serving staff at the night club.
If the ad hoc group in your example is now an organized non-profit, doesn't that sort of support my proposal?

Rimpoche Kiama wrote:I think what Eagle and Marcus are perhaps saying is that in the long term, more positions and more responsibilities beyond the scope of a volunteer level tend to play to human nature, meaning that people tend to flow towards those less than lovely sentiments of wanting power and glory...even in a virtual world. The focus needs to be on providing community service, gaining community confidence, and eventually providing a portal slash platform slash health services location for any LGBT peoples that may be coming into the SL platform for the first time...but before we do any of that, we need to get our own house in order. That's where the adhoc comes into play.
I would prefer to let Marcus and Eaglewoman answer for themselves. By the way, what part of my proposal do you think would increase bureaucracy and/or detachment, or move the scope beyond the volunteer level (i.e. paid positions)? I'm not advocating any of that.

Rimpoche Kiama wrote:As the advertisment for toilet paper suggests, less is more.
As my sponsor suggests, keep it simple.
As I've suggested to my team, it's ok in the course of brainstorming to play "what if".

So let's treat this as a "what if" and see what happens in the adhoc!

I don't know what to say about this part except that I thought we were talking in "what if's." I opened the discussion thread because I believe this kind of idea goes beyond the ad hoc committee. I just don't see how it hurts to have discussion.

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Post on Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:13 am  Gordon Nadezda

Marcus Steeplechase wrote:Then, in your scenario, whose job is it to make sure the kiosks are in place?
The Executive Director (with approval from the Committee ("Board")) would have policies and procedures in place that address job responsibilities For example, if it were staff policy that kiosks are to be placed by Events staff, then that's who would do the job.

My point was that there be a buffer, in the form of an Executive Director, between the staff and the political arm of the organization (the Committee or "Board"). My intention was that staff be able to do there jobs with the least amount of roadblocks.


Marcus Steeplechase wrote:How can there NOT be an extra layer of bureaucracy. Take my current job, for example. Right now I manage Events but I also sit on the SP Committee, and can interact with my boss Rimpoche. In your scenario, the Events manager would report to a Director of Staff (who is busy designing kiosks), who them goes to the SP Committee. And if the SP Committee has a Chair, then there's a further layer. In your scenario, if I want to talk to Rim I'd first have to knock down 2 other doors.

In my scenario, you might be the Manager of Events reporting to an Executive Director. He or she would be the ONLY person to whom you would report. You would work with your fellow managers in accomplishing Second Pride's mission.

The Executive Director would report directly to a Board. The Board would not directly manage anyone except the Executive Director. In my scenario, there would be no departmental representation on the Board, except maybe for the Treasurer. The Board's sole purpose would be to make the "big" decisions and respond to the needs of the general, voting membership by providing guidance to it's appointee, the Executive Director. The Board would NOT be involved in the day-to-day operations of Second Pride except to manage its Executive Director.

Marcus Steeplechase wrote:But my point is, let's put our energy into developing a plan that grows the organization

That's why I introduced the idea.

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Post on Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:06 am  Jordyn Carnell

The discussion anyway. Thanks Gordon!

Serious discussion about organizational basics: Structure/Roles. Thinking of how the organization might best evolve to be more effective in the future is not a waste of time.

Politics is all about raising and resolving questions by generally peaceful means. So 'politics' isn't a bad thing in and of itself. The political realm of a staffer working inside the organization is different than that of a board member navigating the larger community. And allowing each to deal with its own world may very well make both more effective.

so..

On the merits of this idea: I tend to like it, but would want to see how it could be achieved gracefully as part of the examination of the charter and bylaws discussions.

JC

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Post on Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:07 am  Jordyn Carnell

Clearly this organization matters. Not just what it does, but how it does it.

JC

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Post on Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:21 pm  Rimpoche Kiama

Where it gets complicated is making permanent positions that may not be necessary or are redundant at this stage of the game.

One thing that's come up over and over, especially a few months ago, was how Second Pride operates like two branches of government, with the committee as one branch and the ambassadors as another. This is flawed for one reason: we do not govern. And if we did govern, there's be sweet few people who gave a damn.

That's the big problem we have right now as an organizaiton: there has been SO much bullsh*t in the last few years that we're not even credible to our own community. Until we can gain some of that credibility back, I believe, by giving back to the community selflessly, the reasoning for permanent positions is moot.

For example, I'd kick my heels with joy if a permanent administrator's postion for the healthserv office came up, and you'd be sure I'd try out for it. But until we get the kind of numbers and support we need from our own community, the discussion is moot.

The solution I think begins with demonstrating to people that we're about giving back and helping to foster the LGBT community in SL. We're making great progress thanks in part to the hard work of the committee. So I'm not really knocking your suggestions Gordon, I'm just saying that until we get to a point where we're ready to adopt that kind of platform, and that kind of platform becomes necessary, it makes no sense to put the cart before the horse because as Marcus points out, it simply adds another layer of beaurocracy that's pointless (because nobody gives a damn except the people involved in the beaurocracy).

So my means of suggesting keeping it simple isn't meant to knock you (and I'm really sorry man if that impression ever came across, wasn't my intention Very Happy ), more so that we're at the stage in our group's development that simple might be better.

Cheers mate!

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Post on Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:08 pm  Gordon Nadezda

There are 244 members on this forum. So far, 6 members have joined in the discussion, including me. Four of them are current Committee members.

We need more diversity in these kinds of discussions. We especially need to hear from those members who are NOT (1) on the current Committee; (2) in the Ambassadors group; and,(3) alts.

And, I'm not just talking about this particular discussion thread. How's it going to be when the ad hoc committee gets to work, seeking advice and presenting ideas for Bylaws. If something good is to actually come of it, we will need substantial input from more than just the three before mentioned groups.

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Post on Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:36 am  Rimpoche Kiama

Which proves my point exactly.

One step at a time.

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Post on Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:34 am  Gordon Nadezda

Rimpoche Kiama wrote:Which proves my point exactly.

One step at a time.

Rimpoche, I'm not clear. What is the next step?

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Post on Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:08 am  Jordyn Carnell

In other organizations I've seen or helped rework bylaws (state, county, and legislative district democratic party stuff in the second most liberal city on the west coast), a relatively small few actually do this work.

Seems it's a 1% thing.

1% make sure the organization is structured to do accomplish its mission.

That a small number of our members are actively interested in this isn't a concern to me, as long as it's the right people, people that have their hearts in the right place, and the discussions happen in public view.

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