The topic of SCIP governance and management seems to be a hot-button issue for several people in the forum. The call for nomination for board members has gone out and presumably an election of board members will be coming soon. With that in mind, this forum may be able to provide some useful guidance on how we would like to see SCIP prioritize its activities and some changes we might like to see at SCIP. These aspiring board members may be able to design a platform and influence an agenda based on the guidance we provide here.
Emphasis is given to objective, factual observations and actionable recommendations. Presumably we're all good CI professionals focused on providing "actionable intelligence" based on facts, so this should be something at which we would all excel.
I'll go first....
Change to be made: socialization of policy changes with affected stakeholders.
Observation: On multiple occasions in the past year policy changes have been instituted by SCIP national or the board that appeared to me to genuinely surprise groups of stakeholders impacted by said changes.
Two specific examples:
1. A policy limiting SCIP chapter coordinators to terms of no more than three years.
2. Changes to the compensation for workshop presenters at the national conference.
Why this matters: A basic tenant of effective negotiation and leadership is that people need to feel like they at least had a chance to be heard and influence the formation of policies that will impact them. The fairness, necessity or even rightness of any policy decision often does not matter if stakeholders do not feel that they have had a means to provide input into that decision.
The importance of consultation and buy-in becomes more important in a volunteer or "near volunteer" environment (the latter describing workshop presenters that provide their service at less than what they consider to be the true market value) because so much of the "compensation" for volunteer work is in self-actualization (top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs). "Having input" is a necessary element of volunteers' sense of self actualization.
1. As the ultimate decision-makers evaluate their options for any given change in policy, they should incorporate stakeholder analysis and consultation as a step to take before any policy is solidified.
2. Make a list of specific individuals from different groups of stakeholders with whom to explain, propose and capture feedback on a given policy.
3. Decision-makers should listen closely to the feedback, take into consideration the feedback that resonates.
4. Decision-makers are obliged to explain to stakeholders elements of their feedback that do not address the original issue that necessitate a change in existing policy.
5. Design a new policy based on the feedback from individuals from the appropriate groups of stakeholders.
6. Re-check the revised policy with the previously consulted individuals and stakeholders and additional individuals.
7. Communicate the policy change to the appropriate parties, including a clear explanation of the issues that drive the need for the given change, acknowledge challenges to the change raised during the stakeholder feedback process and explain how stakeholders can successfully execute based on the new policy.
This does not have to be a one-off exercise. In an ideal environment minor tactical changes to policies, forms and processes will be considered based on the factual feedback from stakeholders.