[Osmf-talk] Mike's open letter
mike at ayeltd.biz
Sun Nov 2 16:30:11 UTC 2014
I have also taken my advice to hold off from posting, but I do so now to
answer and to give a couple of thoughts specifically on the board.
On 30/10/2014 23:27, Simon Poole wrote:
> I'm slightly surprised that you skip the issue of rebooting, aka whole
> board standing down and term limits, given the clear support for both in
> the members voices raised here.
I decided to skip for focus and brevity. I also believe the standing
down issue is strategically irrelevant. I do believe it has a lot to do
with OSMF member's personal emotional confidence in the *next* board.
So that is up to members, not me. I am too close.
Instead I copy my earlier advice to the board as Management Team chair.
I do it verbatim so that you can judge for yourselves whether I have
stepped out of line:
"I would be cautious about all stepping down as there is a danger (I use
that word as my perception) that none of you will be reelected ... OSMF
members will think a lot about politics and ideals, less so about the
need for competent volunteer bureacrats. Yes, "fresh starts" can be
highly effective ... basically because there is an increased sense of
positiveness and motivation rather than because the old was "bad". But,
having a rotating election of only a segment of the board is also there
for a reason; it puts in some uniformity in to moving ahead in the long
term and preserves the knowledge base that is in your heads and not
I would also emphasise that the root cause of your problems is that we
are all struggling with a tide of success not of failure. "We" being
the board, the management team and at least the less-technical working
groups. OSM itself is now in the success phase. The fact that there is
an OSMF board, a well understood mantra of "support but not control" and
at least a semblence of structure is a success. ... it is just that as
an all volunteer organisation, we are not moving fast enough to ride the
I then went on to suggest that the board open the question to osmf-talk
or at least to election candidates (since successful candidates will
have to live with the outcome).
I beg to differ that there is clear support. One thing the board has
difficulty with is intepreting between a small number of clear voices
versus what our nearly 500 membership really wants. If anyone would
like to contact me privately, I am happy to pass on the anonymous
numbers to the board, plus any important comments.
On the issue of term limits. Personally, I remained on the board for
three years (2007-2009) and deliberately stood down without seeking
re-election. I wanted more non-Brits on the board and knew that with my
board experience and relationships, I could do what I wanted to do just
as effectively off the board as on. (We support, we do not control).
Personally, I encourage present and future board members to do the same.
Personally, I think that should be voluntary. A good board member is a
good board member. Perhaps I am also being self-interested. When I
retire, I would consider running again as I would have time.
The current articles effectively mean folks serve 3 years, perhaps 4 and
then face re-election. Year 1, learn. Year 2, start functioning
proactively. Year 3, function confidently. About right I think.
Anything less is neither efficient when they are on the board, nor for
their post-board usefulness to OSMF.
Lastly, I also included the quote from my email to the board because I
wanted to highlight that as Management Team chair, I receive a CC on all
board email plus sit in on board meetings. In retrospect, there was a
wasted opportunity for being more open. I will be proposing to the
board that I (or someone) continue that but as a "journalist in the
gallery". Just mentioning that now for openness but I have been going
on and on and on, so will discuss later.
 In the UK and other parliaments, there is a gallery where
journalists sit and report on proceedings. Straight reporting,
perspectives, human-interest, whatever.
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