I do believe that more authority AND responsibility should be taken by the membership at large. I don't see it as the boards to grant, but for members to reach out and grab.
Members need to step up and take charge of things. Members need to show up and participate in the board meetings. I lose track of the number of times we've had a board meeting to talk about important stuff, and only 1 or 2 (or zero) members show up. I guarantee, tho, their voice was heard.
Thanks Orkraider, I agree, and would like to comment on member involvement. I was involved in both the 10x build and Make Day, and I agree most things can, and arguably should be run by the members. Here's my take on it for those who may be new to TC Maker.Members:
TC Maker is your group, it should reflect your interests, and be doing what you feel is valuable, if it's not, you should take corrective action, and that in general means you
should build interest and consensus for your goals, and start working on them. If you don't have time to actively lead the initiative, then you know why it's not happening, asking the board to "make it so" wont change things, they'll need to find a leader for the initiative too, and that's not their role, they exist to provide the maker infrastructure to enable the members to do
I've been to a few, I'd like to go to more, but given that Weds Night might be my only time to actually make something, and that I typically spend 1/2 of my Weds evenings talking to prospective members and / or CNC enthusiasts, dedicating one of those nights to do nothing but sit in a meeting and endure long discourses on folks opinions about xyz is not something I'm willing to do.
I believe Jude stated quite eloquently the outline for the appropriate board meeting process, which should be an hour or less, and be something like:
- Review and approve the minutes from last time ( as a brief summary, unless there are qestions)
- Update the members on current business that is board specific (I.e out of view of most members)
- Get reports from any committees with current business, (the member(s) leading a 10x or Make Day, or Makerfaire seem logical)
- Ask for any new business, motions etc (discussion needs to be strictly limited, keep the bike shed decorating for beers and conversation after the meeting)
- Thank everyone and invite any and everyone, member or not, to chat informally with the board members, if they have questions etc.
When the board can follow an agenda, and limit debate, tabling issues when needed, I'll be there. The Board's role - IMHO:
The business of the group is why the board exists, and I'd prefer to see that be the board's focus, as the current meetings are in general a disaster. Being on the board and dealing with the group business, being on one and often more committees, and coordinating interest and activities of perspective members and external groups is too much to do. I'd suggest the board delegate, and that committees in general be run by non-board members. Given that the board can only ask for member help, delegation is more about appealing to members to support the activities they value, enlightened self interest you might say. If non-board members can't be found to chair a committee / organize an event etc, perhaps the activity is not a good fit for the group at this time?! Similarly if the space is a disaster the board can appeal to the members to organize, clean, peer-pressure others, and whatever else it takes to make the space fit our common vision. I think that's it. I salute the board members for taking on a job that has great responsibility, and open's them to frequent criticism while providing very little authority to direct change. I picture the job like that of a zoo keeper that needs to heard cats to one side of a pen while the monkey's next door are flinging poop on them.
(Buy those folks a drink, after the meeting