[TheThinkTank] Policy or Process for Removing Collective Members

John Carlson john.carlson at comcast.net
Fri Mar 20 18:04:16 PDT 2009


"This means that members who are excited about being involved 
(organizationally) can get involved."

I think you hit on one of the key concepts in any organization.  Much of our 
workforce in the U.S. is made up of 'disengaged' people who are there but 
not really there.  Most people want to feel like they belong and many have 
put in the time and energy in the past, but maybe are no longer engaged in 
what they are doing.  I don't like the phrase 'burnt out' as much as I like 
the word 'disengaged' because burnt out to me seems like the end.  In my 
experience, many of the problems can be resolved by finding some way to get 
these people doing something they really love and can become passionate 
about.  The effort required to run a program like ours is staggering, 
especially if you are trying to do it with part-time volunteers who also 
have jobs and other commitments.  Defining roles better is a good step, and 
then trying to get the core volunteers to volunteer for what they really 
love to do.  If it's fixing bikes and not board meetings, then it's better 
for the whole organization for that person to be fixin bikes.  And maybe 
it's teaching.
As we change our organization into a collective, we are developing teams, 
and the teams are engaged in a portion of the organization that they are 
skilled and passionate about.  And this way people who want to participate 
don't have to be board members or even skilled mechanics.  We have a 
web/technology team that totally redesigned our website, got us new 
computers and meet regularly to work on various projects.  Right now they 
are working on a volunteer tracking system.  It's cool.  And they do it 
because it's a way they can contribute and make a difference.
I read this very good book by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, 'The power of 
full engagement' and one of the principals they talk about is how to renew 
energy.  One way to do that is through purpose.  And that is finding what 
moves us and feels meaningful.  I admit that I haven't done the best job in 
some of the roles I've taken on, but that doesn't mean I don't want to 
continue.  One of our goals this year is to fit people into roles they 
really want to be in.  And our team concept helps and allows for a team of 
people to co-navigate our challenges so one person is not overwhelmed.
This idea of full engagement is something I keep thinking about after being 
involved with volunteer organizations for over fifteen years.  Don't know if 
it helps this situation, but it's something we are trying to work on.
John
Sibley Bike Depot,
St. Paul, MN

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David J. Zielinski" <djzielin at gmail.com>
To: "The Think Tank" <thethinktank at bikecollectives.org>
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 2:45 PM
Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] Policy or Process for Removing Collective 
Members


> Hello, One rule we (Durham Bike Co-op) created was "3 months of
> non-meeting attendance will lead to removal from the board at the
> boards discretion", which has so far been used several times (people
> seem much more willing to send emails than actually come to an
> in-person meeting). Also, we have an "instant recall vote for BM's"
> which has never been used. In general we've had luck (so far), by
> being rather open, and that any member that wants to come to a meeting
> and participate in the decision making can. This means that members
> who are excited about being involved (organizationally) can get
> involved.
>
> Just my 2cents. Best,
> -Dave
>
> On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 3:24 PM, Maggie Burrus-Granger
> <mburrus-granger at recycleabike.org> wrote:
>> Yes, I'd say "the dead wood is in the way, taking up space and committing 
>> to
>> do jobs that are not getting done" and then also they passively obstruct
>> others by not encouraging new volunteers, not being particularly 
>> welcoming,
>> and pretending like the collective in organized and new volunteers aren't
>> needed to get stuff done, which leads to not much getting done...
>>
>> On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 3:18 PM, james blesdoe <jamesbleds0e at yahoo.com>
>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Do you have a situation where the dead wood is in the way, taking up 
>>> space
>>> and committing to do jobs that are not getting done?  Or is that they
>>> actively obstruct others?
>>>
>>>  Jim
>>>
>>> --- On Fri, 3/20/09, Urban Bike Project Wilmington, DE
>>> <urbanbikeproject at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> From: Urban Bike Project Wilmington, DE <urbanbikeproject at gmail.com>
>>> Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] Policy or Process for Removing Collective
>>> Members
>>> To: "The Think Tank" <thethinktank at bikecollectives.org>
>>> Date: Friday, March 20, 2009, 10:06 AM
>>>
>>> We recently defined "Core Volunteer" as someone who attends a volunteer
>>> orientation class and volunteers for 3 full shifts every month.  Core
>>> Volunteers are the only people who have a say in making decisions, 
>>> though
>>> that is still a fairly informal process as of now.
>>>
>>> Since it's so recent we haven't removed anyone from Core Volunteer 
>>> status
>>> (and with that, decision making), but will do so if a person is not
>>> fulfilling their obligations.
>>>
>>> I would suggest setting strict (i.e. no wiggle room for excuses)
>>> guidelines as far as what is required of an individual to participate in
>>> meetings and have voting power.  Don't rock the boat right away but 
>>> instead
>>> set a timeline or cutoff date for the new rules to take effect. 
>>> Constantly
>>> remind people what the new requirements are and inform those on the edge 
>>> of
>>> eligibility that, when the cutoff date comes, they will not be allowed 
>>> to
>>> participate unless they've fulfilled the new obligations.  The "old 
>>> guard"
>>> is given a chance to fall in line if they want to, and can't be upset
>>> (though they probably still will be) when they no longer have the same 
>>> say.
>>>
>>> Brian
>>>
>>> Urban Bike Project of Wilmington
>>> -a 501(c)3 non-profit bike shop-
>>> 1908 N. Market Street (entrance is in the parking lot behind the 
>>> building)
>>> Wilmington, DE 19802
>>>
>>> Hours:
>>> Thursday 6:30-9:00
>>> Saturday 1:00-4:00
>>>
>>> Visit us online at http://urbanbikeproject.org
>>>
>>>
>>> On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:44 AM, Maggie Burrus-Granger
>>> <mburrus-granger at recycleabike.org> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Hi Everyone,
>>>> I am wondering if anyone has a specific policy or process for removing
>>>> individuals from the collective, or council however you define it, the 
>>>> inner
>>>> group of people with voting power.
>>>> We are restructuring our organization and do not have a system for 
>>>> this.
>>>> In the process of trying to build capacity, we've had some problems 
>>>> with
>>>> people not pulling their weight, but also have no process for removing 
>>>> them,
>>>> while the rest of the collective doesn't particularly want to rock the 
>>>> boat
>>>> with long-standing volunteers, so as a whole there are a lot of excuses 
>>>> for
>>>> people so most likely a simple majority vote won't work.
>>>> Any advice?
>>>> Thanks
>>>> --
>>>> Maggie Burrus-Granger
>>>> Recycle-a-Bike Program Coordinator
>>>> 27 Sims Ave. Providence, RI 02909
>>>> 401.273.7101
>>>> www.recycleabike.org
>>>>
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>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Maggie Burrus-Granger
>> Recycle-a-Bike Program Coordinator
>> 27 Sims Ave. Providence, RI 02909
>> 401.273.7101
>> www.recycleabike.org
>>
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>> TheThinkTank-leave at bikecollectives.org
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>>
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